The Challenge of Microsoft Teams Mainstream Adoption
With all the buzz around Teams, it seems like everyone is using it. In fact, according to recent Microsoft data, there are now 20 million daily active users of Microsoft, making it the fastest growing product in the company’s history. That’s an incredible achievement. But is everyone using it? And what are they using Teams for?  Let’s look at the numbers to gain a perspective… Microsoft recently divulged that there 200 million monthly active users of Office 365.  Because Teams is part of Office 365, Teams users must be Office 365 subscribers. Let’s calculate how many of the 200M Office 365 subscribers are using Teams.  While it is impossible for observers to reconcile the difference between the ‘daily’ and ‘monthly’ active users provided in the Microsoft data, we can still make a quick approximation as follows: So, by Microsoft’s (perhaps) optimistic numbers, approximately 10% of Office 365 subscribers are using Teams.  Of those, many are likely using Teams strictly for unified communications, migrating from Skype for Business as that service is being deprecated. The bottom line is that the percentage of Office 365 subscribers using Teams for conversations is likely less than 10%. Today's Teams Users are Early Adopters Some of you may be familiar with Prof. Everett Roger’s model for diffusion of innovations, shown below. According to this well-accepted model, you can see that while the number of Teams users is huge, usage is limited to ‘Innovators’ and ‘Early Adopters.’  These folks are risk-takers who look to technology to solve their problems. In short, these people are your co-workers who seek out technology and figure out how to use it on their own. The First 20 Million Is (Not) The Easiest Getting innovators and early adopters to use technology is relatively easy, if they can imagine how it might be useful. The majority of people, usually called mainstream users are far harder to corral. These people are generally averse to change; they feel comfortable with the tools they have, even if a better alternative exists. So, to get mainstream users in your organization to use Teams, you will need to do more than simply make it available to them.  There are several key obstacle to overcome and there are several strategies to help you do so. Bringing Teams to Mainstream Workers Attend the webinar Teams Adoption and to learn the three main obstacles to getting mainstream workers to use Teams. The webinar will also introduce two major strategies to overcome these obstacles. It will also explain how can help achieve Teams adoption with minimum effort. Register now to attend.
January 2020 | Team
Seeing 20/20! Here Comes an Exciting New Year
Welcome back! Shake off the hangover, grab some coffee, and get to work. The holidays are over faster than expected and 2020 is already upon us. It’s only the first work week of January and we at are already getting a jump on what we expect to be a productive and successful year.   Free AND Easy Office 365 is catching on like wildfire. Microsoft recently announced that there are 200 million monthly Office 365 active users. To keep pace with the mass migration to Office 365, is making an exciting change to our free product offering. From today, when you download the Free Edition from the web site, you will get access to the for Outlook app, which installs in your Outlook Web App on the desktop, browser, Mac, or mobile device, directly from the Microsoft App Source. Here is a description of this free offering:® add-in for Outlook® provides access to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business directly from your Windows & Mac Outlook App, Mobile and in the Outlook Web App. You can save email attachments to SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Teams directly from the email client. Specify metadata and required properties to accurately classify a document, so you can find it easily later. Click through to edit documents or reply with document links.   Note the following important points: The new for Outlook free app offering replaces the previously-free for Outlook plugin, which until now was available from the website…, so …If you want to download the for Outlook desktop plugin, go to the Pricing page, where you can purchase the Enterprise Edition. The minimum number of licenses for the plugin is 15 users. Previous downloads of the free Outlook plugin will continue to work, but this product will no longer be available as a download from the website. The Enterprise Edition of the for Outlook (web) app enables you to upload and classify emails, in addition to document attachments. There IS Something New Under the Sun Later this quarter, will be announcing new versions of all our products; for Outlook, Outlook App, and Mobile. Look forward to exciting new customer success stories and of course, we will continue to provide informative and educational webinars. Subscribe to our blog to be the first to learn of new developments. Enjoy the Ride While you are still getting settled in after the holidays, enjoy this video of highlights from the recent European SharePoint Conference, held in Prague during December 2019. Happy New Year!
