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Showing posts tagged with: Office 365

Windows 11 has arrived from Microsoft.

by Nicki Dowsett in Engineers, General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 365, Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows 7

What is Windows 11?

Microsoft regularly updates their operating system and Windows 11 is their latest offering.  Windows 10 was released in July 2015, and before that, we saw Windows 8 and 7, etc.  As technology and requirements evolve as does the need for the operating system for your PCs and laptops.  Windows 11 is the first version released whereby a new license is not required, it is a free update to your existing version.  A bit like Apple and Android phones regularly sending updates to your devices that improve the functionality and security of the operating system.

Is Windows 10 redundant and should I update straightaway?

The simple answer is NO.  Windows 10 will continue to be supported by Microsoft until 2025.  Allowing a 4-year crossover between Windows 10 and Windows 11.  This means that support and security updates will be rolled out to users as normal for this period.  Windows 10 is not redundant and can continue to be used without any disruption until such time your organisation decides the time is right to update.  As the saying goes if it’s not broken – don’t fix it!

Audit of Existing software and hardware?

Within your business, you are likely to use several third-party software packages, such as accounting packages, CRM’s, auditing, procurement, and monitoring programs.  It is important to understand how each of these interacts with the operating system, Windows 11.  Just because Microsoft has released Windows 11 and carried out internal extensive testing, it does not mean that these third-party offerings have had the opportunity to ensure they will continue to work as expected.  Code and commands in the programming may need to be amended and changed to suit the requirements of Windows 11, which is likely to be rolled out by third parties in time.  Without a full understanding of the packages used and what is required in terms of processing, it could potentially cause a huge issue and remove access to your data.

Similarly, hardware is not automatically going to be compatible, whilst new machines are likely to have the processing power and memory to run Windows 11, it is highly recommended that each individual machine including printers, scanners, and copiers are audited to ensure they will continue to work as expected.  As Windows 10 is supported for a further 4-years, we can identify which machines will operate as normal and which ones may need to be updated over this period.  For example, if you have a laptop that is 3 years old but not compatible, it makes sense to wait until the end of its life before purchasing a new one, rather than simply upgrading the laptop now, when Windows 10 will still work.

What can happen if updated without support from MPR IT

Updating to Windows 11, without a full audit of your software and hardware, could potentially become costly.  Not only because you will find that some devices and software packages will not work immediately, but also because you may not be able to operate as normal and your employees may struggle to complete tasks.  This can affect your business in the long term, with orders not being processed in time and customers looking elsewhere, whilst the issue is fixed.

With a varying speed on the update to Windows 11, planning the rollout across your business is important to minimalise downtime during the update.  This will avoid all devices being updated at once and having no employees able to carry out any business tasks.

Planned update with support from MPR IT

Our team has the experience and knowledge to understand the requirements of devices and software packages, to identify what can and more importantly, cannot be updated to Windows 11.  Liaising with you, we can strategically plan the project to ensure minimum downtime for each device, user, department, and company as a whole.  The project can be planned to allow for any future upgrades of devices over the next 4 years, to ensure minimum outlay is required.  Historically, with the update to Windows 10, we had the experience of businesses updating to the new operating system without expert assistance, causing work to stop as devices and some software programs were incompatible.  This meant that in addition to new devices needing to be purchased and installed, the day-to-day business could not continue.  Not to mention the cost of calling in expert advice without an agreed SLA. 

MPR Testing Windows 11

MPR IT Solutions are currently carrying out internal testing of the new operating system and its compatibility with our own third-party software packages, such as antivirus, monitoring, CRM, and Accounts application.  This will ensure that when we make the right decision to upgrade all our own devices, we can continue to support our clients.

As part of this testing, we have identified that in terms of general use Windows 11 does have some different functionalities compared to Windows 10, which once used for a little while, the end-user can adjust quite easily.  Right-hand click menus on your mouse have changed and you are now shown icons as opposed to words for actions, such as copy and paste. Overall the general feel for the operating system is very simple to use.

We have also identified that the incorporated Microsoft Teams will only link to a personal account and not a business or educational account.  This is likely to cause initial confusion, as you will not be able to log in to your work Teams account, without some minor alterations made by one of our engineers in the setup.

