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