January 2020 | Team
‘Czech Out’ at the European SharePoint Conference in Prague
The European SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure Conference (ESPC) is underway in Prague and is proud to be a Platinum sponsor of this annual event!  If you are at the event, come check out the stand to see what’s new with the SmartAssistant™ - the innovative integration of Outlook with Microsoft Teams. This year's “Lunch & Learn” sessions featured guest speakers Daniel Stuch, Senior Project Leader Application Development and Rollout at Bosch, and Cassy Freeman, Digital Workplace Lead at Babcock Intl. Stay tuned for the videos where they shared their SharePoint journeys and experiences with the audience. And if you missed our Chief Product Officer David Lavenda’s session on “The Real State of Teams Adoption…And What it Means to You,” you can download the session slides here. While at the event, don’t miss your chance to win an Apple 5 watch. Stop by the stand and register to win!
December 2019 | Team
What’s the state of play with artificial intelligence applications in the ‘real world’?
Artificial Intelligence has been one of the most hyped technologies of the decade, with millions of articles, reports, blogs and conferences discussing the topic from every possible angle. But what’s the state of artificial intelligence applications right now – especially when it comes to ‘real world’ uses?  While fully intelligent general AI remains a long way off, we have seen some impressive uses of machine learning, chatbots and even image recognition technology being released in the last couple of years. Much of the cutting-edge research is still at the academic level, but we have started to see artificial intelligence applications being launched by and used in narrower application in businesses. Let’s look at some examples of how AI is being used in the ‘real world’. Focused Artificial Intelligence applications are gaining ground in the business world  While AI often feels like it’s something ‘just around the corner’, it has, in fact, already been used by thousands of businesses in one way or another. Indeed, 61% of businesses responding to one recent survey said they have used AI in at least some form – with natural language processing, machine learning and predictive analytics the most widely used technologies. Whether your company has deployed a chatbot on your website or asked analysts to churn your data through an advanced analytics tool, there’s a good chance you’ve already used AI in some manner. But, when we talk about AI, most people are thinking of bigger artificial intelligence applications – things which profoundly change how businesses work. And, this is starting to happen – let’s see how. 3 examples of ‘real world’ Artificial Intelligence applications Artificial intelligence applications can have a significant, positive impact on society and how individuals spend their days at work. Deployed correctly, AI can help improve almost any industry, and could add serious value to the global economy. Here are just three examples of how AI tools are being used in the ‘real world’.   Loblaw: Canadian firm personalizes customer offerings Today’s consumers have come to expect personalization. Whether it’s entertainment brands like Netflix or ecommerce sites like Amazon, people want offers targeted intelligently to them and their tastes. However, catching up with the giants of ecommerce is a real challenge, but it’s becoming easier as AI becomes more accessible. One such business is Loblaw – Canada’s leading food and pharmacy provider: The firm connected its existing loyalty program with Microsoft’s AI tools. Azure was used to store and process data. Using an AI algorithm, Loblaw could reorganize siloed information, anonymize, aggregate and then customize offers at scale. This let the firm start providing personalized customer offers in a way they never could before – and catch up with the market leaders in one leap. Milan graduate school of business (MIP): personalized learning with AI Imagine attending a college course which was completely tailored to your personal needs. No more attending classes about topics you already know well, no more re-learning skills you already have. Instead, you’d only focus on what you need for your future career. That’s the idea behind FLEXA, an artificial intelligence application being trialed by Italy’s Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business (MIP): Students sign into FLEXA when they choose to take one of the school’s MBA programs, where they partake in a range of cognitive and skills tests, answer surveys about their current and future career plans, and other factors. Microsoft’s AI services then create personalized learning pathways to help the student develop their skills and knowledge in the areas they most need – proposing anything from short one day courses to 6-month training programs. Each student is given access to a dashboard where they can review their strengths and gaps, and see how they are improving. Schneider Electric: increasing safety and reducing maintenance costs with AI Organizations working in the industrial sector must maintain enormous catalogs of mission-critical equipment out in the field. In the past, this required regular manual checks and tests – and if anything was missed, could result in risks to staff and the environment. Schneider Electric, a France-based industrial automation firm began using Microsoft’s AI solutions to target this issue: They monitored an IoT enabled pump control using a predictive analytics solution. Oil and gas providers could use the solution to pinpoint equipment which needs repair. This saves substantial sums of money on maintenance, repair, worker and environmental safety and boosts profit. Nothing artificial about that While there’s been a fair amount of hype about AI in recent years, the above three examples show how machine learning, IoT and similar artificial intelligence applications are having a real impact in business, education, and energy extraction, to mention just three industries. At, we see incredible potential for AI to help knowledge workers.  In the near future, will be providing new ways of bringing office-based staff the most relevant, meaningful and contextual information possible, using AI. The impacts of AI in the ‘real world’ are starting to be felt – and there’s nothing artificial about that.   
