What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a group messaging application that supports and enhances teamwork through improved communication and collaboration. Think of it as a chat-based workspace that collates and consolidates all the tools that teams need to work effectively.

Launched by Microsoft in 2017, Teams has experienced huge growth in a relatively short period time, becoming Microsoft’s fastest growing application and overtaking its close competitor Slack in daily active users.

Available through a number of Office 365 plans and a freemium model, Microsoft Teams represents excellent value for organisations looking to change the way they communicate and work.

At its core, Microsoft Teams is made up of teams, which are essentially a custom group of members that you work with. Users can be members of any number of teams.

Within each team, you can then create channels which are built around a topic of focus. Channels are where you have conversations, conduct meetings and work collaboratively to get stuff done. Channels can be made available to all members. However, if there’s content that needs to be kept confidential amongst a select number of members, then you can create a private channel.

An example of the above would be to create a team titled Marketing, within this team, you might create a channel to discuss strategies, a channel to document expenses and so forth.

If you’re still unclear on how to use Microsoft Teams, register below to access a recording of our Microsoft Teams webinar for a demonstration.

What can you do with Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams offers members an array of features designed to make communication and collaboration between members seamless and productive.

Key features that Microsoft Teams offers include:

Hold meetings

Limited with meeting rooms in your office? Work with colleagues in different locations around the world? Teams enables you to schedule and hold meetings using audio, video and screen sharing. In addition, anyone can join your meeting (with permission), regardless of whether they have a Teams account or whether they are in your organisation or not. This opens the door for intra and extra organisation collaboration.

Instant messaging

Chat one on one with another member or with multiple members at a time.

Upload and Share files

Teams offers an intelligent and intuitive file experience that benefits from being a part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Upload and share documents via chat and teams and work together on the original source file. Easily navigate all uploaded files in a channel or chat to find the document you’re after.

Make phone calls

Looking at replacing your office telecommunications system? Then Teams might be the solution for you… If set up correctly, members can use Teams like they would an office phone to make calls, receive and leave voicemails and more.

Collaborate on projects

Find all the tools you need at your fingertips to successfully manage a project from start to finish. Add a number of popular project management applications such as Microsoft Planner and Asana or even your own project calendar in Excel by adding them as a tab as part of your Teams channel.

Integrate with 3rd party application

Microsoft has allowed members to access and use third party applications as part of their workspace to create an even more powerful user experience. Members have a huge library of applications available to them, such as Twitter and Zendesk, which they can embed in their personal interface or as a part of a channel.

Expect the list of features to grow as Microsoft is continues to evolve its Teams offering and redefine the modern workspace.

How to access Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is available as part of a number of Office 365 subscriptions including:

  • Business Essentials
  • Business Premium
  • Enterprise E1, E3, or E5
  • Enterprise E4
  • Office 365 A1 Suite Licensing
  • Office 365 A3 Customers

For those that don’t have it included as part of an Office 365 subscription, it can be accessed via a freemium & paid model.

Microsoft Teams can be accessed from any device using an appropriate login.

Common Pitfalls of Microsoft Teams

Low user adoption of Microsoft Teams

You can invest a great deal of time and money into a new workplace solution like Microsoft Teams, but if you don’t have clear strategies in place to encourage user adoption, then it’s likely to fail. It’s not enough to give users access and expect them to start using Teams. Initiatives are needed to bring all users along on the journey, otherwise engagement with the new technology will suffer.

Microsoft Teams Sprawl

Rapid growth in the usage of Teams in an organisation is not always a cause for celebration. When there are no governance policies in place and there’s a lack of education amongst users, organisations can find themselves in a position when they’re inundated by the number of teams being created. This can be overwhelming for members (imagine being part of a 100 different teams, with many similar in nature to the other), difficult for organisations to oversee and can be counter-intuitive to the purpose of Teams which is to improve staff productivity and enhance communication and collaboration. Clear guidelines for usage need to be in place to ensure that members are going to get the best possible user experience.

If you’d like to learn more about this, register to watch our Microsoft Teams webinar below or get in touch with us directly.

HOW TO NAIL MICROSOFT TEAMS

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