How many times do you get involved in a long email thread with a group of coworkers? Are your team communications difficult to document and scattered across multiple programs? How can your workgroup more easily collaborate, chat, and share important files and resources? Their solution is Microsoft Teams. Teams is a cloud-based collaboration tool that is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of applications. The core capabilities of Microsoft Teams include:
Creation and management of working groups.
Communicate via chat/instant messaging
Connection with audio calls
Impromptu launch or scheduled video meetings
Share files and links
Documentation of work and resources.
Simplify access to other Office applications
With Teams, workgroups within an organization can collaborate on content across different devices (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) and across multiple platforms, including Windows and Mac. Plus, with Microsoft Teams, a team can also invite External partners, such as vendors, service providers, and consultants, to participate in collaboration and conversations, as well as share resources. This is a huge advantage for productivity and project management.
Better than Slack and Google Hangouts
At its core, Teams is a chat-based workspace featuring group and private/instant messaging, with threaded and persistent conversations. While Teams competes with similar products like Slack and Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams is more robust, included with Office 365, and connected to other Office 365 apps like Excel, Word, OneNote, Planner, and SharePoint. This integration with other Microsoft Office programs creates a smoother, more fluid portal and experience.
Note: If your organization currently uses Skype for Business for instant messaging, you’ll likely see a switch to Teams, as Skype for Business has an expiration (end-of-life) date in 2020.
Customize with channels
Teams are made up of channels that can be organized by topic, project, or department. Channels are quite flexible as they store meeting history, chat, file/shares, and other communications that are easily searchable. Plus, each channel can be customized with tabs for apps like SharePoint, Planner, OneNote, as well as files and other sharing. Planner is an easy-to-use Office 365 app for creating to-dos or action items for members of a workgroup and then tracking the progress of each action for a project or team.
Communicating with a specific channel member or even the entire team is also easy with @ mentions. Fortunately, the Activity tab in Teams makes it easy to catch up on all your unread messages, @mentions, replies, and more. Like other messaging services, Teams communications can also include emojis and GIFs, an essential part of any business communication. .
Video and voice meetings
Within a team-based message thread, you can easily schedule voice and video meetings or start a quick impromptu meeting with little effort. Teams meetings can even be scheduled from Microsoft Outlook. Regardless of the method used to schedule meetings, they are synced with Outlook to keep you up to date. Video meetings can be started with specific contacts or within a channel, and it’s easy to create a meeting recording. Microsoft Teams includes a cool artificial intelligence (AI) feature called background blur. With such a mobile and remote workforce, this tool allows you to remove a cluttered or unprofessional background from a call while still engaging with each participant on the call.
Microsoft Teams Resources
To save time working with Microsoft Teams, get a Teams Keyboard Shortcuts brochure at http://thesoftwarepro.com/teams.