Future expectations

Moving forward, it is expected that as with any operating system, Windows 11 will be regularly updated for security patches and functionality.  This is not unusual and will have minimum effect on the day-to-day running. 

Contact us for further information

To discuss arranging an audit of your network for compatibility to Windows 11, and an agreed project plan to update your systems please contact our Sales & Account Management Team on 0800 030 20 30 or via email

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Microsoft Edge to replace Internet Explorer

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Microsoft Teams, MPR, Office 2007, Office 365

Microsoft announced in March 2015, it’s plans to drop to Internet Explorer.  The next major update would be re-branded and re-named as Microsoft Edge.

In the 1990’s Internet Explorer was the essential tool for accessing the internet, but later faced a battle with Firefox and Google, which is now probably the most widely used option.

Internet Explorer 10 along with previous versions have not been supported since 2016, with no new further updates.  Whilst Internet Explorer 11 continues with security, compatibility and technical support for Windows, 7,8 and 10.  See here for information on the end of life for Windows 7 in October 2020.

Microsoft is now actively encouraging users to upgrade to Edge, ahead of support ending 17 August 2021.

Most importantly the Microsoft Teams web app WILL NOT be supported on Internet Explorer from November 2020.  With over 75 million people currently using Microsoft Teams – now is the time to upgrade your browser.

All remaining Office 365 apps will continue to be supported by Internet Explorer until the service ends in the Summer of 2021.

Failure to update to Microsoft Edge ahead of these timescales may result in non-connectivity, along with increased security threats and no on-going support from Microsoft.

Microsoft Edge is very easy to update, depending on your organisation’s administration settings.  Most users will simply be able to download the file and install.  However, if you experience any issues MPR IT Support Helpdesk are available to assist our customers.  Email the team on with a brief description of your requirements and a ticket will be automatically logged for you.

Benefits of Microsoft Edge include:

  • Faster Browsing
  • Extended Battery Life
  • Additional Security Protection
  • More control over your personal data

See the Microsoft service page here for full details:

To contact MPR IT Solutions for support on this please email: or call 0800 030 20 30.

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Living on Microsoft Teams

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, General, Helpdesk, IT Support, Microsoft, Microsoft Teams, MPR IT Work, networking, Office 365, Remote working, Software, Training, Uncategorised

Microsoft Teams was originally launched in March 2017 as a planned replacement to Skype for business. By March 2020, Microsoft Teams was used daily by 44 million people. One month later, much of the world was in lockdown and the number of daily users dramatically increased to over 75 million users.

The chances are that, as your team has been working across multiple locations, you have been using Microsoft Teams in your business. We don’t need to tell you that it is predominantly used for instant chat messaging, voice and video calls between employees and customers or suppliers.

MPR and Microsoft Teams

Since March 2020, with staff working remotely initially, and now with a limited staff level physically in the office and others still remote, Teams has been a vital tool in keeping everyone connected.

Daily morning and end of day meetings take place to check everyone is well and to discuss the activity taking place. Whilst some members were furloughed an end of week meeting was put in place to have a general catch up and keep in touch with everyone. In addition to regular group chat to ask questions and the occasional ‘Dad’ joke from team members.

As someone that has worked remotely for the last 6 years with MPR IT, I can honestly say that with the regular meetings and chat I feel more connected to the company and my colleagues in other departments. Previously, I would drop an email or quick call to someone when I needed something now, I see them all daily instead of 3 or 4 times a year when I would normally visit the office.

Click here for a Quick Start Guide to Microsoft Teams or to see the full range of training videos and resources see the Microsoft Teams website. In the meantime, here are a few features we have found to be helpful.

Video Calling Backgrounds

When making a video call to your clients or colleagues you may not want your background to be on display and be looking for a more professional image. Microsoft Teams offer a couple of options to overcome this problem

Blurred background – to avoid people in your video call seeing your homework space, or other people walking around the office you can blur out the background so that only you are on screen.

Virtual Background – a step up from the blurred background is to set up a virtual screen. If you are meeting with clients on video call or in a networking event, choosing a virtual background with your company logo can be more professional than you home or office background.

