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Microsoft’s “New Commerce Experience”
Big changes are coming to Microsoft 365 licensing, and while licensing isn’t anyone’s favorite topic to spend a lot of time thinking about, the upcoming changes Microsoft announced are significant to the way your business uses Microsoft online services. The changes are a part of Microsoft’s “New Commerce Experience” that will apply across the board to all Microsoft seat-based licenses (Office 365, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, etc.) and will apply to every license channel and every way your organization can obtain these licenses, whether via the Microsoft 365 Portal (aka Web Direct), via Cloud Solution Provider (a CSP, like FMT), or via Enterprise Agreement. There are several benefits to NCE, including: Multiple term options for more flexibility Predictable licensing payments Promotions Multi-year plans to lock in pricing The benefits come along with additional changes that are important to understand from both a planning and operational perspective, including: Enforced 72-hour cancellation […]
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know?
We’ve all heard this saying before. Here at FMT we hear it almost daily when we speak with our clients about making the most of their tech investments. It’s common, right? Maybe your business is laser focused trying to make it through the quarter, maybe your IT staff is tasked with keeping the lights on…maybe you don’t have IT staff? Wherever you are in your digital transformation, there are areas out there that you simply haven’t explored for your business. This is especially true in today’s digital workplace where, if you don’t know what you don’t know, how do you know how you can improve? And, if you don’t know the right technology to improve your business, what opportunities will you miss? Do you know security? Do you implement Zero Trust? Do you know what that is? If you don’t know, you probably also don’t know who is trying to […]
Zoom on over to Microsoft Teams!
According to ZoomMeetingsClassAction.com the popular video conferencing software giant, Zoom Video Communications, Inc., recently settled a class action lawsuit for a cool (preliminary!) $85 million dollars. Without admitting liability and while refuting allegations of damages, Zoom apparently felt a settlement would be the most advisable path forward. Why? Because privacy and security remain one of the highest priorities for people working and collaborating online. According to the lawsuit, Zoom's previous approach to securing access to the Zoom Meetings Application lacked sufficient encryption and privacy controls resulting in unauthorized information sharing and meeting disruptions by third parties. Meeting disruptions alone led the FBI to issue a warning about ‘Zoom-bombing’. What? Yes, Zoom-bombing involves unidentified and uninvited individuals popping into Zoom meetings at schools and businesses shouting profanity, disrupting the meetings, and displaying inappropriate images/videos. Throughout the Covid pandemic Zoom-bombing happened regularly in virtual classrooms and boardrooms across the country. What a nightmare! […]
Microsoft VIVA Connections
Introduction Working remotely has been on a steady upward trend and the COVID 19 pandemic pushed that trend into overdrive!  Government mandated office closures forced employers to make an immediate pivot to change operations to remote work.  Microsoft has been following the remote worker trend for some time and has conducted a substantial amount of research into how employees can better collaborate in this environment.  Due to the ramifications of the global pandemic, Microsoft has accelerated its timelines for online collaboration features and has extended its focus to the empowerment and engagement of remote workers. Enter the Employee Experience Platform (EXP):  “An EXP is a digital platform that puts people at the center by bringing together systems of work with systems of support into an integrated employee experience.” The graphic below illustrates typical areas that an employee needs to manage. Source:Employee Experience Platform: A New Catagory Arrives Microsoft has addressed this concept […]
Improve your Cyber Security! That’s a Presidential order!
