Microsoft Teams is first and foremost a collaboration tool that uses chat as the means of communication. It haven’t got many teams only features, but combines the power of Microsoft 365 Apps to give you most of the features you need to get your job done.
This is the successor to Skype for Business, ending July 31st, 2021. It’s a cloud based tool with an app you can install on Windows, Mac and Linux, in addition to mobiles devices with Android or Apples iOS. In addition you can access Teams through popular web browsers.
Chat and collaborate with colleagues and external partners
There are two main functions we need to know about; chat and team. These functions are found in the App-menu located on the left-side on pc and bottom on mobile.
There are some confusion on when to use which, so we have an article about Teams, channels and chat – When do I use what?
Chat, a dialogue with text, voice and video
Chat is used in business similar to how Facebook Messenger, SMS, What’s App and similar tools are used privately. It’s a way of sending direct messages to other people internally and (if your company haven’t blocked it) externally. It’s rich text formatted and you can send images, animations and links. In addition you can call other Teams-users and even have a videocall with screenshare and more.
Chat with guest or external, what is the difference?
When sending to someone outside your organization there might be two options. Name (Guest) and Name (External), the difference here is where the information is delivered, and thus stored.
When you send a message to an external, the message is delivered to their tenant. This means that the message is also stored outside your organization. This is in my opinion the recommended way of communicating.
When you want to send the information that “can’t leave your organization” or the user can’t receive direct messages you can send to guest. The message is delivered in your tenant, and the user have to switch organization to read the it.
Team, a digital space for collaboration
If chat is like FB Messenger, then Team is similar to Facebook Groups. It’s a collective space for discussion, but with more features, bells and whistles.
A team is a collaboration space for a groups of people, and when you create a team you also get a Microsoft 365 Group, with all the benefits it gives. This is a place to work with colleagues, external people and work with your department, project group or any other collection of people.
Apps from Microsoft and other service providers
Teams connects to other tools in Microsoft 365, your files are stored in SharePoint, notes in OneNote and planning is done in Planner. You get internal webpages for the groups and can connect to apps from Microsoft and 3rd parties.
Do you prefer Trello or Asana instead of Planner? No problem. Need to connect to SalesForce or other CRM, it might just exist a connection already. Just click Apps in the bottom left menu of Microsoft Teams to search through services that is supported.
Microsoft Teams extended features
Although chat is the core feature of Microsoft Teams, you got a few other cool tools that can be useful. Check out Shifts for work schedules, walkie talkie-functionality or add a calling plan to use teams as a telephone.
Shifts, plan work schedules
Shifts helps you plan the work schedule for your team. Everyone can see when they work, and it’s possible to add open shifts to choose from or easily swap shifts if needed.
Walkie-talkie, as a function
This feature need to be added from Teams Admin Center, but works like a traditional walkie-talkie, but have the improved sound that teams offer and advanced noise cancelling.
Yes, you can connect a telephone number to Teams. Microsoft have calling plans, but third party providers offers phone services to your organisation.
For me it’s an essential tool, I even created a whole webpage to share my knowledge and experience. Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams is fit for any organisation, it’s a great way of working smarter and collaborate better.
If you have Microsoft 365, then start working in Teams ASAP, it’s already included!