The Product Terms were on time this month (😊) but not a huge amount has happened (as expected).
The M365 F1 & F3 maximum screen size limitation is increased from 10.1″ to 10.9″ – this expands the devices available to F SKU users and – perhaps – widens the scope of who can be assigned such a license?
“Home Use Program” is renamed “Workplace Discount Program” – no changes to terms…yet…
Microsoft Defender Experts for Hunting added (although the specific page currently has an error)
Still no sign of the rule changes around 3rd-party cloud licensing that were announced in May…
Microsoft’s “Cloud for Sustainability” is here (released June 2022) in the guise of Microsoft Sustainability Manager – a new tool/platform aimed to help organisations with their journey to net zero and bolstering their ESG (environmental, social, and governance) capabilities.
Sustainability & ESG is a growing focus for business leaders across the globe and this is just the start of Microsoft’s plans in this area. Sustainability Manager focus on several areas:
Unify data intelligence
Build a sustainable IT infrastucture
Reduce environmental impact of operations
Create sustainable value chains
What does it do?
It helps organisations track their emissions across the business, automate the collection and analysis, and present it to the business via analytics and dashboards. It covers Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions – for those of you not familiar with those (as I wasn’t until relatively recently), here’s a quick overview:
Emissions from sources that an organisation owns/controls like fuel used in company vehicles
Emissions indirectly caused by a company when energy it purchases/uses is produced. An example being the emissions from the generation of electricity that is used to power electric company vehicles.
Emissions not covered by the above but where a company is indirectly responsible across the supply chain such as using/disposing of products from suppliers.
I used this page from the National Grid to get the above definitions.
Scope 3 emissions can make up the bulk of emissions for an organisation but they are also the hardest to reduce.
Pricing & licensing
It is priced at $4,000 (USD) per tenant per month – although Microsoft do point out that additional capabilities added to the product may incur additional charges in the future. That price includes Dataverse capacity which is capped at:
Database – 10GB per month
File – 20GB per month
Log – 2GB per month
and if additional capacity is needed, add-on licenses will need to be acquired.
It is available in 32 languages and can deployed from the US and Europe.
Hot on the heels of Viva Goals, Microsoft have introduced Viva Sales. This latest family member is a “new seller experience” that brings Microsoft 365 & Teams together with “any” CRM system to streamline processes for salespeople…it also adds a hint of AI into the mix.
Detail is pretty light at the moment but it looks to cover things such as:
AI organised data and tasks
Inbuilt sentiment analysis
Surfacing unstructured data from Office documents
Automated data capture
and more, with Microsoft describing it as a sales coach that helps move deals along.
Much of this is, as with many other products, about keeping people within Teams as much as possible – making it the “collaboration hub” for users across organisations.
I’m keen to check this out further as anything that makes this area easier and smoother is a good thing. No matter the CRM you use, it’s never as intuitive and easy to use as users would like…perhaps Viva Sales will go some way to alleviating that. Or perhaps it will just be one more thing to add to the mix?!
At Microsoft Build 2022, they have introduced us to the new Intelligent Data Platform.
They say this will help in “removing points of friction between your databases and analytics systems while automatically mapping and governing your full data estate” and allow developers/organisations to “Focus on building innovative apps—and spend less time managing your data“.
Is it a new product?
No – instead it’s a collection of existing products that MS position as forming a better, cohesive eco-system for organisations. Those products are:
Azure Cosmos DB
SQL Server 2022
Azure Synapse Analytics
Azure Machine Learning
The latter enabling comprehensive governance of data across all these different locations, products, and use cases.
For many organisations across a variety of verticals, data is the key to success. However, given the increasing regulatory pressures and growing threat of cyber attacks – not managing that data effectively can be one of the largest risks a business faces. The dual concept of helping organisations better connect their data to extract more useful insights more quickly AND securing all that data will surely seem a particularly attractive offering for a lot of customers. Several other organisations, including Amazon and Google, are heavily focusing on data too – it’s the next frontier for winning/losing customers in many ways – and I’m sure Microsoft will continue to enhance this area of their business. I’m also sure they will be selling this concept, and the underlying products, heavily during renewals and customer briefings etc.
Microsoft may have taken a trip to Greyskull as, to paraphrase He-Man they:
“Have the Poweeeeerrrrr…Pages”
The newest member of the Power Platform family, Power Pages is a upgraded version of Power Platform Portals – moving from a component to a fully-fledged standalone product.
What does it do?
Power Pages is designed to help easily create websites using drag & drop plus a range of templates available. Microsoft are positioning it as good for uses including FAQ sites, self-service portals, support sites and more.
Making it easier to create better, more powerful and nicer looking websites will actually be pretty useful for (parts of) organisations of all sizes.
I’ve not seen anything about licensing yet but will, of course, be keeping an eye out!
The Microsoft Viva family has been around for a little while now and I really think it will become a big product for Microsoft – eventually. There doesn’t seem to be much focus on it at the moment but I’m sure that will change…and Viva Goals will help that. It is built on Ally.io which Microsoft acquired back in October 2021 and really aligns to the need for businesses to be more streamlined and focused than ever.
What is it?
Microsoft Viva Goals is all about OKRs – Objectives & Key Results – and helping organisations keep them visible in order to achieve what the business aims to do. An OKR is defined as:
“a proven goal-setting framework for creating alignment, focus and building a highly productive and engaged work culture to drive your business outcomes.“
Enabling everyone in a business to see what they, and everyone else, are working towards helps create more efficient, united organisations.
Microsoft have some great resources on OKRs as a concept here.
Although currently only available in Private Preview (and only in English), the product features within Viva Goals include:
Which gives a good overview of what can be done with the product. Of course, Viva Goals will have strong integration with Teams to help make OKR usage an integral part of internal communication.
It’s almost the end of Microsoft’s financial year and typically things quieten down, but there is one interesting change this month:
SQL Server Standard can now use Distributed Availability Groups (AG*), a feature which has been an Enterprise only feature up until now. However, it is limited by the fact that the DAG may only synchronise with Azure.
Microsoft have announced that 24×7 Problem Resolution Support is being retired as of February 1, 2023.
Historically, access to 24×7 support has been determined based on how much organisations spend on certain products. As part of the SA changes introduced in 2019/20, there was a plan to change this to being simply as-needed 24×7 support for organisations with a spend of $250,000+.
Now however, Microsoft have decided to ditch it completely in favour of Unified Support. Current support incidents can either be used or transferred to a Microsoft Support contract before Feb 23. Any unused/non-transferred incidents will be lost.
Microsoft say their goal is to give every customer “comparable support…at a comparable price” but, given the large price increases most people saw when Unified Support was introduced, I can sense a large amount of scepticism about this! Those of you with existing Premier/Unified Support contracts will start to hear from Microsoft in August 2022.
If you don’t have a Support contract from Feb 23, you can buy support on a per-incident basis from Microsoft.