We’ve recently witnessed the rollout of Microsoft Teams - a new chat-based collaboration tool, fully integrated within the Office ecosystem. But as you’ll have noticed, work-focused chat tools are hardly a new phenomenon - so why does this offering deserve special attention? We put Microsoft Teams under the spotlight…
Microsoft Teams: what’s it all about?
When it was first announced at the end of 2016, Microsoft declared that the aim of Teams was to “bring together people, conversations and content” with the aim of helping organisations achieve better collaboration. This isn’t a simple chat app grafted onto Office; rather, it’s “built from the ground up”: it’s been produced specifically for Office 365 for full integration with each of the suite’s applications.
Here’s a rundown of its key features:
- It offers a single window for organisational users to call upon the full range of Office 365 tools for more effective collaboration. These include access to calendars and meetings in Outlook, creating and editing content in SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote as well as calls and instant messaging through Skype.
- As to be expected, Teams can be accessed either via desktop browser or mobile app.
- An individual Team can be set up in just a few clicks. For each Team, you can then have multiple Channels- thereby helping you to segment specific ongoing tasks or projects.
- Conversations. This has all the familiar elements of popular chat tools (things like tagging, emoticons and the ability to ‘like’ content). More than this, Conversations, enable centralised discussion between team members that are saved and easily searchable.
Why should you use Microsoft Teams?
At first glance, many of the features of Microsoft Teams will appear similar to what’s available elsewhere. But taken together, it all adds up to a pretty impressive collaboration tool. Here are some of the main benefits it could offer your business…
It brings everything together
If you are already one of the world’s estimated 85 million active Office 365 commercial users, it makes sense to have a tool that brings everything together for a seamless experience. At any one time, your people could be using OneNote, Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Planner - often all at the same time for the same project. It offers one window and one hub for all communications and workflows.
Chat - with a purpose
Searching through email threads is both inefficient and - more often than not- incredibly annoying. On the other end of the scale, instant messaging tools such as Skype for Business can certainly be convenient for quick, one-off communication - but it can certainly be hard to track an entire project through a single Skype thread.
Teams offers all the convenience of an instant messaging tool, while being fully geared to collaborative work. You get threaded conversations - capable of being archived and searched - directly alongside the documents the conversations refer to.
From the perspective of your CISO, why needlessly introduce standalone tools when everything you need can be found under a single ‘ecosystem’?
Microsoft Teams comes with exactly the same security and compliance credentials as all other elements of Office 365. As long as it provides all of the collaboration functionality your people require, then in fact, you should be able to eliminate the need for standalone tools. And of course, cutting back on the number of individual software elements across your IT estate helps to reduce your attack surface.
For existing Office 365 subscribers, Teams offers a handly element of extra functionality. For businesses yet to make the switch, it provides another good reason to consider making the move to Office 365.