Author: Sarah Haase

Corporate collaboration evangelist & librarian | Microsoft MVP | Office 365/SharePoint Enthusiast

Join me at the Microsoft 365 Conference

I’ll be in Las Vegas in early May for the Microsoft 365 Conference – a must-attend event! Here’s my top 5 reasons to be there:

1. Hear product announcements. I’ve read about Microsoft Copilot and the new features coming to Microsoft Viva, Syntex, and more. I’m excited to learn more about what’s coming, along with roadmap/release timing, licensing costs, etc.

2. Connect with the Microsoft product teams. Building relationships with the leaders, engineers, and product managers that own the M365 products I work with every day is amazing. Making time for product discussions (including time for asking questions) is essential!

3. Meet with other #WomenInTech. On May 4, I’ll be hosting a breakout on “Building Your Community.” Come join me for an open discussion – I’d love to meet you! 🌎🎙️❤️

4. Present my session “Power employee engagement with Microsoft Viva, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams.” As hybrid work continues to evolve, many organizations face challenges building a sense of community, connection, and inspiration. This session highlights how Viva Connections, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Viva Engage come together to foster company culture, unlock communication and engagement opportunities, organize content, and spark employee creativity.

5. Present the full-day workshop “Real-World Microsoft 365 Use Cases for Power Users” with Mike Maadarani. We’ll share practical productivity tips and real-world examples of how we use Microsoft 365 apps like Outlook, Teams, OneNote, Planner, To Do, OneDrive, Microsoft Forms, Microsoft Lists, Viva Connections, Viva Engage, and Microsoft Loop. We’ll also give you insights on how Microsoft Copilot will change the way we work.

I hope you’ll be able to join me IN PERSON at the Microsoft 365 Conference. Use code HAASE100 to register and you’ll save an extra $100!

A discussion about Microsoft 365 Copilot

In March 2023, Microsoft announced Microsoft 365 Copilot. Copilot will leverage the power of large language models alongside your Microsoft Graph data to reinvent productivity.

Copilot will be integrated into the Microsoft 365 apps we use every day (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Viva Engage, etc.). You’ll be able to use natural language commands to prompt Copilot (e.g., draft a 2-page proposal in Word based on the contents of this Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation). You’ll then be able to work with Copilot to refine the text, change its voice, make it more concise, etc.

Microsoft is testing Copilot in a small private preview with 20 customers today. Microsoft says they’ll be expanding the pilot, with more release details to come in the Microsoft Roadmap. Expect Copilot to be a key part of Microsoft’s announcements at upcoming conferences. It’s going to be a huge year!

MVP discussion about Copilot

Mike Maadarani, Antonio Maio, and I discuss Copilot on Episode 95 of the Microsoft 365 Voice. Key topics covered:

  • How AI (Artificial Intelligence) will continue to change the way we work
  • Examples of the productivity enhancements Copilot will bring to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
  • Ways in which we believe Copilot can help us manage our Teams meetings (e.g., summarizing meeting topics discussed, catching users up to speed on topics discussed if they arrive late, etc.)
  • How Copilot can prompt leaders with suggested verbiage for Viva Engage posts
  • A quick overview of the newly announced Microsoft Security Copilot
  • Use of AI “for good” with ethical controls

Links to Microsoft Copilot articles: Introducing Microsoft 365 Copilot—A whole new way to work, Introducing Microsoft 365 Copilot – your copilot for work, Administration of Microsoft 365 in the new era of AI

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

Introducing Pronouns in Microsoft 365

Microsoft recently announced the ability for people within organizations to share pronouns within their Microsoft 365 profile. This is an exciting change, enabling organizations to create greater opportunities for inclusion.

We highlighted the new capabilities in Episode 93 of the Microsoft 365 Voice:

It’s great to see Microsoft supporting everyone in our community. Pronouns matter. Letting people choose their pronouns and having these pronouns reflected in Microsoft 365 are an important part of respecting everyone’s individuality.

The feature is disabled by default. IT administrators must enable pronouns before users will have the option to provide pronouns in their M365 profile cards. IT administrators should plan for this configuration change to take several hours to fully propagate in their tenant before the pronouns are available for editing.

Employees can choose whether to provide pronouns. Employees aren’t required to add pronouns to their profile cards. Employees that choose to add pronouns will have the pronouns appear on their M365 contact cards.

Microsoft has said more functionality is coming later this year. Stay tuned to the Microsoft 365 roadmap for further news.

Organizations that enable pronouns need to share the news. Consider how you’ll alert your employees that they can now provide their pronouns. Consider using Viva Connections or Viva Engage to spread the news. We provide several ideas during the episode on how to share this news across your organization.