Yes, you read that right, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order stating that the Federal government has to review and improve its Cyber Security – it’s a security journey if you will.   While that may seem like a huge undertaking for the likes of the United States, there are key takeaways that every business should apply - and you do not have to have the budget of the government to do so! Let’s look at a subset of this rather long, but truly important order: “To keep pace with today’s dynamic and increasingly sophisticated cyber threat environment, the Federal Government must take decisive steps to modernize its approach to cybersecurity, including by increasing the Federal Government’s visibility into threats, while protecting privacy and civil liberties.  The Federal Government must adopt security best practices; advance toward Zero Trust Architecture; accelerate movement to secure cloud services, including Software […]
How to Publicly Share a Microsoft Stream Video with the "New" Stream
In the first half of 2021, Microsoft made changes to the way that Microsoft Teams recordings are stored and shared. Meeting recordings used to be stored within Microsoft Stream, but they are now stored in your OneDrive for Business or a SharePoint Online site (which is good news if you want to publicly share a Microsoft Stream video!). These changes are a part of the “New” Microsoft Stream or Stream (on SharePoint) that was announced last year and covered in depth during Ignite 2020. For more information: The new version of Microsoft Stream - Microsoft Stream | Microsoft Docs. This change introduces the following benefits: Easy to set permissions and sharing Ability to share recordings with guests and external users Provides direct OneDrive and SharePoint links to videos Meeting recordings are available faster The biggest improvement and benefit is the ability to share recordings easily with external users who are […]
Give Your Legacy Apps New Life with Azure App Service 
Legacy applications – those business-critical apps that keep IT people up at night fighting fires – leave employees frustrated with their lack of dependability and, worse, provide poor customer experiences all around. Essential to any business, they may have been developed years ago, and when they work, ‘they just work.’ But because all of your processes and procedures were created around the app, you don’t want to invest in a whole new platform.  Sound familiar? Does that mean you have to live with the app’s shortcomings or keep buying new server hardware to ensure long-term, stable usage? Thanks to Microsoft, the answer may be a surprising ‘NO!’  How?  Modernize existing .NET web apps using Azure App Service. What is Azure App Service?  Azure App Service is a fully managed Microsoft cloud-based platform for building, deploying, and scaling your web apps. The Microsoft platform has the following key features: Fully managed platform Utilize bult-in infrastructure maintenance, security patching, and scaling. Built-in CI/CD integration CI/CD integration provides zero-downtime deployments. Virtual network integration Run […]
Microsoft Search – The Ultimate Guide
During my long tenure as a SharePoint consultant, one of the most common complaints regarding SharePoint is “I can’t find what I need.” There are probably several reasons this may be the case that are unrelated to the platform itself (lack of search training, search optimizations, etc.). But Microsoft has listened and introduced Microsoft Search. Not only does this provide an enhanced search experience for SharePoint, but it is also designed to be a global search aggregator for all Microsoft 365 workloads. Currently supported applications include: SharePoint Outlook OneDrive Word PowerPoint Office 365 With Microsoft Search, each search result is scoped to the application where the search was originated. For example, Outlook will return emails, Word will return Word documents, etc. In addition to the expanded search options, the results are unique per user. Microsoft’s AI engine delivers links that are targeted to user activity as well as content that […]
How to Empower Your Chief Procurement Officer
2020 has been a year like no other in recent history, and the US manufacturing industry has felt the impact. Declines in production, forced shutdowns and inconsistent value chain behavior during the ‘peak’ of the pandemic will likely drive industry behavior for years to come. In what could become a permanent change for the industry, most manufacturing leaders are reevaluating the role of their workforce. One way to enhance digital capabilities in the workforce is to develop an ecosystem comprised of today’s top manufacturing talent (like your Chief Procurement Officer, or CPO) built on the back of a world-class Customer Relationship Management system. Data-Driven Decisions There are a few common themes we are seeing more and more in the manufacturing world nowadays. The need for agility and accuracy in data management, customer centricity and the ability to make data-driven decisions seems to have taken over and remodeled company cultures. Furthermore, […]
Free (yes free!) Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing
Host meetings through Microsoft Teams? What about one of the many other inadequate competitor platforms? Zoom through this post and let me tell you what Microsoft has in store for you (hint: it includes a year of free Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing)! We all know that Microsoft Teams is the all-encompassing unified communications and collaboration platform Leader (backed by Gartner!) that enables businesses across the globe to get work done quickly and efficiently. Chat – check. File collaboration backed by best-in-class SharePoint – check. Integrations with business-critical processes and systems – check. All these capabilities for both internal employees and external customers at the same time – check, check, check! You may even be hosting meetings through this essential tool right now, but did you know that Microsoft is also giving customers free use of dial-in capabilities for your meetings? They sure are! From now through the end of June […]
The Importance of Data in Manufacturing
In a world where data consolidation and analysis are becoming ever more vital to business, it can be difficult to know how to best set up your organization’s data strategy to meet future demands. Furthermore, in the business of manufacturing, where there are so many proverbial moving parts and areas to focus on, it can be challenging to note the advantages and cost savings associated with a coherent data strategy when compared to other areas of the organization (i.e. sales, operations, research and development, procurement, quality assurance, etc.). However, having access to well-defined and accurate data can lead to insights and cost savings that propel a manufacturer to the next level of their business as well as outperform competitors, for several simple and powerful reasons cited by Kevin Snook, author of Make It Right: 5 Steps to Align Your Manufacturing Business from the Frontline to the Bottom Line. If you […]
Warehouse Cycle Counting with Business Central
What is cycle counting? Let’s be honest, setting up and processing inventory counts on a regular basis is one of the least exciting parts of running a distribution business. In reality, there is no one who enjoys undertaking this tedious activity. In fact, rather than addressing this need, many choose to ignore it, especially if they have a lack of resources and time. However, performing cycle counts on a frequent basis and aligning them correctly within your warehouse(s) is critical in achieving better metrics for inventory accuracy, turnover ratio, lead times and delivery dates. In this blog, we’ll explain how all of this can be accomplished using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC) with its ease of processing a count. Warehouse cycle counting is a perpetual counting system where a small subset of inventory, in a specified location, is counted on a specified day. By performing cycle counts, you are […]
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