What is Microsoft Teams?

by | Jun 14, 2018 | IT Support, Small Business IT

What is Microsoft Teams?

Since Microsoft Teams was first released in 2017 it’s been adopted by over 200,000 users globally. With a host of functions and tools, Microsoft Teams aids collaboration and efficiency by acting as a central communications hub, pulling in information from other Office 365 products and resources.

A chat-centred workspace

Microsoft Teams is first and foremost a communication space. You’re able to chat easily to different groups of people (your ‘teams’) regardless of whether they are inside or outside your organisation. You might have a Marketing team for example, a Finance team, or a team with some of your external suppliers. The chat itself is an informal IM style with the availability of emojis, gifs, and stickers. This allows for easy communication to groups of your colleagues.

Easy team and channel creation

Creating and joining teams is easy. You can add both internal and external colleagues to your team with just an email address. You can add people after the conversation has started too with the ability to choose how much conversation history they can see – no history, the previous day, or all time.

In order to keep chat organised, users can create channels. These channels are usually topic based, but you can name them whatever you’d like. A new function in Teams is the ability to mute, hide or leave chats. This means that you can keep all your chats and teams relevant to you. If there’s a channel that you’re especially interested in, you can follow it to receive notifications about that chat.

App integration

Teams integrates with both Microsoft and third-party applications. These apps mean that you can present data to your colleagues, send them documents, and organise meetings etc. directly within the Teams space. Not only can you view data and documents, but you can edit them too. For example, if the team is sent an Excel document, you can open up and edit the document within the Teams workspace allowing for easy and efficient collaboration. Any documents shared within the team are automatically uploaded to SharePoint, so all your documents are stored in one, easy to find location.

A new feature within Teams is an app store. This will enable you to search for and integrate apps into your Teams sites quickly and easily. Microsoft are consistently increasing the number of apps that can integrate, so they’ll be something for everything you need!

Communication Hub

Teams is increasingly becoming a complete communication hub. It now has the functionality of Skype for Business integrated into its workspace, so you can make calls from within Teams to anyone regardless of whether they use Teams themselves. You can also receive calls to any Skype for Business enabled device. In addition to this, you can arrange, carry out, and record team meetings easily. Recordings of meetings are automatically uploaded and stored in Stream for future reference, or for those that missed the meeting for example. The integration of Skype for Business and other apps means that users are starting to carry out their entire work day within Teams.

Teams is available in most Office 365 plans for no extra cost. However, there is currently a 12-month free trial available to users that do not have access to Teams in their plan, and even for customers that don’t use Office 365 at all. If you’re interested in starting a free trial, or would like any more information on Teams, please feel free to give us a call.


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