Businesses are finding that modern collaboration tools are becoming some of the most valuable workplace solutions available today. Features such as conversation indexing, file sharing, voice capabilities, and more, save users time and increase productivity for teams. Last year, Microsoft launched its own team collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams, which has quickly become the best solution on the market for a multitude of reasons. While there are other collaboration solutions out there, there are sound reasons to choose Microsoft Teams over the competition.
Advantages of Teams: Leading Enterprise Communication
When searching for the best collaboration solution to connect your various departments, it’s likely you’ve encountered more than a few popular messaging systems. On the surface, they may all seem about the same— you can break different departments or groups into channels, share files, tag other users, send direct messages, and generally communicate much quicker than with emails— but the similarities are largely superficial. Microsoft Teams offers substantially more advantages than the competition with respect to enterprise collaboration:
- Seamless integration with Office 365 – Teams’ integration with Office 365 ensures a seamless experience across the Office cloud. Teams acts as a hassle-free hub for users with Outlook and Office functionality fully accessible within Teams.
- Enterprise level security – Microsoft is constantly making strides to improve security without sacrificing performance. Microsoft Teams is built on the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, delivering advanced security and compliance capabilities. Teams also enforces team-wide and organization-wide two-factor authentication, single sign-on through Active Directory, and encryption of data in transit and at rest, helping to alleviate concerns of interception or man-in-the-middle attacks.
- Cost effective collaboration – Services like Slack offer free tiers for a small number of users with limited storage, but pricing goes up for enterprise use and when appending premium options. If you already have an Office 365 subscription (Small Business, Enterprise, Education, or Developer plan) then you have access to Teams which saves a considerable sum of money compared to the fees you would be paying for competitor solutions. Since Teams is sold as part of a package, it offers great value because of its integration with powerful Office apps like Word and Excel. The free version of Teams includes support for up to 300 people, with unlimited chat messages and search. It also includes built-in audio and video calling for groups, 10GB of team file storage, 2GB of personal storage for each member, and unlimited app integrations. In comparison, Slack’s free version is limited to 10,000 searchable messages, 10 app integrations, 5GB of file storage, and only 1:1 video chats.
Microsoft Teams Gets a Revamp
Recently, Microsoft announced that Teams is at feature parity with Skype for Business. This milestone created a massive value-add by integrating advanced calling and meeting features that make auxiliary tools unnecessary as they’re now a part of the core platform. Like Skype, Teams can now serve as a business phone solution with tools like intelligent call routing, auto attendants, call queues, and other advanced calling features.
Many large companies, especially the geographically disparate, have been using tools such as those offered by GoToMeeting and other well-established competitors to conduct large conferences or for training purposes. With the ability to handle up to 250 participants, record sessions, share the screen among various presenters, and more, it’s no longer necessary to hold a license with another provider when using Microsoft Teams.
Other recently announced features include proximity meeting room detection, inline message translation, facial recognition, and the ability to blur backgrounds during video calls.
Using Teams to Promote Team Collaboration
Teams goes beyond just facilitating communication– it also helps to create a culture that revolves around collaboration. In addition to being a complete chat and online meeting solution, Teams makes teamwork easy by giving users the ability to coauthor and share files with popular Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Power BI. In addition, organizations can also invite external users to collaborate on documents and to join meetings and chats. Teams also empowers first-line workers and aids them in solving problems faster.
Microsoft Teams is a great solution in the realm of project management tools as it supplements users with productivity enhancing benefits without the need for a separate, full-blown PM solution. Thanks to core functions and the ability to integrate other apps that customize the platform, groups can easily collaborate and stay on track with projects.
The Outlook integration, with its calendar capabilities, proves to be an effective setup, allowing groups the perfect amount of visibility to consistently meet deadlines on their assigned projects. In other cases, integrating a workflow app can help users that have multiple projects in various stages by bringing everything into focus, making it easy to view and stage tasks.
Depending on your organization’s needs, the Flow integration might be an ideal plugin as it works with Teams so you can create and manage flows, review your received and sent approvals, and launch flows with the Flow Bot. Another popular plugin is the Wrike app which can painlessly turn conversation into a structured workflow, complete with tasks to keep users on track. All in all, there are plenty of options to tailor Microsoft Teams to your specific needs.
Intelligent Communications: Teams to Replace Skype
Last year, Microsoft announced its intention to replace Skype for Business with Teams because the company felt business users will be better served by the comprehensive solution that is Teams. Microsoft has developed a comprehensive roadmap for bringing Skype for Business’ features and functionality into Teams and is now encouraging all Office 365 customers to start using Teams independently or side-by-side with Skype for Business. Forward-thinking businesses have already started to make the switch— after less than two years on the market, Teams is being used by 329,000 organizations worldwide. In addition, 87 of the Fortune 100 companies are using Teams, quickly establishing it as a leading Slack competitor.