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Microsoft Teams

Date: Mar 31 2021
Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the hub for team collaboration in Office 365. It comprises a web-based desktop app alongside a mobile app to allow users to interact with Teams in a consistent way across all their devices. 

Teams is generally enabled at the organisation level, allowing all employees or a subset of employees access to Teams functionality. It integrates tightly with Office applications and also with Office 365 cloud services. 

Teams is in active development and sees regular feature updates. 

Chat and meetings 

Teams has chat and presence functionality. This means a user can chat via instant messaging to one or more colleagues. Files can be shared in chats. 

Teams also shows presence. A user can show that they are available, away from their desk, busy or in a meeting. This visibility of colleagues in a real time way becomes very useful when working across different locations but equally in the office. The integration with Office is aptly demonstrated here because Teams synchronises calendar data with Outlook, reducing maintenance of 2 calendars. 

Pretty much everyone is with familiar with online meetings by now! Teams offers an audio or video meeting space for between 2 to 1000 participants. Screen sharing, meeting recording features and gestures, as well as custom backgrounds are available. There are options to mute users or even remove them from a meeting, and a virtual lobby facility is available if required. Participants in meetings can use the Teams client or join via a browser using the web interface. 

Calling 

Where Teams really starts coming into its own is when it takes the power of mobility and internal collaboration with colleagues, and folds in voice calling to that offering. Any business can migrate their voice services to Teams and retain their existing numbers. There are generous allowances in the default calling bundles to cover your domestic calling requirements, and of course internal calls between employees are not charged. 

Because Teams works natively and seamlessly across desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices, it offers unparalleled opportunities to allow employees to communicate from any location and device using their office number. To make and receive calls, users can have a phone handset on their desk that’s configured for the service, use their mobile device to make and receive calls, or use a headset plugged into their desktop or laptop device. 

All the expected phone system options of call queues, auto attendants, delegation and voicemail are all available with Teams calling. 

With the Teams app on desktop or laptop, dialling a number calling by clicking a link on a webpage or email signature is a huge benefitCompeting phone and hardware solutions are left in the dust when a call can develop frosimple 2 way voice conversation and can be parked and then picked up on a mobile deviceAdditional voice and video callers can be added, and any participant can share their screen. 

All of these features are tried and tested, and are backed by the Microsoft cloud across 42 worldwide data centres!  

Collaboration 

We outlined in the first section how Teams is a useful and versatile chat and file sharing tool, but that is really just scratching the surface. The addition of collaboration features to the instant messaging functionality offers next generation collaboration capabilities. 

Using Teams and channels, discussions can take place between all or selected employees, and in these channels users can work collaboratively on Office 365 documentsUsing Teams in this way cuts down internal emails and allows employees to focus on collaboration with their teammates and the projects they are working on. As well as built in wiki functionality within Teams, there are also hundreds of add-ins available to make teamwork easier, adding functionality to create everything from surveys and polls to ordering Starbucks! 

Internal collaboration saves time and improves communication between employees. Teams allows you to take your organisation to the next level with external collaboration. Business relationships with your key accounts and regular suppliers that currently work through emailed spreadsheets can btransformed with instant realtime visibilityand a team meeting or a voice call with your external collaborator is just a click away without leaving Teams. This functionality for external participants is available without charge. 

Conclusion 

Albacore can design, deploy and support your Teams solution. If your requirements are easy or complex, and involve chat, calling, and collaboration, or even if you are just fed up with your expensive and inflexible phone system and you aren’t keen on carrying a tablet around to make video calls with your colleagues (that the kids will just use for games and drop on the floor anyway), contact us today for a free no obligation consultation.