This can be activated in just a few simple steps: 

  • Generally, you should find the option under your audio and video settings as you start or join a meeting 
  • Click on settings 
  • Check under options 
  • Look for an option to blur your background or choose an image and click on it  

Group videos and Conferencing

Teams Live Events – Microsoft Teams can host meetings from 1-10,000 participants depending on your subscription and you IT Infrastructure. With many networking events, conferences or seminars moving to virtual events you can still easily reach your audience. Within a meeting you can also create individual rooms for different speakers allowing people to more around within the event.

Live Captions – Adding live captions to your meeting can be beneficial for people with different levels of language understanding or for anyone with hearing difficulties. Simply click on the 3 dots in the middle of your screen and speak slowly and clearly into you microphone and the words will appear as subtitles on the screen.

Sharing screens and content -ability to share content or PowerPoint presentations with your audience. This is a feature that has been available on many video conferencing services for many years. Simply click on the share tray and choose the application you wish to share.

Recording and transcribing video meeting – Capture audio, video, and screen-sharing activity by recording your Teams meetings. Automatic transcription allows you to play back meetings and search for important discussion items in the transcript.

Follow up – After your event or meeting you can easily share your recording, files and content and chat with attendees as well as being able to reschedule the next meeting. When all linked together it easy to review previous notes and recording all in one place.

Collaborative Tool

Microsoft Teams is much more than a communication tool, it has many additional features making it an all-round collaborative tool. With many additional apps that can be incorporated to share and edit content, plan projects, connecting with your CRM, social media channels, email platforms and live chat on your website. Additional apps are easily accessed through the main Team’s page.

If you would like to discuss Office 365, SharePoint or Microsoft Teams for your business in more detail please contact us on 0800 030 20 30

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Flexible remote working or back to the office? How technology helps

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, General, Hardware, Hosted phone, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 365, Remote working

During the last few months the majority of our team have worked remotely from home. With minimal cover in the office to accept deliveries, or work on hardware. Whilst some of our team have had to carry out socially distanced site visits. All this has taken place with no reduction in level to service for our customers.

Now as restrictions relax, like many business we must now consider the options for staff to continue remote working or a return to the office. We need ensure that this is as flexible as possible, to suit the needs of the business and our staff.

Here are a few key questions that we are having to consider:

  • Social Distancing – is there enough office space?
  • Do staff feel comfortable to be back in the office?
  • Are some staff concerned about mixing with other people on their commute?
  • What if there is a local lockdown?
  • Can it be a flexible and seamless mix between the two?

As a result of using the right technology, these questions can be easily resolved.

Hosted Phone Systems

Hosted telephone systems ensure a professional first impression for your customers no matter the location of your employees or the size of your business.  With a hosted phone system staying connected to your customers by telephone is seamless for remote working or the return to the office – it is very simple to switch between the two. Bringing the ultimate in flexibility, with a minimal initial capital outlay, along with an easy to manage monthly subscription.

MPR IT are highly experienced in both design and deployment of telecoms solutions for residential, commercial and hospitality phone systems. Offering the ability to integrate with onsite services such as CRM or MS Outlook, contacts and caller details automatically pop up when they’re on the phone. Choosing an MPR IT Solutions hosted cloud-based telephone system is the ideal solution.

With the latest connected solutions, we ensure that the design meets your requirements and ensure it is correctly deployed to your organisation and end users.

Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 has changed the way that many companies work over the last few years. A cloud based solution combining collaboration, communication and security tools at an affordable cost for everyone. Your staff can access their email and files anywhere with an internet connection. With 2 factor authentication you can be sure it remains secure.

MPR IT has invested time and resources into becoming an official Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner and Small Business Specialist. We are trained in a number of Microsoft Competencies that directly relate to implementing, migrating and configuring your Office 365 solution. MPR IT focus on a smooth and trouble free migration ensuring your business has minimal disruption. Followed up with seamless  ongoing support our team are on hand to advise and solve any problems should they arise.

Microsoft Teams

Superseding Skype for Business – Microsoft Teams was launched in March 2017. In November 2019, Microsoft announced that Teams was used by 20 million end users. Fast forward to April 2020 and 75 million people were using Teams. Integrating with Office 365, Teams is a platform combing communication such as video calls, workplace chat and file sharing and storage.

