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Mar 14

Microsoft Teams – General Availability

Microsoft Teams reached General availability stage today, that’s the point at which Microsoft declare a product is ready for production consumption, despite the fact that a lot of us have been using the product in some form in production for some time. This is a great achievement by the Teams product group

For me the messaging experience across the Office 365 suite has often been a bit of a mixed bag, we have Outlook for e-mail, Skype4Business for 1 to 1 and business meetings, Groups for threaded conversations within a select group of people and Yammer for more open conversations (and the odd closed one!). I’m often asked which should I be using for our collaboration and the answer always has to be, use what works for you and your organisation.

One of the big problems with this is that we are welded to our inboxes. The large majority of people that I know spend a massive portion of their time in Outlook, managing tasks, conversations and with Office apps even content too. So breaking free from the inbox is a big ask. With the advent of Teams however, I think Microsoft could be on the verge of making this change sustainable, or at the very least reducing the dependence culture on the inbox!

Some of the changes announced today will help reduce that dependency and possibly help to answer the question, which App should I use? Here’s a summary of some of the changes announced today:-

  • Open public teams – Similar to Yammer groups, these public teams can be discovered by your organisation members and will be recommended based on their activities and behaviours.
  • Improved e-mail integration – You can now promote an e-mail to a chat in Teams and continue the discussion there.

Teams email integration

  • Enhanced meeting experience – The meet now functionality has been enhanced to allow scheduling of meetings, integrating free/busy availability from team members calendars and making it easier to promote a 1 to 1 or group chatting into an Audio or Video call.
  • Improved customisation – The ability to add tabs to your teams has been extended with more than 150 interactions available now or in the near future. This will include integration with systems such as SAP or Trello, allowing users to integrate with tools they are familiar with, without enforcing a switch to the Office 365 equivalents such as planner.
  • Bots framework – The original bot framework in Teams only allowed 1 to 1 conversations with bots, this is being expanded to allow the use of bots within group conversations.

Teams bot integration

  • Security and Compliance – Audit log search, eDiscovery and legal hold is now in place for all channels, chats and files as well as Mobile management through Intune.

Teams compliance integration

I’m looking forward to seeing the difference that Microsoft Teams brings to the workplace, I already know a few organisations who are using it effectively and are reducing their dependence on Outlook!

Microsoft are holding an “Ask Us Anything – Teams” session on the Microsoft Tech Community on March 22nd at 9:00 am (PDT (GMT-7)), definitely one to attend if you want more information on teams and the thought processes behind it.

Paul.

(Note: Images reproduced with the permission of Microsoft)

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