The following post was written by Ward Blatch, Managing Director of K2E Canada. We appreciate Ward’s contribution and thank him for willingly sharing his knowledge.
Bring your team together with Microsoft Teams, one of the best additions to the Microsoft stack in years. In this post, we will discuss how to use Microsoft’s Teams application to organize workflows, communications, and document sharing for your workgroup, department, or organization. No matter the size of your team, having all your team’s information in one place, with complete integration into your Office applications, can dramatically improve teamwork and performance.
Getting Started with teams
Microsoft Teams is included with Office 365 Business and Enterprise subscriptions and as a limited free service. The inclusion with Office 365 means many organizations from small business to enterprise are ready to get started immediately. For those not using Office 365 you can sign up for a free account at https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/free .
The primary differences between the free and subscription versions are:
- Teams free is limited to 300 members per organization vs. 5,000.
- Teams free has 10GB of shared storage and 2GB/user vs 1TB/user for the paid version.
- The paid version of Teams offers scheduled meetings, meeting recording, additional administrative tools, usage reporting, and configurable user settings and policies.
Microsoft Teams makes a desktop app available for Windows, and mobile apps available for iOS and Android. The desktop app provides additional controls in meetings, including desktop sharing.
Microsoft Teams Communications
Teams provides a threaded and persistent chat conversation available to the team, a group or a private 1:1. To get someone’s attention, Teams allows the use of “@mention” to draw attention to a post and send alert emails to the individual or team.
For those times when a meeting is more productive than chat, Team Meetings allows for people inside and outside of the team to join an online meeting. Team Meetings supports audio, video, whiteboard, desktop app, and file sharing. Anyone with a web browser can join the meeting with a link, which can be provided via email or when scheduling a meeting.
File Sharing and Collaboration
Teams uses SharePoint Online as the backend for file sharing. This provides the security and controls over files required by your organization. Files are available from within the desktop, mobile, and web app. A persistent chat conversation relating to a file in Teams ensures the entire team is aware of what is happening with any file. Also, with the file stored in Teams, co-authoring is available using the desktop, mobile, or online apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
For those using other cloud storage services, Teams can integrate with them. These alternative cloud storage locations include Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and ShareFile.
People Status and Activity
Teams integration with Exchange Online allows for automatic setting of your status with easy to see icons. This allows others on the team to see if you are available for a quick meeting or chat. To make sure you keep current of activity in Teams, the app provides a count indicator of unread updates. Activity can also be viewed by individual.
Extend Teams with Apps
Apps are available to extend teams functionality of Teams. Examples of these apps include Planner, Adobe Creative Cloud, various bots, and Power BI to name but a few.
Keeping everyone on track and up to date is made easier by Teams. A couple of tips to keep in mind when starting out are:
- Create Teams based on security requirements of the information.
- Create Channels in teams to separate topics.
- Individuals outside the organization that you add to a Team will clearly be indicated with “guest” after their name.
Teams is one of the most exciting tools Microsoft has added in years. Under the Teams umbrella, you can collaborate and communicate with other team members quickly and easily, allowing you to get more done in less time. Further, you can easily extend your team by inviting individuals from outside your organization into the environment. And, if you are an Office 365 subscriber, there’s a good chance that you already have access to this amazing tool. But even if you don’t have access to Office 365, you can still sign up for a free account and take advantage of many Teams features. If you’re looking to maximize both individual and workgroup productivity, be sure to check out Teams today.