28 June 2020, 0 Comments

FindTime in 2020

If you receive updates from your Office 365 tenant you’ll have seen a few lately about changes to the back-end of the FindTime service. Basically if you’re using a compatible version of Outlook, with a mailbox in Exchange Online, your FindTime data is now stored in your Exchange Online mailbox (which is likely in Australia), rather than previously being stored in the United States. There are a couple of caveats, this only applies from Outlook 2016 up (version 2016.0.7828.100 and above), Outlook 2016 for Mac and Outlook on the Web.

However! As interesting as that is, for those organisations that require their data to remain within the region, it now opens up the opportunity to use FindTime, and if you’ve not used it yet, trust me, you’re going to love it. Have you ever tried to organise a meeting with people in and out of your organisation? It’s pretty easy for those internal with the schedule assistant, but then you’re just hoping the external attendants are free…or you call them and talk through each of the calendars…another meeting about a meeting.

No more! FindTime is effectively an option for a meeting time poll added to the Outlook ribbon. You simply create a new e-mail, choose FindTime from the ribbon, select your availability, then send the e-mail. You can select times which overlap and times on different days.

Now sit back and wait. Each attendee will get an e-mail with all the time-slot options, they select all the slots they’re available and they’re done. Each time an attendee updates the poll you get an e-mail showing the overall selections from everyone who’s voted, you decide the best time-slot and click the schedule button. Each attendee gets a meeting invite for the selected time.

Recipient receives e-mail and select availability and preference, then organizer receives update and the option to schedule.

I now use this ALL THE TIME, even if there’s just two of us (I like to at least seem like I’m open to other options), and I’m willing to bet once this is enabled on your Office 365 tenant so will you, it’s just easy, and who doesn’t want easy!

In guess in summary, the point of this was, Microsoft have updated the back-end of the FindTime service to save the data in the users mailbox, rather than just defaulting to a server in the states and overcoming any issues organisations might have with data sovereignty. However, more importantly, now you know what FindTime actually is! Just remember the requirements, Office 2016 and above, and your mailbox must be in Exchange Online.