Microsoft have been adding lots of new features and applications to Office 365, such as Planner, Shifts and Microsoft Teams.
Taking on Slack, Microsoft describes Teams as a ‘chat-based workspace in Office 365’ allowing teams (internal only at this stage) to work together within one window to enhance teamwork. It’s important to note that Microsoft Teams will be replacing Skype for Business (which will be retired 31st July 2021).
What Does Microsoft Teams Do?
Within one window, users can call upon a variety of key Office 365 apps and tools to help them work more effectively, such as:
- Calendars and meetings (Outlook)
- Create, share, edit and find content (SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote)
- Call and meet team members (Skype)
- Chat and instant messaging (Skype)
Microsoft Teams Perks
- Centralized hub
- Office 365 integration
- Customize Teams through APIs and bot frameworks
- Enterprise security & compliance
- Azure Active Directory integration
- No extra cost to Office 365 users
Once your organization has access to Teams, you can: download the desktop application, access Teams through your browser or download the mobile app.
How Does Microsoft Teams and Channels Work?
To start your teamwork collaboration, you need a team. Setting up Teams is easy and done in a few clicks, requiring a Team name and a description; this then allows team members to be added. As mentioned above, a new Team will create a matching Office 365 Group, OneNote, SharePoint site and Plan—so this does need to be done with some caution.
Each Team has subsections, which are called Channels, and a General Channel will automatically be created. You can have multiple Channels within a Team; for example, you could have a ‘Marketing’ Team and then Channels such as ‘Social Media’, ‘Product Launch’, ‘Blogs’ etc. Or a Company could be a Team and Channels can relate to departments – you can choose whatever suits your organization’s way of working. Whenever there is a new notification or activity, the Channel will become bold.
Each Channel all have their own tabs along the top. Conversation (group chat), Files (shared documents) and Notes (shared OneNote) are automatically created and you can then add your own tabs.
Conversations are one of the key features of Teams, allowing each Team to have a centralized discussion that is saved and easily searchable. Conversations are the central component where all teamwork is recorded—from file sharing to video calls.
The use of @mentions allows you to tag participants or even whole teams to notify others. Users that look at Conversations will easily see where they have been mentioned through the red @ symbol to highlight areas of importance to them. On top of this, your desktop app will notify you through an alert. As well as tagging, users can ‘like’ content and share emoticons or GIFs.
In your Teams window, you can perform a variety of tasks directly within that window or browser, so that you avoid flicking between different applications. These tasks include the ability to delete, download, move files, open, copy, edit or get a link to share with others – giving you all the key features you would get in the native apps.
You can also start a Group chat alongside the file, to allow team discussions while all working on the files – and this conversation will appear in your Conversation thread.
Notes takes you to the Team shared OneNote. Within Teams you can view and edit your OneNotes (directly within the Teams window) or you can click to edit in the OneNote app.
Microsoft Teams is already a robust offering and is benefiting from lots of new features and integrations.
Media coverage and reception has also been very positive with many Slack comparisons. Within these comparisons, Microsoft Teams is often faring very well in terms of features, usability and offering—but what makes it even more appealing is the fact that is it included with Office 365.
If you are using Office 365, then we recommend trying Teams. If you are not using Office 365, then you can sign up for an Office 365 trial (which includes Teams) to test it.
Contact JENLOR today to learn how we can assist in your company in maximizing the use of Microsoft Teams!