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What Is Microsoft Teams?

The business world is constantly talking about which new hottest collaboration is the best. There are certainly a lot of options to choose from and it can be daunting. One solution stands out from the crowd and, that’s Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is included in your Microsoft 365 subscription. Let’s have a look into everything that you need to know about this fantastic piece of software for your business, freelancers and just about anyone who works in a professional setting.

What are the Microsoft Teams features?

Microsoft Teams is an instant messaging collaboration platform which comes added features such as document sharing, online meetings, video calling and a lot more useful features for your business’s communications.

Having an excellent team space is key to being able to make decisions and communicate with other members of the team. Shared workspaces make this a lot easier to conquer, especially if that team is situated in a large company, work remotely, or is made up of a large amount of team members. Microsoft Teams has features that help to make is stand out from other software, these features are:

  • Teams and channels. Teams are made up for channels which are dedicated conversations between teammates.
  • Conversations within channels and teams. All the team members can view different conversations in the main General channel. There is a function where team members can use a @ symbol to tag other members to the conversations.
  • A Chat function. Basic chat functions are commonly part of most collaboration software, with Microsoft Teams the chat function is just the beginning.
  • Document storage and SharePoint. Every team that is created within Microsoft Teams will have a dedicated site on the companies SharePoint. This site contains a default document folder which any files shared in them conversations will be automatically saved to this folder. The admin can set permissions and security options for sensitive documents.
  • Online video calling and screen sharing. Microsoft Teams includes the option for seamless and fast video calls to employees within your business. It can also be setup so you can use Microsoft Teams as your businesses telephone system complete with IVR and voicemail. This is becoming more and more popular now due to the Corona Virus pandemic and is slowly catching up with the well-known Zoom platform. It has the option of simple and fast desktop sharing which can used to collaborate with colleagues and provide technical assistance.
  • Online meetings. Online meetings now count for over 80% of business meetings and this can help to enhance your communications company-wide. It can host up to 10,000 users complete with chat function, whiteboard feature, file sharing and recordings, this makes it the ideal platform for user training.
  • Audio conferencing. This is a very good feature that you won’t find in many collaboration platforms. Anyone can join an online meeting via a phone with audio conferencing. A dial in number can span across hundreds of counties and even users that don’t have internet can dial in. This feature is an addon and requires an additional licence.
  • Business Telephony. As mentioned previously Microsoft Teams can be configured to run your businesses telephone system. It works just like a traditional VoIP System completed with a fully functional IVR system and Voicemail system. This is an additional feature and may require additional licensing.

Simply put, Microsoft Teams is extremely similar to another well-known collaboration software called Slack, but with a lot more functionality and features. Microsoft Teams is included for free as part of the Microsoft 365 subscription.

 Why Should Your Business Use Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft have made some big changes over the last 10 years, Microsoft Teams being one of them. It was created and designed with businesses in mind, it’s very user friendly and can help facilitate a work environment between remote users or within a large company. It can be used for all aspects including projects, production, R&D and other business elements.

For businesses that already use Skype for Business should switch to it’s replacement prior to 21st July 2021. Microsoft announced in July 2019 that Skype for Business’s End of Life will be on 21st July 2021. If you would like help with moving over to Microsoft Teams, then please contact us today.

Using Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is very straightforward and user-friendly. There is minimal setup required for the basic use. That being said, some though is recommended to be put into how your business wants to use it before pushing it out company wide.

There are two main options to consider and these are:

  • The Out of The Box Approach. Your business can decide whether to immediately implement Microsoft Teams company wide with the out of the box settings. This allows any member of staff to do what they want with the platform and allow the usage of the Microsoft Teams platform to grown at its own pace.
  • The Managed Approach. This managed approach generally involves setting up Microsoft Teams for specific parts of the business. It also allows your IT Department or your IT Support Partner to control the settings and decide who is able to use it and restrict some usage within it, this would then result in a phased rollout plan throughout the business.

You don’t have to choose just one of the above, you could choose to do something which involves both of these approaches. It all depends on what you want to achieve for your business and use cases. Teams can be controlled and configured directly from the Microsoft 365 Teams Admin Portal.

The learning curve for Microsoft Teams is very small compared to other complicated collaboration tools. Bespoke training can be provided if needed for your IT department or end users. On top of this there are fantastic online training materials available directly from Microsoft, these are present as a series of very short videos on how to complete different tasks and use the different functions offered. You can view the training videos by visiting their website.

Microsoft Teams is so easy and simple to share documents to multiple or all employees, custom training material and business guidelines can be made available within the platform ready for new users or current employees to access.

Teams is a very powerful and useful tool that is becoming more popular day by day. Microsoft Teams is included in a Microsoft 365 subscription for free. Any business that uses Microsoft for their emails can benefit from Microsoft Teams and all it’s functionality and features. We love Microsoft Teams so much; we’ve also put a video together to give you visual overview.

ORB Tech Solutions are part of the Microsoft Partner Network and specialise in helping small and medium businesses with Microsoft’s cloud technology. If you’d like to discuss your Microsoft Teams requirement then please get in touch with one of our experts