What Business Professionals Need To Know About April’s Microsoft Office Update

Microsoft’s April releases include new apps and updates to old favorites

April Microsoft Office 365

Several major updates to Office 365 were published in April. The worldwide rollout of Outlook Customer Manager and the introduction of Microsoft To-Do are particularly good news.

Outlook Customer Manager

Outlook Customer Manager was first introduced in November to Office 365 customers who take part in the early release program. Now it’s available to everyone who has a premium subscription. This nifty tool brings CRM (customer relationship management) to Office 365.

With Outlook Customer Manager, all of your customer interactions and information are tracked and organized in a timeline that’s visible beside your inbox. The information, which includes emails, calls, notes, meetings, tasks, deals, and deadlines, is automatically collected from your Office 365 environment. You can also use associate tasks with a contact, and receive timely reminders of upcoming events and deadlines.

Some of the best features include:

  • When an email arrives, it’s scanned by Outlook Customer Manager; if it contains a request for a meeting, file, or information, a reminder is automatically created on your Today page.
  • You have the option to share customer information across teams; that way every team member who interacts with a customer can get the full picture of the relationship.
  • Customer information can be auto-filled from Bing. When you’re setting up a new company, Outlook Customer Manager will suggest company information based on Bing information, which you can accept to auto-fill fields like address and website URL.
  • You can use Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, to manage setting up meetings with customers, taking this often time-consuming task off your hands.

There’s also a handy mobile app that provides access to the same information available on your desktop. It’s only available for iOS so far, but apps for additional platforms are in the works.

Outlook Customer Manager is integrated into Outlook and is accessible from the home tab in your Outlook inbox.

Microsoft To-Do

Just released in preview, Microsoft To-Do is an intelligent task management app that brings the satisfaction of checking things off your to-do list to your desktop and pocket. It can be accessed on Windows 10 devices, the web, and iPhone and Android.

Every day starts with a fresh, blank “My Day” list. You can add items yourself or let Microsoft To-Do give you suggestions it gleans by looking at all of your to-dos and prioritizing the most important ones. As you complete items, just click to check them off your list. To make this even more helpful, you can add reminders, due dates, and notes to to-do items.

In addition to the daily “My Day” list, you can create as many separate lists as you’d like – for work, travel, school, groceries, etc. You can personalize each list with its own colors and theme to help you quickly identify each one.

Microsoft To-Do syncs across multiple devices, so your mobile phone, desktop, and tablet all display the most current information. Plus, it’s free – so why not give it a try?

Other April Updates

As part of its April updates, Microsoft also tweaked some of its other offerings:

  • The PowerPoint Designer now works on iPads. It was already available on Windows desktops, Macs, and other tablets, but now iPad users can take advantage of it too.
  • Office 365 support for groups has been expanded. Now you can more easily access documents in your frequently used groups from within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Skype for Windows 10 is fully released. The newest version, called Windows 10 Creators Update, is packed with new features like mini view and integration of a new app, Paint 3D, which allows you to create or modify 3D objects and transform 2D objects into 3D.

Along with these new apps and features, Microsoft released several security and compliance updates geared toward enterprise subscribers. Office 365 Threat Intelligence is now generally available, and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) can be used to protect users from malicious links in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

Outlook Customer Manager and Microsoft To-Do are the best news in this batch of updates. These apps are welcome additions to the Microsoft digital toolbox. Kudos to Microsoft for keeping the new products coming.