Last year, Microsoft launched Microsoft Teams—a tool that raised a lot of dust. Teams, part of the Office 365 pack, bring together all the functionalities of other Office 365 tools to create a unique collaboration and communication hub for teams.
It all starts with a team. Create a team and invite people with whom you want to collaborate. In most cases, you will invite people from your product team, department, or organization.
However, some situations require you to partner with people outside your company, like freelancers or consultants. Luckily, you can also add guest users to your team.
Basically, channels are conversations you have with different people from the team. Similarly to Slack, you can form channels around a team, project, or a topic. They are a place where you chat, hold meetings, add files, and collaborate with people.
Tabs help you navigate through your channel content. By default, you have three tabs: Conversations, Files, and Wiki. Their names are straightforward—the Conversations tab stores every chat you have with a person in a channel, while the Files tab stores all the documents you shared with people inside the channel. The Wiki tab is a smart text editor where you can draft, edit, and chat. You can add more custom or built-in tabs, if you want.
1. Integration of all tools in a single place
Microsoft made Teams so convenient. You have a chat tool that also has all the other apps in it. You can make a video or audio call, work on files without leaving a chat, and schedule a meeting or share a task with people from a channel.
2. No additional cost for Office 365 users
Additional cost can be a deal breaker for some companies. The good news is that if your company already has an Office 365 license, the Teams feature won’t cost you a dime. On the other side, standalone chat tools like Slack or Google Hangouts can mean an extra expense for your organization. Moreover, if you don’t need premium functionalities, you can always use a free version of Teams.
3. Useful chat additions
You can add third-party tools into your channels. Using Teams doesn’t mean you need to give up on the other tools you normally use. For example, you can add Trello and cloud storage platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox. See a full list of integration apps you can add to your Teams.
There are also many fun options like emoticons, gifs, and stickers. It may not sound like a big deal, but emoticons can truly lighten up your working day.
4. Seamless files search, backup, and collaboration
Each channel has its own file storage. You know those situations when you have to scroll endlessly to find a specific file? That’s when the File tabs come in handy—you don’t need to scroll through all of the channels.
There’s a pretty good chance you will need to dig up some old document you shared with a team months ago. Microsoft saves your back and backs up your files. Even if you delete a channel, files remained stored in a SharePoint site, so you didn’t lose them.
If you’re currently working on an important document, you can add it into a separate tab to distinguish it from others. As we already mentioned, you can work on a file in real time without leaving a chat.
5. Helpful bots
Bots will help you with the boring, repetitive, everyday tasks and save you some time. You can create your own or use existing ones. Check the list of all available bots.
A bot appears just like any other team member you interact with except that it has a hexagonal avatar icon and is always online.
1. Too many similar tools
The biggest stumbling stone for the Microsoft Teams is, surprisingly, other Microsoft tools. With the plethora of options, people are still very confused about which tool to use in which situation. It’s up to Microsoft to educate their users about their tools.
2. No unified search for all products
Even though Microsoft recommends using Teams for specific team-related conversations, and Yammer for general company announcements, people are still using both platforms interchangeably. Since there’s no unified search tool for all the Office 365 conversations, it may become a bit tricky if you don’t remember where you had a certain chat.
3. Unnecessary consummation of storage
By default, everybody in the organization can create a team. It can result in an unnecessary creation of teams and stuffing up the storage. The good news is you can restrict team-creating permission to a set of users, but doing so requires a bit of handwork. First you need to create a separate security group with the people who you want to create teams, and then run a bit of PowerShell commands.
4. Lack of notifications
Should you try to make a new team with a name that already exists, you won’t get any heads up on it, so you can end up with the two or more identically named teams. Not only does this create confusion, but it also unnecessarily consumes your resources.
However, there’s a workaround for this situation. Prior to making a new team, you can check whether the name of the team is already taken by entering the name in the search bar. You will get a list of all the existing teams and avoid the mistake of duplicating the name.
5. A limited number of channels
The number of channels is limited up to 100 channels per team. Although this may not be a problem for smaller organizations, others can find themselves in a tight spot. If you surpass this limit, you will have to delete some of the channels. Note that shared files remain in the SharePoint site as backup storage.
SysKit Security Manager—Centralized Office 365 & Teams Reporting Tool
- Discover Teams in your tenant and associated Office 365 groups.
- Find out who are Team Owners, Team Members, and Guest Members.
- Change tenant-wide settings for Microsoft Teams and Team-specific settings.
- Check if Team settings are set according to your company policies.
You can expect this feature in the fall, but until then you can take a look at our roadmap.