It is not often that I sit and reflect on cloud technology – but this week with the breaking pandemic of Coronavirus, and having to update our business continuity plan, I reflected on the fact that nothing much changes for GTconsult.  We were born into the cloud, we utilise cloud solutions extensively and regularly meet via TEAMS, share tasks via Planner and share documentation through SharePoint Online and TEAMs, so the idea of social distancing is not a new concept to us, we work remotely when needs be so developing a continuity plan was easy, but I got to thinking about all our clients who don’t work like this and I got excited as clients will now really see the possibilities of using O365’s workloads and stacks to enable productivity even when their teams are working remote.  

This was further cemented in my mind where one of our clients mentioned to me that they are actually feeling relieved that in a way the world panicking around a virus is fast tracking their adoption through necessity.

That being said O365 is always looking at innovations to make you more productive so lets look at some of the new features in O365 that will be helping your productivity:

Excel – what I most commonly refer to as the most underutilised tool in the Microsoft stack. It is so versatile, when I first started developing long before ASP was invented we used to use Excel Makros to generate content rich sites for ski resorts to update ski conditions (now I am showing my age).  Anyway we have 2 new features in Excel that are worthy of mention:

  • XLookup – Now I am a fan of Vlookup as a superb method to reconcile data from two tables of info, but Now XLookup has been released that lets you do the same thing but with ROWS, hence you can look up any value in table or range by looking up against the entire row… yes I too got goosebumps when I saw this
  • Data Profiling – Now I generally use PowerBI for my insights, but the licensing complexity and learning curve does leave people moving back to Excel.  In order to build more insight from your data and to gain a deeper understanding of your data Excel has released a new data profiling view for the Power Query Editor.

Outlook and GovernanceSecurity and governance is rooted deeply in the heart of GTconsult and what we do, as such the next governance feature is fabulous.  Outlook groups now has a Sensitivity label that you choose when creating a group.  It is then applied to group email, documents, and team sites meaning your governance, security compliance is managed at the group level.

So some great new tools to assist you in being productive in O365.  Remember to keep safe and to use Microsoft TEAMs for social distancing in these uncertain times.