What is Microsoft Teams?
According to Microsoft, Teams is ‘a cloud-based team collaboration software’. This means that the application can be used across devices, if you have access to the internet (phones, tablets and traditional computers). As part of the suite of applications that make up Office 365, Teams combines business, messaging, calling, video calling and file sharing into a single platform. This offers any group of people a central hub to join forces and work together. To benefit from Teams, all you need is a relevant Office License.
The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps one of the biggest indicators to the uses of Teams in modern society. Over the last year and a half, we’ve had to all make sacrifices and learn new ways of living. For many, Teams has played a key part in this. In fact, as of June 2021, up to 1000 users can join a Teams meeting and make use of the typical meeting controls.
Teams is an expansive application with features that integrate with other Microsoft products for ultimate convenience. There are many ways for users to connect with each other and collaborate in designated areas.
From the navigation bar, located to the left of the screen, you can access the different areas of Teams. From here, you are able to access your Activity, Chat, Teams, Calendar, Calls, and Files. As Teams can be integrated with other products (such as Microsoft Planner / Microsoft Voice), the different areas help to organise work.
The Activity tab combines updates from your team and any deadlines for tasks that you have scheduled for yourself in Planner. Instead of spending time searching the system for the right information, I’m able to receive all my updates in one place. And, because Teams is integrated with Outlook, I also receive email notifications so that I never miss a deadline.
One of the best things about Teams is that there are multiple areas for users to communicate. Collaborative thinking and ideas are transferred with ease through the designated chat areas – which keeps the conversation on-topic.
To make things as straight-forward as possible, there is a single, central hub for chats in the navigation bar. From here, I’m able to see all the conversations that I am a part of. Instead of searching for the chat I need to reply to in the different pages, I am able to find what I need in seconds.
Important or regularly used chats can be pinned so that they remain at the top of the screen and group chats can be named so that they make relevant sense. This way, things can be kept organised for efficiency.
I am able to access the different teams that I am part of from the navigation bar. Multiple channels can be added to a Team to keep subsections of work separate (replacing the need for SharePoint sites). Administrators can also restrict access to certain channels, so people are only able to see what is relevant to their role.
When you click into a team, you will be able to see the different areas for Posts, Files, and Wiki. To organise your topics more, you can create and add your own topics to this.
Everyone who has access to the area will be able to see and collaborate on a topic. In ‘Posts’, people can update colleagues on what they’ve been up to in a less formal manner, whilst users have the option to comment or react. All in the Team will be able to share and view documents in ‘Files’. This creates the opportunity for all users to interact with important documents and access all the information that they need. More importantly the member of your team could be external, thus giving you a new way to collaborate with customers and suppliers.
Microsoft’s cloud-based Business Voice software allows users to call from anywhere using the Microsoft Teams app. At D365 Life Without Code, we use MS Voice for all our company calls. Because Voice works as an add-on to Teams, we have the ability to take calls on either our computers or mobile devices and can transfer calls between members of the team.
One of the best things about Voice is the ability to choose whether devices to ring at the same time or staggered intervals. This was particularly useful whilst we all worked from home, as everything with Microsoft Voice can be set up remotely.
The ‘Files’ tab combines all of the documents that have been shared by members of the Teams I am in. This offers me a place to find all relevant information, even when I can’t remember where the document originated from. From here, I can also synchronize them to a local folder on my computer (we suggest One Drive) which allows me access when I can’t get into Teams.
How could Microsoft Teams benefit you?
By assigning areas of the software to certain features, Teams becomes an easy-to-use solution for organisations of all kinds. You’re able to utilise the benefits of Teams regardless of location with the mobile / tablet application. I am able to carry out work anywhere that I have an internet connection.
Given the unpredictability after the impact COVID has had on workplaces, this offers our organisation a sense of comfort.
How to benefit
To benefit from Microsoft Teams, all you need is an applicable Office License. Why not schedule a free license review chat with us and see how you could save?