What is Microsoft Teams?

The truth is, a thing came along called Slack and changed the way people worked forever. Microsoft thought about buying Slack back in 2016 but Bill talked them out of it, and they built their own version, fortunately they did a good job.


So, here I am talking about it and a bit confused as to why everyone who has it included in their Office 365 subscription isn't using it, because it’s pretty awesome. It's Microsoft's fastest-growing business app ever and over 500,000 organisations use it (including 91 of the Fortune 100 and 72 of the FTSE 100).


What Microsoft say it is:

"Microsoft Teams is a hub for teamwork, it's an app that helps you pull together a team and work together using chat instead of email and channels instead of just file folders" - Blah blah blah


What Wikipedia say's it is: 

"Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration" - Boring!


What I say:

"It's WhatsApp (on steroids) for business and will rock your world!" - Trust me I'm a geek (Cat GIF's at work anyone?)


How to get it

You can download it on your phone or PC as it's included with all Office 365 subscriptions except one (brownie points for anyone who guesses which one in the comments section) or there is a free version that the IT guy/gal won’t particularly like because they can’t control what's going on.


How to really get it

Sometimes if you wait to innovate you get left behind, so ask your IT person to let you and a couple of other go-getters in your organisation test it out, then show them all the cool stuff you did. This approach is called bottom-up adoption and it's a thing now (however IT might call it Shadow IT). If you make a good go of it, you will help change your organisation for the better. NB - It's turned on by default, but IT may have turned it off.


I should just be blunt and say ‘get with the times and implement a chat/communication/collaboration tool in your business or the millennials won’t come’ but I won’t. Instead, I'll list 11 reasons that may convince you to give it a go:


1.       Persistent Chat

Similar to WhatsApp and unlike Skype - first and foremost it’s a chat tool with 1 to 1 or group chat and emojis and GIF's. Fewer emails is a good thing, sometimes email is not the best way to communicate so it's time to get your team on the same page discussing the right thing, with the right people at the right time. Imagine a life without ‘Reply All’ :-)


2.       Calls

Better than Skype - make voice and video calls online (or phone calls with a bolt on and calling plan). If you wanted, it could replace your phone system.


3.       Meetings

Like Zoom - voice and video conferencing with document collaboration, screen sharing and presenting on whiteboards. You can meet with teams of 10 or 10,000. Host audio, video, and web conferences with anyone inside or outside your organisation or even go big and broadcast with live events.


4.       Fun

Like Messenger - did I mention it has emojis and GIF's? Don't worry IT person, you can turn them off if you want to kill the fun factor. Create social channels (that's what group chats are called) to separate work from socialising with your works colleagues, virtual water cooler moments anyone?


5.       Collaboration

Better than Google Docs - you can already share and work on files in real-time with Office 365 Cloud Apps/OneDrive/SharePoint, however, this just makes things so much easier and it’s all in one place.


6.       Apps

Like iOS and Android - yes apps! There are more than 200 and they're growing fast. For example, link Salesforce and see your activity or Integrate your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.


7.       Wiki

Like an Intranet - build a wiki site and share it amongst the whole organisation or just your team. A great place to store your combined knowledge.


8.       Task management

Like a 'baby' Microsoft Project - this is actually an App integration (mentioned in point 6) but I felt it needed to be listed on its own. Planner is a baby version of MS Project and can be easily integrated into Teams. The whole team can see and manage tasks to help more effectively plan/manage projects or even day to day tasks.


9.       Security

Better than the rest - this is where Teams shines compared to WhatsApp, Slack or text messages. This is why the IT team almost always say yes when you ask to take it for a test drive. They can protect the organisations' data and comply with internal policies by using all the Microsoft tools they are already familiar with.


10.   Work anywhere

Like the 2020's - Ok I'm a couple of months ahead of myself but at least this blog post will be good for a decade. If you want the best team you need the best people and the best people aren't always in the same place as you. Teams allows your team to work from where they want, when they want on any device they want, I hear millennials like this so welcome to the 2020s.


11.   The new Window into Office 365

Like nothing else - if you already have Office 365 then for me, this is a no brainer. The new Microsoft is trying to be as open as possible to other platforms but Teams definitely works best with the rest of Office 365. Teams will become the Window (as techies would say "the single plane of glass") into you work environment. Everything you need in one place with an easy to use interface.


Ok, so that's my take on Microsoft Teams. I think you should give it a go, you never know you might like it or even better you might just help put your organisation on a path to better communication, more effective collaboration and achieving better business outcomes (mic drop).


We’re holding some hands-on workshops soon, get in touch for more info - [email protected]