November 2019 | Team Launches World’s First Solution to Connect Emails to Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is taking the enterprise by storm, with over 50% of knowledge workers reporting they spend at least half their day using it, according to a new survey commissioned by Teams is primarily intended for communications with colleagues inside your organization. Sure, you can invite outside guests, but for ‘outer loop’ communications, Microsoft recommends using email. But for business, you need to communicate with outside folks and colleagues. So, you use Teams for colleagues and email for outside communications?  Having  two parallel conversations about the same topic - which could be related to an important deal or project -  doesn’t make sense, but what can you do? Now there’s a solution, because today has released SmartAssistant™, the world’s first product to link an organization’s internal staff conversations and external communications in Office 365, by intelligently connecting emails, documents, and conversations in Teams. Yaacov Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of explains why this is so important. “Knowledge workers are busy, and it’s not practical to sync conversations in Teams with email, so discussions quickly become disconnected and people can’t find the information they need to do their jobs. Usage of Teams is quickly becoming universal in the enterprise, so we’re proud to offer the first solution to connect Teams conversations with Office 365 email, attachments, and documents, keeping efficient, productive communication easy and intuitive for knowledge workers.”   Today’s SmartAssistant release includes the following new features to connect email and conversations in Teams: Drag and drop emails and attachments from Outlook directly to a Teams channel, which saves the email to the Team’s mailbox and saves the attachments to the channel’s underlying files location (in SharePoint). Seamless Outlook/Teams transitions: After dragging and dropping content to a Teams channel, automatically launches the Teams app to that channel, so users can continue their conversations in Teams. For the first time, supports “in-place” record management out of the box; when uploading emails and attachments to Teams, emails are saved in Exchange and attachments/documents are saved in SharePoint. Automatic Team alerts: notifies team members when new email and attachment additions have been added to a conversation by posting the update in an Adaptive Card within the conversation. Descriptive Labels: When copying emails and attachments to Teams channels, users are prompted to apply’s unique ‘Descriptive Labels’. These labels describe the contents of emails and documents. Descriptive Labels use existing SharePoint metadata for documents and are used to apply corresponding ‘metadata’ properties to emails in Exchange. With Descriptive Labels, related emails and attachments remain connected even though they are stored in different repositories. Descriptive Labels are also handy for quickly searching for related content. “Teams” Outlook tab: displays all emails and attachments copied to Teams, directly in the Outlook sidebar. Users can then: o   Display emails and attachments previously added to the conversation from o   Filter the list of emails by team, channel, or descriptive labels. o   View and edit emails and attachments using their native app (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Excel). o   Notify team members about a saved email and/or attachment. Display favorite Teams and channels directly in the “Favorites” view. The release also enables users to drag and drop emails, attachments, and documents onto a drop target in the Favorites view.  Today’s announcement is the first step towards’s vision of simplifying the knowledge worker’s daily experience in the Office 365 Digital Workplace.  Look forward to future announcements about how will extend SmartAssistant to exploit machine learning to augment employee decision making around information stewardship; to develop the future intelligent digital workplace assistant. Learn more at What's new in To try the new SmartAssistant, click here.  
October 2019 | Ram Tagher
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