Microsoft Teams started off by being a chat-based workspace in Office 365 that helps bring people, conversations and content together. Released just over a year ago, in March 2017, Teams has quickly established itself as one of the most popular business collaboration tools, already used by 200,000 organisations across 181 markets.
Teams enables individuals to join communities and groups via a URL or invitation sent by the team administrator. Within a team, members can create conversation channels to communicate instantly with a group, or privately with a specific user, without the need for email or SMS. Users may post text, images, documents or video content. Teams also supports phone calls and video conferencing over VoIP and PSTN.
The platform integrates closely with Office 365 and is built upon the Groups Framework. When you create a team, the system automatically creates an Office 365 Group with Office Online, SharePoint Team Site, Planner, OneNote and Skype for Business.
A navigation bar on the left-hand side of Teams displays tabs for Activity, Chat, Teams, Messages and Files, where users can browse between each of these applications using the tabs. There’s also the option of directly opening other Office 365 apps from there, such as OneNote, Planner and Stream, to name a few. For example, you could create a tab for a particular MS Word business proposal and then conduct conversations with others within that tab while working together to co-edit the document directly through your browser.
The activity dashboard shows a Yammer or Facebook-style feed of activities occurring across your organisation, with events highlighted in red if your name is mentioned directly. The Chat tab displays direct messages with colleagues, similar to messages on Skype.
The Teams section allows you to have a range of tabs depending on the purpose of the team. For example, if creating a team to work on a specific project, the user might create a conversations tab, a Planner tab, a OneNote tab, an Outlook calendar and so on. Every Teams section comes with a Files tab, which is synced to SharePoint and OneDrive, and with a conversations tab, where you and communicate with everyone in the team and tag users in specific messages as you go.
Teams can be used internally or externally. At Bremmar, we use it for both purposes. For example, our Sales and Marketing departments have a joint Teams section, where they collaborate on projects and communications. At the same time, our Marketing department collaborates with our external Marketing agency through a team specifically built for that purpose. There are no emails exchanged, all files, communications and work in progress is done through MS Teams.
Teams competes directly with Slack, another popular cloud-based collaboration suite. Teams looks and feels similar to Slack, but includes additional features and functionality. Slack is widely adopted in companies that aren’t closely tied to Microsoft, but for organisations that have already deployed Office 365 it makes more sense to use Teams due to the tight integration.
Administration, Security and Compliance
Microsoft Teams complies with ISO 27001 ISO 27018, SSAE16 SOC 1 and SOC 2, HIPAA, EUMC and CSA regulations. Messages and files are encrypted at rest and in transit, and Teams also allows two-factor authentication. Additionally, Teams offers robust administrator control in conjunction with the Office 365 Admin Center. Administrators have the ability to:
- Enable or disable Microsoft Teams for the organisation
- Enable or disable video and screen sharing
- Enable or disable support for tabs from Microsoft partners
- Determine how user profiles are configured and displayed
- Choose which content to allow (text, images, memes, stickers)
- Plus lots more
Microsoft continues to develop the Teams platform, with new features being released on a regular basis. One upcoming feature is cloud recording, which will enable one-click recording of meetings with automatic transcription and facial recognition, allowing users to search for text, or for individuals participating in the meeting, and then jump directly to that section. Other interesting future features include inline language translation (for team members who speak different languages), and background blur on video (to place the focus on participants rather than distracting background activity).
Teams provides a streamlined, user-friendly environment for groups to collaborate and share ideas under one platform. It includes a wide range of productivity-enhancing tools that allow your employees to perform their role more effectively, from any device, whether they’re at home or in the office.
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To learn more about how Microsoft Teams can benefit your business, call Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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