Microsoft Teams, a Game Changer?

Microsoft recently launched a brand-new product named Microsoft Teams. I have been able to review it as an integral part of my Office 365 subscription. Teams not only offers new exciting functionality, it puts many of your existing Office 365 apps to work. Let’s have a look.

Communication & Collaboration

Many problems in organizations stem from lack of communication and collaboration. This problem is rooted in corporate culture and inadequate competencies, but use of appropriate software tools can make amends.

Communication refers to the exchange of relevant information which enables workers to do their job effectively. Businesses increasingly turn to cloud storage services line OneDrive for Business and intranet team sites developed with SharePoint to address this problem.

Collaboration is the process of shared creation (e.g. product design), which requires effective teamwork and two-way communication. Businesses have embraced planning tools with varied success, but poor communication remains a hindrance. Microsoft Teams addresses this issue with an integrated solution for communication and collaboration.

Basic Features

The user interface of Teams is intuitive, so it’s not difficult to set it up and start using it. Here is a short overview of its core features:

  1. Teams – You can create teams that are private and restricted to co-workers or public and open to people outside your organization.
  2. Channels – You can create channels for your team conversations and organize them by topic, project, department, or idea.
  3. Chat – Chats are threaded conversations and provide a mechanism for sharing files and notes. You can chat one on one with anyone in your organization or chat within your teams.
  4. Online meetings – You can easily set up online meetings within your team and use built-in video and screen sharing to bring everyone closer together.
  5. Shared content – Organize the team’s files, notes, apps, and websites in one place and get the best out of Office 365 and other services with custom tabs, connectors, and bots.

Advanced Features

You might think Teams is just another Office app for communication and collaboration like OneNote, Yammer, Newsfeed, Calendar, and Tasks that you never fully utilize. The key difference is that Teams integrates and connects Microsoft and external apps into a superior user experience. Here’s a sniff of the advanced features that Teams provides:

Tabs – Add a custom tab to your teams and channels to provide quick access to favorite apps and files.

Connectors – Connect to a wide range of Microsoft and other services to keep your group updated with additional content.

Bots – include bots in your 1:1 and team conversations to automate tasks.

Conclusion

Start using Microsoft Teams for free, if it is included in your Office 365 subscription plan. If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription plan, this might be the right time to get one. Start by reading my previous article “What Office 365 Plan is Right for my Business?”.

I love to hear your feedback on this article and look forward to help you get started with Microsoft Teams. Just leave your comment and I will get in touch.

About Author:

Willy Simons came to Kenya from The Netherlands in 1994. He is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Oakar Services, Esri Eastern Africa and Spatiality. He blogs about business, geospatial technology and cloud computing.