Links to Microsoft articles: Creating the conditions for inclusion: Introducing Pronouns in Microsoft 365,,

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

In celebration of Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time to reflect on, appreciate, and celebrate the contributions women have made to change and improve our lives. As a female technologist, I’m passionate about encouraging and mentoring our #WomenInTech every day. Our female technology leaders face unique challenges. We’re often outnumbered by our male counterparts and can face an uphill journey to prove ourselves. But we bring strengths to the tech workplace: communication and critical-thinking skills, diverse life perspectives, and distinctive ways of solving traditional technology challenges.

This month we’re thrilled to welcome Edith Young to Episode 92 of the Microsoft 365 Voice. Edith is an IT leader with extensive experience in the Microsoft space. She also serves as a mentor and board member for TeamWomen, an organization dedicated to helping women and girls rise together.

We had a great discussion with Edith on the importance of leadership and mentoring. Key topics discussed include:

  • Be OK being uncomfortable. How to lean into discomfort when you’re starting a new role, stretching to take on a new project, etc.
  • Find your truth-tellers. Build relationships with those that will give you an unvarnished perspective on your performance, your personal brand, etc.
  • Build partnerships. Identify the key individuals, leaders, and teams to invest in building strategic partnerships with.
  • Look for leadership inspiration. Join a mentorship circle, take a leadership class, read books on leadership to gain new perspective and ideas.
  • Lean into new opportunities (especially the scary ones). When an unexpected opportunity to stretch and grow comes your way, lean into it.

A big thank you to Edith for joining us. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

A conversation with Stephen Rose

We’re thrilled to welcome Stephen Rose to Episode 90 of the Microsoft 365 Voice. Stephen is a Senior Marketing Manager for Teams and is the host of Inside Microsoft Teams (

Topics covered in this episode:

An introduction to Teams Premium. Microsoft is bundling 400+ advanced features and artificial intelligence capabilities into Teams Premium. Organizations can purchase Teams Premium for specific users that need features like live meeting translations, intelligent recap, personalized timeline markers, etc.

The power of AI. Many of the Microsoft products we use every day have artificial intelligence. My personal favorite is subtitles in Microsoft PowerPoint. Turn on subtitles before you go into presentation mode, and you’ll see a live transcription of your meeting/presentation. You can transcribe from and to a myriad of languages – and it’s all powered by AI.

The importance of adoption. As Stephen shares, many of our organizations have gone through a profound transformation in the last 3.5 years. Our work here isn’t done. We need to ensure our information workers know and understand the Microsoft Teams capabilities they have – and how these features can help drive strong business outcomes. We also have to build awareness of when a Teams message is better suited than an email (particularly for different types of workers who respond differently to emails than IMs and texts).

Making Teams easier to use. Microsoft is continuing to invest in simplifying the Teams meeting experience, from streamlined content sharing to advanced features like PowerPoint Live.

A big thank you to Stephen for joining us. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

Talking Power Platform with new MVP Heidi Jordan

We’re thrilled to welcome Heidi Jordan to Episode 89 of the Microsoft 365 Voice. Heidi is one of our newest Microsoft MVPs, an advocate for Women in Technology, and a Power Platform superstar!

Topics covered in this episode:

A SharePoint girl in a Power Platform world. Heidi’s evolution from working in the SharePoint space to expanding into Power Platform (Power Apps, Power Platform, etc.)

Leaning into community. History on how Heidi got involved in the community by speaking, blogging, attending events, etc.

Building your personal brand. Heidi shares how she’s identified herself in the SharePoint and Microsoft 365 community, how she evolved the topics and sessions she likes to present on, etc.

Getting started with process automation. Heidi discusses her approach to identifying business process automation needs for the organizations she works with. She recommends breaking down manual processes into the basics of who/what/when/where/why. Once you define the key process needs and validate what’s most important, you can identify the core requirements for your Power Platform solutions.

Taking a visual approach to designing Power Automate workflows. Heidi talks through her process to visually map out business processes using Visio, PowerPoint, etc. Once she drives agreement on the desired flow, it’s easy to ingest that into Power Automate to create workflows.

The importance of change management and adoption. Business process automation requires buy-in from the information workers that are managing the day-to-day processes you’re automating. Building out features, enhancements, and solutions that make life easier for these information workers will lessen their burden and get them excited to work with you. Take the time to ask them for their wish list items – it’s worth it!

Break your large processes down into smaller chunks. Heidi discusses how she breaks down work processes into smaller Power Automate workflows.

