Last night I went to the Midlands Microsoft 365 and Azure User Group. It was co-organised by Urfaan Azhar and Lee Thatcher from Pure Technology Group, and Adrian Newton from my company.
This event was focused on Microsoft Teams, which is the MS version of Slack. If you don’t know what Slack is, you probably need to come out from under that rock…
First up was Matt Fooks speaking about “Microsoft Teams, the death of email!” We use Teams at work, but I’m a bit of a noob at it and I don’t get involved in any of the administration side of things. The session started with an overview of what Teams does and how it is organised. We spent some time speaking about culture related stuff, which may well be a bigger factor than the tech side of things with regards to transitioning from email to Teams (or Slack) as the primary communication channel. In addition to security and organisational stuff, there was a discussion of integration and applications available from Teams. The first session ended with Urfaan Azhar discussing some of the recent innovations in Teams, covered here.
After food and drinks it was Kevin McDonnell with “Using Bots in Azure/Teams for Automation”. Following the theme of the event, this was a remote presentation over Teams. 🙂 An interesting point raised at the start was how social functionality can help drive adoption and engagement in the company. As an example he showed a daily challenge bot, which allowed people to guess the location of today’s Bing image. It’s not “work”, but it got people engaged in the product and communicating. Amongst other things, there was a quick demo of Power Automate, the new name for Flow, which now has RPA functionality in preview. There was also a demo of Bot Framework Composer, which looks like a pretty easy way to generate the basics of a bot from a simple designer. There was also a mention of Virtual Agents for creating conversational bots (chat bots), which looked pretty cool.
As I’ve said before, I’m not involved in the administration of M365, Azure and Teams, but this is all about context and possibilities for me. My company has some of these products, so it’s good to know what they can do, and maybe take advantage of some of them from some of the stuff I do have a hand in.
Thanks to everyone who turned up to support the event, the speakers, and the sponsor Pure Technology Group. See you at the next event.