My summary from the Re-energize your workforce session with Jared Spataro is here. If you have never watched a session from Jared, I highly recommend you do. Also, this session only takes you 20-minutes to watch, and as Jared said: You can’t inspire a 2022 workforce with 2019 leadership.
First, the session touched on Productivity Paranoia and how clearly the data shows how leaders worry about productive people at work.
The second starting point was about why you now come into the office? Well, for 85%, it is clear they come in for you!
And the third topic in less than the first 2 minutes was what we need to do to keep our workforce in the company. Re-recruit them! People leave sooner without a chance to learn and make time for that. This is one of many factors to help people decide daily to stay with the company.
2 minutes and that much information. I did not overpromise with Jared, right?
The new Microsoft 365 app
Next, a sales pitch… After all, Microsoft is still a company that needs to sell apps, so don’t get me wrong here. Jared covered a new app coming in November called “The new Microsoft 365 app”, where he pointed out that you can save +60% with Microsoft 365 compared to a patchwork of point solutions.
Well, this was not a “shut up and take my money” moment,
as I hear the “workforce” that Jared pointed to already shouting: Hey IT, why do we need another app? And… I agree with that also.
Microsoft Teams Live Share
The next section (starting around 3:35) was about Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Loop, presented by Caroline Stanford (you call follow her on LinkedIn here). It began with Excel Live and Microsoft Teams Live Share, where you can collaborate simultaneously on content. Nice, but also “meh.” At least to me.
Microsoft Loop (starting around 4:42) on the other side… That is the big thing, hopefully coming full-fetched soon. Why? With Loop components (already available), you can work in Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Word on the web, Whiteboard, and many other places while the component and content stay up-to-date wherever you are. BUT! The big thing is the full-fetched solution containing Microsoft Loop Components, Pages, and Workspaces.
If this feels like a mix between Confluence and Notion, that is precisely how I think, but it has so much potential for most companies. So this is where I consider the following suits well:
Microsoft Teams Channel Updates
Caroline followed up with new updates for Microsoft Teams channels. (Starting around 5:30). What is new there? The one with the most user impact is that the “Start a post” section is moving to the channel’s top. A minor update, you can now add header images to your channel.
A session without a new app would be crazy, right? So Caroline showed us Microsoft Designer (starting around 6:32). A graphic design app that helps us create professional quality social media posts, invitations, digital postcards, graphics, and more with AI and the help of Dall-E 2. You can sign up for the preview already at Microsoft Designer – Stunning designs in a flash
Clipchamp & Microsoft Create
But also, only one new app would be boring, right? Caroline also showed us Clipchamp (starting around 6:54), which you could call “Windows Movie Maker on steroids,” and Microsoft Create (starting around 7:08). This tool has templates for videos, images, documents, and presentations. All in one place.
Back to Jared, it was time to showcase collaborative apps in Microsoft Teams (starting at around 7:24). Overall, it showed integration with, e.g., SAP or ServiceNow. With Cards for Power Apps, Microsoft makes it easier to integrate even more and showed all of that in a success story with 3M (starting around 8:50).
Can you believe all of this information in just around 10 minutes? Quite a session so far. As you made it until now, time to stretch and get ready for the second part of Jared’s session.
Microsoft Teams Premium
Next, Jared introduced Microsoft Teams Premium (starting around 9:55). Like Tony Redmond, follow him on Twitter here, wrote in his article here, the third run at selling add-on functionality to Microsoft Teams.
I 100% agree with the article from Tony and his statement: The basic Teams offering does more than enough to keep most people productive in meetings. Teams Premium is now for those who want more intelligence and security.
Starting at around minute 11, it was time for Microsoft Viva. The so-called “Employee Experience platform” by Microsoft. They showed the capabilities in a demo and focused on Viva Goals, Viva Pulse, and Viva Amplify.
Back to Jared, it was yet time for another new tool. (Starting around 14:54). Microsoft Places, more to read here. This platform delivers solutions that coordinate where work happens, modernize the office with intelligent technology, and optimize the workplace for changing needs. This new solution is coming in 2023 and certainly helps many find synergies in in-office experience, intelligent booking, and overall use of your space. Jared finished this segment also with the announcement that Cisco is now a certified Teams Device partner (for those who care). Also that you can now hop into the private preview for Mesh avatars for Microsoft Teams.
Windows 11 & Windows 365
Finally, the last segment (starting around 18:05) was about Windows 11 and Windows 365. Mainly a reiteration of what is already out there. But I must say, it is almost there since the last 22H2 update. Now give me the option to set the “Taskbar Icons to Never Combine”! Please!
So, what is the takeaway of this session?
To me, it’s the following: Jared is an absolute beast and a person I really like to listen to. Like Brad Anderson, follow him on Twitter here, LinkedIn here, former Corporate Vice President for Commercial Management Experiences and now President for Products and Services at Qualtrics, Jared shows the audience passion, energy and has the charisma to keep you engaged while watching. A person to look up to. Facts. If you want to follow him on Twitter, click here. If you want to follow him on LinkedIn, click here.
What else? In its full-fetched version, Microsoft Loop is still, to me, the app to look out for. Microsoft Designer is a nice showcase, but it will not revolutionize companies. Yet. Clipchamp, the Microsoft 365 app, and Microsoft Create neither. On the other hand, Microsoft Viva and Microsoft Places are both platforms where I do see a lot of synergies in every business.
Overall, a 20-minute session with a lot of news, updates, and things to deep-dive into. Oh, and before I forget, the quality of the session… No comparison to the sessions from a few years ago. Great camera, great sound, and awesome demos. Thank you, Microsoft, for this significant quality improvement, and to you reading these lines, thank you for reading until the end.
PS: If you ask yourself where the header image for this article is coming from, I generated it with DALL-E2 (test it yourself here), and used “oil painting of an energized workforce” as the term 😉