Introduction to Microsoft Teams

Introduction to Microsoft Teams

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Microsoft Teams. But what is it? How does it work? And why should you care?

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a communication platform that's included with most Office 365 versions and is designed to connect internal staff and external partners to enhance collaboration, providing an alternative to – or even replacing – email communications.

At its most basic level, Teams is a messaging tool that enables text communications between users, whether they are in the same office or work remotely. 

It supports group chat rooms with threaded conversations, as well as private messages between individuals. When necessary, users can jump from instant messaging to a video call at the push of a button.

But Teams is more than a communications tool. It also combines strong content collaboration features, thanks to integration with Microsoft’s software portfolio. OneDrive documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) can be accessed and edited without leaving the app, for example. 

Teams is quickly becoming the central hub for communications and collaboration and will eventually replace Skype for Business with Teams.

How does Teams work?

Microsoft’s long-standing presence in the workplace with its Office suite (and of course, Windows) gives it a solid foundation to grow in the collaboration marketplace. The cloud-hosted software is available via browser, desktop app and mobile app, and will be integrated into Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2 digital whiteboards.

Let’s get started by thinking about how Microsoft Teams allows individual teams to self-organize and collaborate across business scenarios:

Teams are a collection of people, content, and tools surrounding different projects and outcomes within an organization.

  • Teams can be created to be private to only invited users.
  • Teams can also be created to be public and open and anyone within the organization.

A team is designed to bring together a group of people that work closely to get things done. Teams can be dynamic for project-based work (for example, launching a product, creating a digital war room), as well as ongoing, to reflect the internal structure of your organization (for example, departments and office locations). Conversations, files and notes across team channels are only visible to members of the team.

Channels are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects, disciplines—whatever works for your team!

  • Team channels are places where everyone on the team can openly have conversations. Private chats are only visible to those people in the chat.
  • Channels are most valuable when extended with apps that include tabs, connectors, and bots that increase their value to the members of the team.

Examples of Teams

Below are a few functional examples of how different types of users may approach setting up their teams. As you think about how to implement Microsoft Teams in your organization, remember that you can provide guidance on how to structure their teams, however users have control of how they can self-organize. These are just examples to help get teams to start thinking through the possibilities. Microsoft Teams is great at breaking down organizational silos and promoting cross-functional teams, so encourage your users to think about this as functional teams and not organizational silos. 

It is possible to create Teams that align to the organizational structure. This is best used for leaders who want to drive morale, have team specific reviews, clarify employee onboarding processes, discuss workforce plans and increase visibility across a diverse workforce.


Click here to watch a short intro video in Microsoft Teams

Teams is gaining ground quickly, and every company that is using Office 365 should consider leveraging this platform to improve collaboration within and even outside your organization. Launching Teams is easy! Fill out the form below to talk with one of our Teams experts about how you can get started!

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