Daily appointments can be difficult to make because when appointments are made, participants' free or booked times are often unknown. For business meetings, suggested appointments are usually sent via email message - or a specific date - in the hope that this appointment will suit all participants. Simple and fast appointment finding is supported by Microsoft FindTime in Outlook via Office 365.
In the private sector, for example, Doodle is a popular online planner for submitting several appointment suggestions to participants via URL invitations. In the classic scheduling process in companies, all participants receive their invitations by e-mail. The organiser waits for the respective feedback and in most cases all participants communicate with each other several times by e-mail. This method of coordination often leads to misunderstandings and errors, whereby important appointment information is lost. Especially in the project area, the task of deadline management is an important part of smooth planning and implementation.
Development and availability of Microsoft FindTime.
For the business sector, Microsoft developed the FindTime solution and made it available as an add-on for Microsoft Outlook at the end of 2015. Initially, Microsoft FindTime was a Garage project, which was integrated into Office 365 as an online solution in October 2017. The function is currently available in all Microsoft tenants of the "First Release". Office 365 customers with the First Release option allow Microsoft to use new product updates and features as soon as they are available.
FindTime is currently available in all Microsoft First Release tenants.
Daily use of Microsoft FindTime
Using the new FindTime feature, meeting times can be efficiently coordinated with customers, colleagues and business partners inside or outside the company. The desired participants do not necessarily have to have an Office 365 or Microsoft account in order to take part in the scheduling process.
In order to create an appointment coordination, it is necessary to log in to the Office 365 account and Outlook Online. Currently, FindTime is only available in Outlook Online. For new appointments, the function "Vote on a meeting time" can be selected in the calendar view. A FindTime vote allows the definition of different times, the selection of persons and the location. Subsequently, all participants receive an email notification and a link to the online voting. The invitation link does not require registration and opens the appointment voting directly.
Once all participants have cast their vote, FindTime suggests a suitable time. If all participants agree to the same time, the meeting invitation is sent automatically. Otherwise, the vote can be revised individually and, for example, extended to include further time suggestions.
The new Microsoft FindTime in Outlook Online provides a viable and simple feature for the entire organisation to manage appointments efficiently, without time-consuming email communication.