In-person events are making a comeback! The Microsoft 365 Conference took place in Las Vegas April 5th-7th. Billed as “the biggest in-person gathering of the Microsoft Community in the world”, it offered a breadth and depth of content and sessions for developers, power users, and more. A couple of our team members were able to attend, read on for some of their insights and highlights from the conference.

Being Back at the Microsoft 365 Conference In-Person

While a lot of the sessions and workshops dealt with the shift to hybrid and remote work, the conference was offered only in-person. Our team members felt there are certain things you get being at a conference in-person that you can’t get from a virtual event. The ability to easily ask the presenters questions after a session, or meet influential figures in your industry can’t be replicated. However, they strongly agreed that a hybrid conference, with both in-person and remote attendance options, would be the best scenario.

Microsoft Viva Is a Big Focus Right Now

For those of you who follow Microsoft, the fact that Microsoft Viva was a big theme at the Microsoft 365 conference won’t come as a shock. The employment experience platform, released last year, aims to bring together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights in the flow of work in Microsoft Teams. Viva was created in response to the prevalence of remote and hybrid work, to help foster a culture that empowers people and teams to be their best no matter where they are working. It serves as an all-encompassing suite of solutions for workplaces, with employee experience at the center.

Microsoft Viva Topics was a particular area of interest. Viva is made up of four pillars: Connections, for employee engagement (intranet) and internal communications; Learning, for training courses and other learning content; Insights, for data-driven information to support wellbeing and productivity; and Topics, company-wide content and expertise housed in a Wikipedia-style database.

The logic behind Microsoft Viva Topics is that although we’re constantly absorbing and processing information as we go about our work, actually seeking out the information we need can be time consuming. Topics uses AI to automatically identify, process, and organize content into curated topic pages and cards featuring relevant documents and experts. These can be shared in Teams, so employees’ flow of work isn’t interrupted when they need to access this information.

Microsoft Viva was a big focus at Microsoft 365 conference

Contextual Learning with Microsoft Viva

Increasingly, Microsoft focuses on user experience and success. With so many end users working remotely, training is a challenge. At Klarinet, we frequently design apps for our clients, but ultimately have little control over the training of end users, so a session centered on the topic of training and learning piqued our team’s interest. In the session, 3 types of training models were presented:

Macrolearning

Macrolearning is large-scale, whole system learning. For example, a training session that covers all of Microsoft Teams would be an example of macrolearning. It’s usually too much information to take in, and retention is low. Additionally, Microsoft is constantly updating Teams, so this kind of “one-and-done” approach is not ideal.

Microlearning

Microlearning is when you’re just seeking one little piece of information. Think of doing a web search for “how to change my MS Teams status”. You may retain that one piece of information as needed, but have no greater understanding of the system as whole

Contextual Learning

Contextual Microlearning means presenting training courses or other microlearning materials exactly when the user may want to take them. For instance, if you’ve ever opened a new app to see a guided tour of how it works, you’ve experienced contextual microlearning on a small scale. Microsoft Viva takes contextual microlearning to the next level, bringing learning right into the flow of work.

Viva Learning creates a center for learning right within Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps so users can access all the learning materials right where they’re used to working. These materials can include formal training videos, Microsoft Word documents and Microsoft PowerPoint decks stored in SharePoint Online, LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn content, and even content from third party providers. This lets users take advantage of increasing their skills without having to bounce around from one app to another.

Microsoft is Continuing to Invest Heavily in Teams

Learning is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you’ll be able to do without leaving Microsoft Teams. Our team noticed that Microsoft is continuing to add more features, functionalities, and integrations into Teams, further cementing it as the hub for not only collaborating and communicating, but actually working as well. Microsoft’s goal is for you never to have to leave Teams during your workday. Of particular interest to us, a lot of new functionality will be added to the Teams/Power Platform experience.

One other Teams highlight is that Microsoft will be making it easier for those of us who need to access multiple Teams tenants without having to log out and log back in!

Advanced List Formatting at the Microsoft 365 Conference

Of tall the sessions at the Microsoft 365 conference, The Klarinet team was especially interested in the Advanced List Formatting session hosted by Microsoft MVP Chris Kent. Lists in SharePoint, Teams, and Microsoft Lists function as record-keeping and data storage for solutions of all sizes. Klarinet heavily leverages Lists for the automated solutions we create for our clients, so this session was invaluable to our team! Kent shared advanced List formatting that allows low-code developers to quickly and easily provide dynamic visualizations for clients, and demonstrated integrating Lists with Power Apps, Power Automate, Forms, and Teams.

Advanced List Formatting session at MS365 Conference

Kent is making his slides and demos from the conference available for download, so if Lists are something you’re interested in, we highly recommend checking them out here.

How Can All This Work For You? Klarinet Is Here to Help!

Want to take advantage of some of these new Microsoft 365 developments? Klarinet Solutions specializes in optimizing your Microsoft 365 Teams usage, access controls, and developing a streamlined process that supports business objectives. If you want to hear the latest news, insightful hacks, or ways to leverage technology, contact us at 866.211.8191 or through email at info@klarinetsolutions.com.

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