16 Apr 2020

A Guide to Microsoft Teams

Overview: What is Microsoft Teams?

Centralising Office 365 collaboration tools in one space, as well as integrating external applications, Microsoft Teams helps to organise teams and gain efficiencies by having relevant content at their fingertips. It was released almost a year ago and is shaking up team-based workspace ideology.

From our experience with implementing intranets and workspaces, two of the key reasons for moving to the Office 365 platform and indeed to Microsoft Teams, are disjointed information and ineffective search tools.

With many companies opting to use the Office 365 platform for these two reasons, it made sense for Microsoft to take the chat collaboration platform to the next level, to bring together the many different apps they have developed to deliver this functionality.

If you’re interested in learning more about Microsoft Teams, as either an end-user or owner of a team, then this article is intended to serve as a useful introduction and to help you become familiar with this exciting new functionality.

Article Contents:

Features: What is Microsoft Teams Used For?

Microsoft Teams is separated into five logical areas, these consist of the following: Activity, Chat, Teams, Meetings and Files.

  1. Activity

    The activity section represents activities happening throughout the Teams that you are a member of. With the ability to click into recent conversations and being able to interact, it is a great way to keep up to date with all happening across your designated teams.

  2. Chat

    The Chat section of Teams represents the conversations you have been apart of, as well as offering Skype for Business integration. You can participate in private chat with individuals, as well as up 9 people in a group chat.

    Included in Chat is the T-Bot, an interactive Microsoft AI bot that is integrated into Microsoft Teams Help. As well as T-Bot, there is also a specific Help tab, along with FAQ and Videos to get your Team up to speed.

  3. Teams

    The Teams tab represents your different allocated workspaces. You have the ability to add your Team to favourites so that you can always keep your most worked on Teams front and centre.

    Each Team has a workspace, as well as the ability to add additional Channels within the Team. Real-life scenarios where this would provide a tangible benefit is when you have a particular Client or Department, that has multiple projects running, and you want the distinction for each with its own document repository, tasks, and conversation threads.

    Within the Teams section, there are several Tabs. These are broken down as follows:
         • Conversations – This is a Team-based chat window which is visible to all Team members
         • Files – SharePoint document library
         • Note – OneNote Notebook for this Team to collaborate in

    Further to the above, a Team member can elect to add the following tabs:
         • Excel/Word/PowerPoint – Adding a tab for a specific Office document will allow it to be collaborated on and be easily accessible by the team
         • OneNote – Add OneNote Notebook
         • Planner – Create a Team Plan that can be used to manage tasks (Planner Tasks can be integrated into Outlook)
         • SharePoint – Link in additional SharePoint Document Libraries directly into the Team, with its own tab
         • Connectors (Channels) – Various Connectors can be linked into your Team Channel conversation screen, so that live updates are available to your team. There is also a level of interaction in certain Connectors, that provide 2-way synchronisation, for example:
                  ○  View Account activity from Dynamics 365 accounts
                  ○ Send and Receive Tweets
                  ○ Manage contacts and send email messages to subscribers via the Mailchimp Connector

  4. Files

    Microsoft Teams centralises the files that are present across your different Teams, as well as giving you access to your OneDrive. The Recent section gives you an overview of documents you have been working on across the different sources.

  5. Meetings

    The meetings section of Microsoft Teams integrate with your Exchange Calendar, as well as differentiating between regular meeting, Skype for Business Meetings, and Microsoft Teams meetings. Team members can schedule as a new Team Meeting directly in the Meetings tab, allowing the meeting to utilise the full benefits of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams integration.

If your staff are used to Skype for Business, then the Microsoft Teams meeting window will feel very familiar.

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Microsoft Teams Integrations

Integrating various Office 365 apps into each Team Workspace area allows you to include relevant content and integrate where necessary. Centralising the different areas of Office 365 that you use to manage your team and day-to-day business will help to increase productivity and reduce potential confusion as to where different pieces of data live.

  • Planner

    In the need for a Team-based task management tool? Look no further than Planner integration. Create a new Plan through the Team add-in menu, and also receive the benefits of having an Office 365 Group created.
  • SharePoint

    The ability to target a SharePoint site allows you to add multiple Document Libraries into your Team Workspace. The selected SharePoint document library becomes available and usable in the tab that is added.

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How To Use Microsoft Teams

To help you learn how to use Microsoft Teams, we’ve put together a Microsoft Teams Resource Page which includes several resources to help you at various stages of your Microsoft Teams training journey.

  1. Microsoft Teams Tips & Tricks

    Learn the Microsoft Teams basics – run meetings smoothly, get familiar with the chat functionality, and learn how to update your personal settings.

    Watch: Microsoft Teams Tips & Tricks  |  Download: Tips & Tricks Cheat Sheet
  2. Microsoft Teams Workspace Fundamentals

    Got the basics down and want to take your collaboration to the next level? From file storage applications and Workspace structures to channel types and permissions and more, learn how to completely utilise the Microsoft Teams platform here.

    Watch: Microsoft Teams Workspace Fundamentals

  3. Microsoft Teams Applications & Group Shared Resources

    Learn how to smoothly integrate your favourite applications with Microsoft Teams.

    Watch: Applications & Group Shared Resources in Microsoft Teams

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Summary

Microsoft Teams will drive efficiencies in your company through Teams-based collaboration and communication, as well as centralising the many tools that make projects a success, sitting neatly between informal methods of communication such as email, Yammer and Slack, and more formal methods of storing content such as SharePoint document storage.

We believe Microsoft Teams helps drive greater end-user adoption, leading to improved collaboration across businesses and better re-use of information.

Not only will this encourage a unified workforce, but it will also help to drive adoption of the Office 365 platform by showcasing the many integrated apps that are now available.

Microsoft Teams is shaking up team-based workspace ideology. Have you adopted it yet? Contact us today get an introduction to Microsoft Teams and discover why you need it.

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Additional Microsoft Teams Resources

We hope you’ve found this Microsoft Teams overview useful. If you’d like to learn more, we have several other Microsoft Teams resources available, including:

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