All the staff at MPR IT have been using Teams over the last 4 months. With daily morning meetings we can connect and be set up for the days task ahead, quick messages or video calls to team mates rather than emails. Having been a remote worker for a number of years, I feel more involved with my colleagues and more connected to the day to day activity within the business.

Flexible working

By using technology systems such as these, the question of enabling staff the flexibility of working either in the office or remotely is much simpler. Staff can connect to their files, email and colleagues through Microsoft and your customer calls can be answered seamlessly.

If you would like more information on more permanent flexible working approach for your staff that wont affect the running of your business please contact us on 0800 030 20 30 or email us

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Covid-19: Disaster Management Plans

by Nicki Dowsett in Disaster Planning, Disaster Recovery, General, Helpdesk, Hosted phone, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, MPR, Office 365

Covid-19 has fast become the hot topic in the media and conversations around the world. Whilst there is still much uncertainty as to how it will affect us as individuals and businesses, it is not something to completely dismiss.

The spread of Covid-19 is likely to increase over the coming weeks. With schools and businesses expected to be affected, be it due to members of staff/pupils becoming unwell or simply due to an external connection to someone that is affected.

This morning (Tuesday 3rd March 2020), Downing Street released a statement detailing various plans for the worst case scenario. Including a prediction that up to a fifth of the UK workforce potentially being unable to work due to Covid-19.

Disaster Management plans have traditionally been put in place for the scenarios where offices are inaccessible. With consideration made due to fire, flood or bad weather. It is unlikely that the current situation of a global contagion has been taken into consideration. Now is the time to consider and review your disaster management plan.

Catch it, Kill it, Bin it!

This phrase, and the recommendation of regular hand washing is promoted widely. Here at MPR IT, we are ensuring that this message is clear to all our staff members, whether they are office based or engineers visiting clients offices. We have also instructed all team members that should they be concerned they may have come into contact with someone suffering with Coronavirus symptoms, they should inform management and seek medical advise whilst self isolating.

Flexible Home Working

In line with the Disaster Management Plan already in place for MPR IT, all staff members have the ability to work from home and continue to support our clients with no loss of service. This is part of a plan that has been in place for many years. The main purpose of this plan is to ensure that our business can continue no matter what.

Office 365 and Cloud Computing

Software packages such as Office 365, and cloud based CRM’s are becoming more common place. Giving access to email and Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Teams, from any location with Internet connectivity. Giving the ability to create and share documents with chosen individuals.

Telephone Systems

Along with access to documents and files, it is also vital for your business phone lines to be managed. With Hosted Telephone Systems your customers are still able to contact you. Without even having to know you are not physically in the office.

With a range of options and packages to suit businesses of all sizes, we strongly recommend that if you wish to consider the options available to your business, now is the time to contact and discuss with our team on 0800 030 20 30.

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Microsoft Support Ending

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Hardware, Helpdesk, Industry News, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 2007, Office 365, Uncategorised, Windows 10, Windows 7

Microsoft will be ending support and updates for two of their platforms in 2020. If you are currently using either Office 2010 or Windows 7, it is important to consider your options now.

Microsoft have recently announced that support for Office 2010 will be ending on 13th October 2020. This means that from this date there will be no further extension of updates on this package.

Whilst Office 2010 will still continue to function it does mean that you will be at risk of potentially harmful and serious security risks. We recommend that you look to upgrading to Microsoft Office 365 as a replacement.

MPR IT Solutions are an official Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner and Small Business Specialist. This means we are trained in a number of Microsoft Competencies that directly relate to implementing, migrating and configuring your Office 365 solution. We have vast experience in migrating businesses over to Office 365 and ensure minimal disruption to your daily tasks.

Secondly support will be ending on 14 January 2020 for the operating system Windows 7. Available since 2009, there have been a number of updates since the launch, with the current recommended version Windows 10 now on the market. Please see our earlier blog explaining this.

If you are using Windows 7, either on a personal computer or at your business, now is the time to consider upgrading to Windows 10.  However, before you make the move, it is imperative that you consider any 3rd party software programme installed on your pc/laptop and hardware such as printers, scanners etc. as these may not be compatible.  You will also need to consider the hardware resources available, as Windows 10 is a powerful operating system and therefore requires a large amount of RAM installed.

