Last week Microsoft unveiled the newest addition to their portfolio of business tools: Microsoft Teams, a chat-based workspace that lives right in your Office 365 portal.
Office 365 already unifies important tools like the Office productivity suite, email and calendar — and thanks to Dynamics 365, even ERP & CRM applications. Now with this new chat-based workspace, Microsoft wants to make it even easier for your teams to communicate, collaborate with one another and work more productively.
Who is Microsoft Teams for?
Microsoft Teams is the ideal chat solution for businesses that already live in the Microsoft ecosystem, using the Office 365 suite or using the Dynamics NAV/CRM systems.
While independent tools like Slack offer a rich feature set for document sharing, chat and other integrations with 3rd party tools, Microsoft Teams has the unique advantage of being part of an ecosystem. All the tools you need to be productive in one place, whenever and wherever you need them.
What makes Microsoft Teams so special?
According to Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, “Microsoft Teams delivers on four core promises to create a digital workspace for high performing teams” — including chat, a hub for teamwork, customisation for each team and security you can trust.
Chat is of course at the core of Microsoft Teams, and it includes all of the features you’d expect like private one-to-one and group chats (public & private). Being integrated with Skype, you can even launch video/audio conferences from within Microsoft Teams. If you like having fun communicating with GIFs, stickers and emojis, you’ll be glad to know Microsoft has built in that functionality too.
Hubs for teamwork
Its integration with Office 365 enables you to quickly access applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve from within Microsoft Teams. And if you need to make quick edits to a particular document, you can even work on it right from within the app to save you going back-and-forth.
A workspace that’s tailored for your team
To maximise productivity, Microsoft allows you to customise each team’s workspace with the documents, data and applications they use the most. So whether Accounts need a particular report, or Marketing needs a presentation or tool immediately accessible to them, each department can have their own optimised workspace. You can even connect with 3rd party services like Twitter ad GitHub for notifications and updates right in your workspace. It’s a really exciting benefit of using Microsoft Teams.
Your business data, secured
Lastly, Microsoft is placing emphasis on security. Microsoft Teams encrypts your data and Koenigsbauer goes on to promise that “Microsoft Teams will support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more.” It will also be served out of Microsoft’s global network of data centers, “automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service”.
Microsoft Teams will be rolled out publicly in the first quarter of 2017, and will be available on the following plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5. Microsoft Teams will also be available to customers who purchased E4 prior to its retirement.
We’re very excited about Microsoft Teams and the way it’s going to transform the way we work with our colleagues. It’s yet another step towards bringing all of our business data and applications into a single portal for an easier, faster and more efficient way of working.
What do you make of it; will you be using Microsoft Teams?