The business world is always buzzing about which hot new collaboration platform is the best.
There certainly are quite a lot of options to choose from. But one particularly useful solution stands out: Microsoft Teams. And it’s included totally free with Office 365.
Let’s dive into everything you need to know about this great collaboration solution for businesses, freelancers, and just about everyone else who works in a professional team setting.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat-based collaboration platform complete with document sharing, online meetings, and many more extremely useful features for business communications.
Having an excellent team space is key to being able to make creative decisions and communicate with one another. Shared workspace software makes this much easier to achieve, especially if a particular team is based in a very large company, has many remote employees, or is made up of a significant amount of team members.
Microsoft Teams has many core components that make it stand out from other collaboration software:
- Teams and channels. Teams are made up of channels, which are conversation boards between teammates.
- Conversations within channels and teams. All team members can view and add to different conversations in the General channel and can use an @ function to invite other members to different conversations, not unlike Slack.
- A chat function. The basic chat function is commonly found within most collaboration apps and can take place between teams, groups, and individuals.
- Document storage in SharePoint. Every team who uses Microsoft Teams will have a site in SharePoint Online, which will contain a default document library folder. All files shared across all conversations will automatically save to this folder. Permissions and security options can also be customized for sensitive information.
- Online video calling and screen sharing. Enjoy seamless and fast video calls to employees within your business or clients outside your business. A good video call feature is great to have on a collaboration platform. One can also enjoy simple and fast desktop sharing for technical assistance and multi-user real-time collaboration.
- Online meetings. This feature can help enhance your communications, company-wide meetings, and even training with an online meetings function that can host up to 10,000 users. Online meetings can include anyone outside or inside a business. This feature also includes a scheduling aid, a note-taking app, file uploading, and in-meeting chat messaging.
- Audio conferencing. This is a feature you won’t find in many collaboration platforms. With audio conferencing, anyone can join an online meeting via phone. With a dial-in number that spans hundreds of cities, even users that are on the go can participate with no internet required. Note this requires additional licensing.
- Full telephony. That’s right! The days of seeking VoIP vendors and overspending on a phone system are finally over. Microsoft Teams can completely replace your business’ existing phone system. Note this requires additional licensing.
To put it simply, Microsoft Teams is similar in concept to the popular collaboration software Slack with a lot more bells and whistles. Plus, Microsoft Teams is included in Office 365 for free.
Why Should Your Business Use Microsoft Teams?
When it comes down to it, businesses should use Microsoft Teams because it is extremely user-friendly and can facilitate a work environment between remote users or within a large business. Projects, productions, and other business elements can benefit from Microsoft Teams.
For businesses already using Skype for Business, the Teams client will replace the Skype client, but all additional existing functionality will remain the same.
Using Microsoft Teams
Teams is incredibly straightforward and user-friendly. There is little to no set up required. Still, some thought should be put into how a business wants to use the platform before rolling it out across the company.
There are two main options to consider:
- The Organic Approach. A business can choose to immediately implement Microsoft Teams in a “complete free for all” fashion where everyone in the company can do whatever they want with the platform, and the adoption and usage of the Teams platform can grow organically.
- The Controlled Approach. This more managed approach involves mandating Microsoft Teams’ use for specific aspects of the company. It also involves tightly controlling who is able to use it and who can do certain things within it, resulting in a phased rollout plan across the company.
You can choose to do something involving both of these approaches or something somewhere in between. What is right for a particular business depends on its culture and use cases. Teams can be controlled and configured directly from the Teams admin centre.
From the user standpoint, Teams is very intuitive and the learning curve is quite small compared to more complicated collaboration tools.
Teams is a powerful and extremely useful collaboration environment that will only get more popular. Microsoft Teams is included in Office 365 for free, so any Office user can enjoy all the benefits of this collaboration solution. In summary, it brings simplicity to teamwork by collaborating, sharing, communicating and doing it all under one platform.