Our team of experts can audit all of your software packages (e.g Sage) and hardware (e.g RAM, printers and scanners) to ensure these are compatible and where they may not be.  To upgrade without taking this into consideration, you may find that it becomes time consuming and more costly to rectify the issues.

For more information and to discuss your options to upgrade either of these Microsoft products please contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 or email

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End of Life – Office 2007

by Nicki Dowsett in General, Industry News, IT Support, IT Systems, Microsoft, Office 2007, Office 365, Outlook 2007

Office 2007 was launched a decade ago, and included the Microsoft products – Excel,Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, and One Note.  Since its launch there have been significant advancements in connectivity and productivity for many companies.   This means that the majority of companies have left Office 2007 behind, and moved to Office 2016 or more likely to Office 365, however there are a few companies still using Office 2007.

Most Microsoft packages are only supported for 10 years and therefore it is the turn of Office 2007, to receive the end of life treatment.  Meaning by the end of October 2017 there will be no further:

  • Technical support
  • Bug fixes for issues identified
  • Security fixes for vulnerabilities released

In addition to the end of life support coming to an end, it is important to note Outlook 2007, will no longer connect to Office 365 mailboxes.  Therefore users of Outlook 2007 will not be able to receive or send emails.

Microsoft are now urging users of the 2007 version to consider upgrading to the latest offerings.  There are a number of advantages to this, not least the fact that support will be ending in a few months time.  During  2017, there has been a number of global cyber attacks.  People using packages that are no longer supported by Microsoft are at greater risk.

Earlier this year, in an unusual step Microsoft were pressured into releasing a fix for the Wanna Cry virus on Windows 2000.   Despite having stopped supporting the package in 2010, they still had a larger number of users, who were subsequently affected by the virus.  It is highly unlikely that they will make this move again in the future and are already publicising the end of life for 2007 package, with recommendations to urgently update software.  The most popular choice for businesses these days is Office 365.  Please see our page on Office 365 for full details on this product.



MPR IT Solutions has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in supporting companies in making the change to Office 365.  We have worked with a number of companies to ensure the transition is smooth, & there is minimum disruption to staff.  Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your options to migrate to Office 365 – whether you are currently using 2007 or another version of the Office Suite.




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December Newsletter

by Nicki Dowsett in B2B, Exhibitions, General, Helpdesk, Monthly Newsletter, MPR, Newsletter


Merry Christmas from the team at  MPR IT

Merry Christmas from all MPR IT


During the festive period the MPR IT team will be taking some well-earned rest.  The office will be closed from the afternoon Thursday 24th December 2015 until the morning of Monday 4th January 2016.  We will however arrange for support to be available throughout this time for those customers that have contract including out of hours support.  Please contact our hotline 0800 030 20 30 to be put through to the on-call engineer.


We have recently added a new page to our website, regarding service status on Email Filtering, Office 365, DNS/Web Hosting, AVG Cloud care, Hosted Wireless or Site Monitoring.  The page will be updated as and when required, as well as updating our Social media pages.  If you are experiencing any issues not listed on the page or would like further information regarding a listed issue please contact the helpdesk.


With many offices closing down or running with less staff over the Christmas period please follow our top tips to help keep your systems safe and secure over the holiday period.

  • Probably the most important thing you will ever do – BACK UP all your systems
  • Turn off any equipment that is not needed to avoid over heating
  • Ensure that any servers or IT equipment left on have plenty of ventilation
  • Make sure that passwords are not written down to avoid any unwanted access to your data
  • Ensure that all files and cabinets are locked securely
  • Check pipes and taps are protected in case of cold weather – no one wants to return to a flooded office
  • Ensure you have the MPR IT contact details in case of any IT emergency 0800 030 20 30
  • Do not open any Christmas greeting emails from unknown sources, in case of malicious emails/content.
  • Ensure you have a Disaster Management plan in place in case anything unfortunate happens or in the event of bad weather and staff cannot get back into the office after the festive period
  • Make sure your Anti-Virus is fully installed and up to date. MPR IT can guide you to the best options for your business.
  • A final reminder of the most important of all steps – BACK UP all of your data.


