The current COVID-19 pandemic has proven that now, more than ever, strong communication is critical to ensure businesses are able to survive as a remote workforce. The increased social distancing and quarantine requirements from the Australian Government have created unprecedented implications, as a large majority of workforces are now required to work from home where practically possible.
On the 20th March this year, it was reported that Microsoft (MS) Teams users had soared to 44 million more than double the 20 million it reported in November 2019. In the past 7 days alone, Microsoft reported signups were from 12 million of those users.
Microsoft Teams is an excellent option for organisations still searching for a platform to ensure their workers remain connected and productive, no matter where they are working.
Microsoft is making the premium version of its Teams collaboration application available for free as part of a six-month trial offer. On March 10, Microsoft additionally lifted restrictions on user limits in the free Teams version, as well as letting users schedule video calls with co-workers.
So what exactly is MS Teams? And why is it a tool of choice for a remote workforce?
MS Teams is a group collaboration application, where people who work on projects or in teams together can communicate, share and meet online.
A single place for collaboration
MS Teams gives you ONE place where you can contain conversations, documents, meetings and meeting notes, phone calls and conference calls, task/project management and many other features all together.
MS Teams makes it easy to search within subject streams, and multiple Teams within a single organisation can be operated concurrently.
Merges naturally with Microsoft Office and data systems
MS Teams is a natural fit with other communications platforms such as Outlook, SharePoint and OneDrive; Office applications such as Word, Excel and Project, and data systems such as PowerApps, Power BI, Dynamics 365 and Flow.
Keeps your team focused and engaged
If you've ever tried to share a conversation from Outlook with someone looking over your shoulder you'll know how difficult it is to link all the email threads together into a single coherent conversation.
Channels define a specific topic, or focus of activity in MS Teams, showing you the chronological order you need but working from a subject-first mentality rather than the scattered chronological-first mentality of traditional email.
Working together in MS Teams is flexible and fun, allowing for emojis and GIFs, along with other features available through Apps.
Files together, on subject, in one place
Files relating to the subject of the Channel are all together under the one subject, searchable for future use and editable for all with access. With Apps and connectivity with systems such as SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, work groups can put it all together, getting the benefits of MS Teams along with the portability of cloud data storage.
Stay in the loop
Messages posted to a channel in MS Teams can be a regular message to all, but can also be addressed to an individual through the use of the @ symbol. This allows the team to be aware of what's going on (like a carbon copy) but also alerts the tagged person for action.
Private messages can be sent person to person or between a group, where a carbon copy/organisation-wide conversation isn't appropriate. Messages are also easily searchable within a channel.
MS Teams is portable and flexible
MS Teams is not just available to use on a mobile device, it's easy to use while mobile. Traditional applications can be difficult to use on a mobile phone, while MS Teams is designed for mobile devices, providing an experience consistent with both the MS Teams desktop application and the web interface available through your preferred browser.
Our team can help with your Microsoft Teams
Whether your goal is to run a simple installation of Teams or a fully-integrated version connected to your CRM and Unified Communication system with custom dashboards, our Technology Consulting team is available to make your Microsoft Teams implementation and staff training program a success.