Microsoft Teams launched earlier this year, into 181 markets in 25 languages, and having been officially announced in November 2016. It was exactly what we needed – a platform to enable us to combine and unite our workplace online.
From meetings and notes to chat and attachments, it came onto the scene as a direct competitor to Slack (a $5 billion start-up that welcomed its new rival Microsoft Teams to the scene with a full-page ad in the New York Times!). The goal of Microsoft Teams is to enable work teams to collaborate much more easily, providing an interface that is similar to an internal intranet, but without the expense, hassle or management fee.
Operating within Office 365's global and secure cloud, Microsoft Teams has helped to bring people together from across the world through agile organisational structures that keep information and communication flowing.
Since launching, Teams has come a long way in terms of its features and the way in which it helps businesses to collaborate. This includes providing the ability for teams to chat with each other in one space, able to see content and chat history from wherever they are, either in a team or private chat. It operates in a similar way to other online messaging platforms, but brings everyone together in one social business space. Team meetings or small group chats can be held in this space, and emails posted to the thread in order to keep teams in a loop or to find public teams to work with on shared projects.
Microsoft has announced that 125,000 organisations are already using Microsoft Teams in some way or other. These include schools, businesses, and other group entities. Given that Office 365 has 100 million members, there is plenty of room for the number of Teams users to continue growing – and as this number grows, so will the number of updates and developments.
Already, in September Microsoft has announced that it will be possible for guests to be given temporary access to a business team space. These guests may include contractors, consultants or freelancers, for example, and who will be able to chat with co-workers in the same way as team members. Guests are, however, able to interact only with the team which invited them, and are unable to see other confidential information held within the chat space.
Microsoft have said that customers can expect enterprise-grade security, as well as compliance assurances. These guest accounts are managed securely through Azure AD B2B Collaboration, and which also uses algorithms and specialist technology to identify suspicious events or anomalies that need to be mitigated. This might include triggering multi-factor authentication and the production of detailed access reports.
And now with Guest Access and Skype for Business becoming part of Teams, it's very exciting times!
The possibilities for Microsoft Teams, for organisations both small and large, are constantly growing - and it is only year one! There is plenty of opportunity for Teams to become a dominant force in the cloud communications space.
Microsoft has already planned on bringing the full capabilities of Planner in Teams, including Office 365 group calendars, creating a compact chat layout and you can find out more about future plans for Teams on the Microsoft Teams UserVoice forum – and of course, we’ll be bringing you regular updates too!