This month, January 2021, Microsoft announced a few new features and capabilities for Microsoft Teams. The latest additions include a dedicated app for sending and signing off on documents that require approval, aptly called Microsoft Approvals; major improvements to Microsoft Forms; and changes to the enterprise social networking service Yammer.
Here’s what you need to know about the latest Microsoft Teams apps and updates.
Microsoft Approvals Revamps Collaboration
Microsoft Approvals is the new Teams app designed to make getting approvals on things — from expense reports and overtime requests to press release copy and creative — as easy as sending a chat message.
To create an Approval request, simply open up the Approvals app from within Microsoft Teams, simply follow these steps:
- Select New approval request from the top right corner
- Type the name of the request
- Tag whoever needs to approve it
- Add additional notes for context if needed
- Upload the attachment for the approver to review,
- Select Send
It couldn’t be easier!
The approver receives a notification that there is a new approval request in the Approvals Hub, as well as an email notification.
You can also create approval requests from within chats, using the Approvals icon underneath the Compose box. Once you select Send, the approval request will be sent within the chat thread, and can be located within the Approvals Hub with all other approval requests.
All in all, Approvals looks like another “slam dunk” from Microsoft in their ongoing mission of simplifying the digital workspace and creating one “source of truth,” where information, data, and approvals can be logged and stored securely.
Microsoft Forms Improves Accessibility Features
Microsoft Forms also has some new features that are sure to delight, including text formatting, creating selective audiences so only certain people in your organization can respond, and the ability for respondents to download a copy of their responses.
Microsoft also rolled out a new landing page for Forms, both on desktop and mobile browsers. In reliable Teams style, the new interface highlights the most recent form you’ve used, while also allowing the user to pin forms, search for forms that have been shared with you, access Group Forms, and more.
The new features in Microsoft Forms will be rolling out throughout the month of January, and are available on new forms created starting this month, for users on Microsoft 365 for Enterprise, Business, Education, and Personal.
Yammer Launches New Options for Formatting and Events
Yammer, intended as an online virtual social hub for your company, has a handful of updates as well. Users can now create new posts, ask questions, or run polls on Yammer directly from SharePoint pages, effectively allowing you to send SharePoint pages directly to Yammer communities.
Microsoft has added new formatting options to Yammer, allowing for rich text and images within posted content. Additionally, users can now add Yammer’s styling and capabilities to a webpage using an embed function and can, for instance, run a poll on an internal wiki page that will post results to Yammer.
Another key update rolling out in Yammer this month is an upgrade of the virtual event viewing experience. In the new version, users can watch virtual events side-by-side with live conversations in threaded chats.
Finally, Yammer has introduced new administrative features and navigation to its mobile interface. Yammer also plans to add more insights for conversations and events over the next few months.
The bevy of updates released to Yammer, Forms, and the new Approvals app within Microsoft Teams are sure to earn new fans and keep current users loyal. However, the real question is, which one will be most useful to your company?
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