Many of our clients use MPR to host business web sites on the internet.  In order to do this MPR uses a number of different hosted DNS (Domain Name Server)/Nameservers. A DNS is effectively a phonebook for the internet, maintaining a directory of domain names and translates these to IP addresses.

When you request a site such as it will check the nameservers for the web address, and then grab the I.P (telephone number) behind the name and point you to the “property” the “telephone number” belongs too. (The property being the webserver). This is a brief explanation but DNS “records” are responsible for pointing your businesses email, website, servers etc. to the correct “telephone numbers” of your “property”.

We are able to lease space to our clients to store their web site and any data associated with it.  With the recent installation of a new DNS we are able to offer a more stable and resilient service to our clients, with improved failover, custom branded nameservers and various reporting utilities (on request). If you are interested in MPR being responsible for hosting your web site please contact us.


If like many businesses you are reaching the time that you need to review your IT budget – contact us to discuss your needs and how best to save money.   MPR IT can help you audit your existing IT equipment and identify any areas that require upgrade for the forthcoming year.  As we are not tied to any particular supplier we can ensure you get the best deal for your budget.  MPR IT can also offer support packages to help you budget through the year.  With our all-inclusive package you know exactly the amount you will be spending each month to ensure your IT is supported without any hidden or unexpected charges.  Please contact us to discuss your business needs. Or in the event you have reached the end of the financial year and have money in the budget you need to spend, MPR can review any areas that require any improvement to support you through the next year.


Last month a massive 640 tickets were closed by the help desk and November is on course to meet that again.

Our closed survey questionnaire has been updated with new questions, thanks to Gaby.  We are pleased to say that the survey responses have been fantastic, and we now are bringing awareness to our social media through them.  We currently achieving a standard response of 4.95 out of 5 for our assistance.  Well done to Tom and all the guys on the helpdesk for your great work.  If you have anything that you would like to discuss regarding the service you have received from MPR IT please do not hesitate to contact Gaby in Customer Service.

In addition to the daily calls we receive for support the team have also had a number of site visits and installations including:-

  • Construction company required installation of QNAP and new internet connection
  • Educational and Child services organisation installation of– 3 new pc’s and monitors
  • Locally based national company for senior services installation of cat 5 cabling and wireless link with antenna
  • Local automotive repair company – installation of Office 365 for all users


The Sales team have also been working hard in the last month, exhibiting at our last event of the year in Sandwich at the Kent Invicta Chamber B2B.  David has also been networking with a number of local businesses at various networking events and the local BNI group.

We are delighted to say that with the hard work from all the team has helped the Sales team to secure a number of new contracts in the last month, work at some of these has already been carried out by the Tech guys.  We would like to welcome to the MPR family all our new clients and we look forward to working with you.

  • Large car sales company based in the South East, providing daily support to 50 staff in addition to a complete system overhaul, installation of Office 365 and upgrade of all Microsoft Office platform
  • Multinational leisure and tourism business, providing improved and upgraded security for all people and vehicles entering the site.
  • Local building company have contact us for support, and we will shortly be visiting the site to review the full business needs


We are working hard to promote and improve the ranking for MPR IT on Google at the moment and the best promotion that we can ever get is from you – our clients.  We would therefore really appreciate if you can possibly spare a few moments to write a review on Google for us.  Simply enter MPR IT into the google search and it will list all matches and a chance to write a review.  If you could also add this to our Facebook page that would be amazing.

Additionally please ensure you follow us on social media and our blog page to make sure you are kept up to date on any news stories we feel that would be of interest to some if not all our clients.

Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and if you know of any colleagues that don’t receive our newsletter and would find this of interest please forward their details to us so we can add them to our database. If any of the news stories we have on our site may affect you please let us know or if you wish to discuss the services we currently provide to your business please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help


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Skype for Business

by Nicki Dowsett in Office 365

Skype for Business


You may have seen our recent blog about Microsoft Lync changing to Skype for business.  This was effectively a re-branding of the current service offered for instant messaging and video calling for the office.  At the time it was said there would be further updates.

Skype has recently announced the next phase of the re-branding, and these programs look to be promising tools for businesses.  With three new programs currently being launched for Technical previews from the 1st of July.  These programs will be part of the suite of Office 365 apps and will require users to use Office 365.