A big thank you to Heidi for joining us. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

We’re BACK! M365 Twin Cities returns with an in-person event

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities is returning with a new name and a new in-person event! Join us for M365 Twin Cities on January 21, 2023, at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

It’s been a long 3 years, and we’re overjoyed to be hosting another free in-person event focused on Microsoft technologies. It’s not too late to get involved:

Check out these pictures from our previous events. We can’t wait to make new memories with you this January!

A busy November

I have a busy November coming up, with one in-person event and one virtual event. Read on for information on how to attend my upcoming sessions.

Heading to Canada!

I’ll be attending Microsoft 365 Ottawa in person on November 4, 2022. #M365Ottawa is a free in-person event with session tracks for Viva, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Security & Compliance, Power Platform, and Dynamics 365. The team that puts on this event always does a great job, and I’m thrilled to be traveling back to Ottawa for their first in-person since COVID began.

I’ll be presenting my session: Power employee engagement with Viva Connections, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint & Viva Engage at 1pm. For more details, check out the event schedule.

Not registered yet? Sign up now and meet me in Ottawa!

Minnesota M365 Virtual Admin Workshop Day

On November 18, 2022, the Minnesota M365 User Group will be hosting their Fall 2022 Virtual Workshop Day. I’ll be joining live from Minnesota, presenting the following sessions:

  • Building your organizational home site & hubs strategy
  • Power employee engagement with Viva Connections, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint & Viva Engage

The event is always well-run and has tracks for Governance/Security, Administration, Adoption, Automation, and Collaboration. Check out the full event schedule, the lineup of speakers, and register for this free virtual event.

The Best of Summer: A podcast catch-up

It was a beautiful Summer in Minnesota, with warm weather and time spent outside with family and friends. We’re back to school and back to work, so here’s my catch-up blog post on the Microsoft 365 Voice podcast episodes you may have missed over the Summer.

How do you use OneDrive?

A great discussion with Mike Maadarani, Antonio Maio, and I about how we organize our work and personal files with OneDrive and the OneDrive Sync Client. You’ll get tips on how we organize our files by projects or by years, how we archive and search for content, and how we manage files between multiple devices.

How do you use Microsoft Forms?

We use Microsoft Forms to obtain survey and event feedback, manage podcast questions, and handle event sign-ups/registrations. We also discuss how Forms can be used to gather data from clients and employees you work with on a regular basis.

Planning large-scale Microsoft 365 migrations

We touch on many types of migrations, from migrating on-prem to online or tenant to tenant. Mike outlines scaling of migration projects (by number of files, number of users, volume of term store items, and number of third-party tools). He discusses how long the planning and analysis phases of migration projects typically last, as well as the key activities that need to be covered during this stage. Listen in for great tips on how to scope and plan your migration timeline and strategy.

What is Microsoft Defender?

Antonio Maio does a great job outlining the key components of Microsoft Defender, including Defender for Office 365, Defender for Endpoint, Defender for Identity, Defender for Cloud Apps, Defender for Cloud, and Defender for IoT. Listen in for a 20-minute overview of all the products that live in the Microsoft Defender suite.

Why would an organization need more than one SharePoint Syntex Content Center?

Microsoft has made significant changes in the licensing models for SharePoint Syntex over the past 6 months. Users can now access and build document understanding models in SharePoint Syntex without needing a Syntex license. (The Syntex license is required to publish models or to upload files to a document library that has a model associated.) As we discuss, this licensing change could drive the creation of unique content center sites for different business lines. You may want to create a content center site for IT, another for HR, etc. so document understanding models can be organized by division.

If you’re interested in SharePoint Syntex or are trying to determine how to manage/govern your use of SharePoint Syntex, don’t miss this episode!

What is Microsoft Loop?

Need an introduction to Microsoft Loop and ideas for how it can be used? We discuss the use case for Microsoft Loop, provide an impromptu product demo, discuss opportunities and challenges for driving Loop adoption, and discuss Loop security & compliance implications.

How do I choose between a Microsoft Form, a Microsoft List, or a Power App?

This classic ‘what to use when’ episode highlights the similarities and differences between Microsoft’s form-based apps. We provide an overview of each app, highlight when we choose to use each, and how we approach end-user questions on which tool to use when.

Are citizen developers good for the health of your Microsoft 365 tenant?

I love this episode, but there are no easy answers to this question. We discuss the importance of letting your organizational risk tolerance and need for innovation drive your governance policies for citizen development. A helpful start is determining how your organization feels about self-service creation of Microsoft 365 groups. Do you allow all users in your organization to create Microsoft Teams, SharePoint sites, Yammer communities, and Planners on demand? The answer to this key self-service question can be a bellwether indicator of your risk tolerance and desire for self-service innovation.