Microsoft Teams is a group messaging application organised around chatrooms. It is an integrated part of Office 365 and is available with all Office 365 Business Essentials, Business Premium, Enterprise E1, E3 and E5 subscriptions. One of the benefits of Office 365 integrated features is that there is no additional account sign up, no additional credentials to keep track of and no onboarding processes. As soon as you sign in to Office 365 you have access to Teams and it knows who's in your organisation and understands existing groups.
There are four main feature areas of Teams which are chat, a hub for teamwork, customisation and security.
Chat is one of the tabs on the left hand side of the Teams window. There you can search for colleagues by name and start a new chat session. Microsoft is of course aware that many businesses already have chat via Skype for Business. Teams will recognise that a colleague you want to chat with is already on Skype for Business and give you the chance to send an email invitation to that colleague to start using Teams.
One of the intetesting features of chat is additing communication with bots. There is a built in bot called T-Bot which tries to answer any questions you have about using the app. There are many more bots that can be added in from the 'Discover Bots' link. For example, the Polly bot helps you send a poll to your colleagues.
One to one chat is great for communicating with colleagues that are not physically near you, but the real power of Microsoft Teams is revealed, appropriately, when clicking the Teams tab.
A Hub for Teams
The Teams tab gives all team members access to all the content, tools, people and conversations from the one place. Office documents such as Excel spreadsheets, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations can be viewed or worked on using the web versions of the application. There is built in access to SharePoint, OneNote and Skype for Business.
Different teams can be created for different topics, and users are allowed to create new teams themselves. Users can create both public and private teams, with private teams restricting chat to members of the team. Each team starts with one channel (chat room) but users can add more to focus on different subjects. All channels are open to members of the team. In addition to chatting with text the channels have file sharing, emoji, gif and sticker options built in. Colleagues can be flagged using the familiar "@" symbol.
Moving to the Meetings tab allows users to hold or schedule meetings. Meeting can optionally be voice and video. The Office 365 integration extends to Exchange Online so your Office 365/Outlook calendar will show details of upcoming meeting.
The Files tab provides easy access to publicly shared documents that are being actively worked on. It also shows your own files in OneDrive.
Microsoft Teams can be customised so that each team has easy access to the documents and tools that they need. Microsoft have made an API (Application Programming Interface) available for Teams so that third party applications can communicate with the app. It is simple to add other Office 365 apps to the Teams workspace to improve workflows. For example, a Team could be set up for a project that involves multiple locations of the organization. Office 365 Planner can be added as a tab to the Teams workplace so that project tasks can be viewed and updated without leaving the Teams app.
If you have an idea for customizing your Teams workplace but don't know how to go about it please give us a call.
Microsoft Teams Security
The content in Microsoft Teams will contain valuable and possibly sensitive data. Teams provides the same enterprise security and compliance features as the rest of Office 365. This includes eDiscovery and legal hold for channels, chats and files for Enterprise E3 and E5 subscriptions.
For the full details of the security provided by Office 365 visit the Office 365 Trust Center at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trustcenter/cloudservices/office365.