A ConnectSolutions Survey revealed that 77% of remote workers report greater productivity while working off-site. This is one of the perks of the internet; we don’t need to be on-site to be working. Emails, software, documents, etc. are now accessible from anywhere.
Recent world events such as the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak bring forward the need for workers to have access to their tools as well as their colleagues without being able to go into the office. Large corporations have asked their workers to stay home to reduce the spread and risks associated with the virus.
This has led to a new concern that businesses have: how to collaborate effectively. While Skype for Business has multiple features, such as live conferences, it may not fit all the needs of your team. Let’s say you need to communicate with a specific group about a specific project on a recurrent basis; you might need to return to emails to keep track of all that has been shared and done for that particular project.
Some applications, like Slack, have tried to fill the void, and are having some success. But regardless of all the interesting things Slack can do, one thing remains concerning, and that is security. That’s where Microsoft Teams comes in.
What is Microsoft Teams?
In November 2016, Microsoft added a new tool to its already robust Office 365 suite of services – Microsoft Teams. Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool that provides global, remote, and dispersed teams with the ability to work together and share information via a common space. You can utilize cool features like document collaboration, one-on-one chat, team chat, and more. Microsoft Teams is also fully integrated with many other Office 365 services, such as Skype, SharePoint, Exchange, and Yammer.
The following core capabilities are included in Teams:
- Chat – Enjoy public and private conversations with your teams. The deep integration of Skype video into the application brings you popular social features, such as adding emojis and custom memes to your discussions.
- Hub – Teams offers a shared workspace for the various applications in Microsoft Office including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Planner, OneNote, SharePoint, Delve, and Power BI. This feature gives you and your teams the option to work natively without having to stress about toggling between applications as you try to get projects completed.
To start using Microsoft Teams, log into your Office 365 Portal with your credentials, look for Teams under the list of add-ins. Click on it to log in and configure the settings.
7 Things You Should Know About Microsoft Teams
1) A Platform for Today’s Teams
Microsoft Teams was built for today’s diverse workforce. The methods that organizational teams use to communicate and collaborate has gone through immense changes over the years; traditional hierarchies are dying out leaving room for flatter organizational structures and thus making the rapid flow of information and communication even more important. Teams provides you with an open, digital environment that makes work integrated, visible, and accessible across the board. With Teams, everyone around you will always be in the know.
At the core of this and every other service delivered through Office 365 are the 3 famous G’s:
- Governance – Features like E-Discovery are added to ensure the applications are secure and meet various compliance requirements.
- Graphs – Everything you do inside the Office 365 Suite is captured as a signal for content discovery across applications.
- Groups – You can create groups made up of internal or external users, and then collaborate with the same group and access products in the Office 365 Suite.
Teams is already a part of the Microsoft Group, thus making all your data and communications accessible through Microsoft Graph and Office 365’s centralized governance and management console. This is where Teams makes integrating solutions easier for you – it belongs to a robust platform. You’re not signing up for the average stand-alone solution.
Microsoft Teams provides a versatile conversation experience. You will be able to enjoy persistent threaded conversations. Looking at it from a broader point of view, every conversation you have within Teams automatically becomes information assets and are saved. These assets become searchable via Microsoft Graph. These conversations become visible to everyone on your team, but you also have the option of launching private discussions.
Additionally, Team’s deep Skype integration brings you video and voice capabilities plus a wide variety of modern visual communication tools that will help increase engagements with your team members. You are able to communicate with cool items like GIFs, stickers, emojis, and custom memes.
2) Improved Meeting Experience with Scheduling Capabilities
The ability to meet virtually is an important and cost-effective feature for businesses today. Teams gives you a view of your scheduled meetings, the timing, the subject, and a list of other persons who’ll be attending.
3) Bots Gallery
About 24 bots with a variety of functionalities are available to help increase productivity. There’s the T-Bot, which can answer most basic and frequently asked questions about Teams, Polly Bot for polling co-workers, Statsbot for delivering scheduled reports via sources, such as Salesforce and Google Analytics, and Growbot, which allows the exchange of kudos with your co-workers.
4) The Ideal Teamwork Hub
When you become a full member of an Office 365 Group, you will experience the full depth and breadth of Office 365 including tools, such as PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Planner, OneNote, SharePoint, Delve, and Power BI. Since Teams was constructed around the idea of leveraging the maximum capability of Microsoft Graph, your workgroups and teams will now have the ability to share insights, intelligence, and data anywhere within the Office 365 suite.
If you’re working in an environment where intelligent services like receiving tickets from your Jira Platform or connecting to SAP, Microsoft Teams can be your go-to tool for surfacing these applications through your workspace. This added functionality will assist you with information sharing, discovery, and relevancy. Microsoft has also put tools in place within Teams and the Office 365 suite to ensure conversation and data context is preserved over time.
5) Mobile Audio and Video Calling
Available on both Android and iOS (audio only), Teams provides a simple and easy-to-use app that allows you to chat with your team via text, have a voice conversation, or a video meeting.
6) Highly Customizable
Being able to be customized is an important feature for any application in this era. It is true that all organizations are unique. If you’re looking for a tool that will increase engagement in your organization, then Microsoft Teams is the answer. This new tool can be tailored to meet all the unique business and cultural needs of your organization. Teams gives you a platform with options for extensibility and open APIs with general availability. Through the leveraging of Microsoft Exchange’s Connector model, Teams can provide you with updates and notifications from third-party services like GitHub and Twitter. With added support for Microsoft’s Bot Framework, your organization will be able to create and customize the applications and other intelligent services to integrate with Microsoft Teams.
7) Improved Security
Security is another area in which Microsoft Teams stands apart from its competitors and ensures your peace of mind. You will always be provided with cutting-edge security and compliance capabilities when you use any of Office 365’s platform services. Your data is encrypted while in transit and at rest. Teams and all other Office 365 services meet compliance standards including ISO 27001, HIPPA. SOC 2 and the EU Model Clauses. Teams is also a part of Microsoft’s global network of data centers which is said to have a transparent operational model. Your Teams account is provisioned within Office 365 and managed via the Admin console.
Microsoft Teams is a powerful communication and collaboration tool that will soon become a major player in the market. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to become part of the movement and increase your overall productivity. Once you have a grasp on what business scenario you’re attempting to solve, you can tailor Teams, Groups, SharePoint, or any other Office 365 service to meet your needs.
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Microsoft will soon be killing off Skype for Business. Get ready for these changes now by getting to grips with all the features and end-user benefits of its replacement, Microsoft Teams.
** This article was edited on March 10, 2020