The first and probably the most effective will be Skype Meeting Broadcast, this will work as a similar product to GoTo Meeting.  This program will allow users to hold meetings with up to 10,000 people in a browser.  This will be beneficial for companies that want to hold a company meeting or Town Hall Meeting, without the hassle of travel for all staff members and finding the space big enough to hold everyone.  Saving a business time and money.  It will also allow businesses to hold Webinars with clients on a large scale, so not just viable for internal contacts but also external.

The second is Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN Conferencing.  This function allows for users of Skype for Business to hold a meeting within Office 365 via land line or mobile.  A great additional tool to the Skype Meeting Broadcast for anyone not able to connect via a browser.  This is currently only being previewed in the US but should be available in the UK in the near future.  Something for us to look forward to.

The third part of this phase is Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling.  This program will allow users to effectively use Skype for Business as a traditional phone system.  You will be able to receive and make calls via Skype in the traditional manner and to manage these calls with the option to place calls on hold or transfer to a colleague.  This is currently only on preview in the US and will use voice technology of Skype for Business and will run on the Azure OS.  They expect this to be available worldwide by the end of 2015.  It will require a configuration option to allow users to use existing phone lines to link in with the Azure OS and phone systems so will involve an amount of set up to be operational.  However this is an interesting step forward in terms of communication.

At this stage of preview/testing period the trials are only available to selected end users, however it is promising to see a new phase already in the pipeline such a short time after the re-branding of Lync to Skype.  Microsoft are clearly planning to move a step ahead in terms of programs and tools to assist businesses work more efficiently with less travel and time spent away from the desk, whilst still having a small personal touch of video conferencing.

Personally for us here at MPR we prefer to meet our clients on a face to face basis as we find this is the best way of keeping in touch with our clients, however there will always be occasions when a simple phone call is not enough and the advantage of the video conferencing will be beneficial with clients that can’t get away to meet us.  Additionally the instant messaging feature is great to ask a quick question which may not need a full email or phone call.  With Skype for business a video call can allow you to share your screen and present documents, this is a great tool for us when offering support to our clients.

For more information on how Skype for Business or Office 365 can benefit your organisation please contact us to discuss your options.

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Office 365 for Android Users

by Nicki Dowsett in Industry News


Office is now available on all devices including Android

Office 365 for Android Users

Hooray for Android Users, Microsoft have recently announced that they are launching Office 365 for android devices.

Microsoft have previously only had apps on Apple ipad and iphone, however they have now launched apps for the Android market.  This OWA app means that Android owners can now also take full advantage of the features available and gain access to new exchange features including those announced at a recent conference.  For those that don’t know OWA allows access to email, calendars and contact features within Office 365, smoothly synced together.

Many emails are now viewed initially on the phone, with many people on the go, it is therefore of great importance to businesses to ensure that their employees can be kept up to date.

Microsoft first launched this app on the ipad and iphone last year, and this is the next step in the world of communication.  All users can now benefit from the close links to Office 365 to view word, excel or power point documents on their phone or tablet, these can also be edited without the need to log on to a PC/laptop.  The perfect tool for the busy employee who spends a lot of time on the road or running to meetings.    Whilst you need separate apps to Word, Excel and Powerpoint you can easily view a document that has been shared with you via email.

With any Microsoft you can expect new features and regular updates.  One of the new features on the OWA app is codenamed clutter, which promises to separate important emails from junk that often fills your inbox.  This is not to be confused with junk mail.  The average employee will also get emails from friends and family or relating to a personal matter, these will be identified and separated out from business emails, allowing important emails not to be missed.  Who likes to open an email inbox with 200 emails when actually only 50 need to be read and dealt with prior to checking out your mums photos!  This is likely to be renamed at the time of launch however you get the idea.   Several other features are due to be launched in due course and we will keep you updated as they are announced.

Microsoft are clearly listening to the business world and working hard to produce tools to make the work day less stressful, however it does mean that you can’t run and hide away as you can now no longer say sorry I have been in meetings all day and not seen the finance report.

If you are interested to find out how Office 365 can benefit your business please contact us for a free consultation.

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