Microsoft Office has been the gold standard of office productivity software for decades. Companies worldwide rely on the capabilities within applications like Excel, PowerPoint, and Word to get their work done each day.
But Microsoft’s array of office productivity tools goes much further than Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. With the release of Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) in 2011, Microsoft has leveraged the cloud’s power to deliver transformative applications that go far beyond word processing and spreadsheet/presentation creation.
In this article, we’ll look at Microsoft Teams and explore whether it may be good for a business like yours.
Let’s get started!
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a workplace collaboration platform crafted to allow in-house and remote teams to communicate and work together effectively and efficiently. Teams are part of the Microsoft 365 suite of tools based in the cloud, allowing access by employees and authorized clients/vendors at any location.
Teams is available a free version, as well as part of:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Office 365 E3
- Office 365 E5
The advantage of Teams within a paid Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription is the integration functionality with the other Office 365 applications = more efficient workflow.
How Does Microsoft Teams Work?
Teams allow your employees to use Microsoft 365 applications within the Teams application, enabling a company’s staff to work together in real-time projects. Access within Teams to specific Microsoft 365 tools is dependent upon the level of your Microsoft 365 subscription.
Here is a list of functionalities that you can harness within the Teams environment:
- Voice and video conferencing
- Real-time collaboration on files from Microsoft 365 applications
- Screen sharing
- Whiteboard brainstorming
- Meeting scheduling
- And more!
Why Businesses Like Yours are Moving to Teams
The recent COVID pandemic put many – if not most – companies on a path toward virtual meetings and collaboration. Many turned in panic to popular video chat options like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and Facebook Chat to collaborate with clients, colleagues, and vendors. Concerns with security, compliance, and workflow integration quickly began to emerge.
Companies who invested in Microsoft 365 knew that the answer to these legitimate concerns was Microsoft Teams.
Since the initial wave of “let’s get into a virtual work environment” has subsided, companies like yours are now exploring Microsoft 365 and Teams as a way to meet compliance and cybersecurity standards while preserving the virtual collaborative functionality they need.
Here are a few pro-business process advantages of Microsoft Teams.
- Chat (DM)
The ability to set up private chats for direct conversations with teammates and expand to a group chat when needed helps reduce time spent in inboxes. Also, Teams can archive those chats for future reference, so no critical information is misplaced.
- Audio and Video Conversations
Your team can share screens in an audio or video call, use a virtual whiteboard, and collaborate on documents/spreadsheets/presentations. Recordings of those meetings can then be retained for future reference or even integrated into Teams conversations and shared when necessary.
- 3rd Party Application Integrations
The advantage of using applications built by a big player like Microsoft is developers want to produce software that integrates with your applications. In this case, 3rd party app developers build their software to communicate with Teams to automate your processes, saving you time and money.
- Integration with 365 Applications
The most significant – and most impressive – aspect of Microsoft Teams is its seamless integration with the entire suite of Microsoft 365 applications, allowing you to access Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Delve, Word, etc.
- Cybersecurity Protocols in Place
Teams are part of a larger ecosystem of Microsoft applications but enjoy the same cybersecurity protections that all Microsoft 365 apps do. Protected access under multi-factor identification, the processes are secure within Microsoft’s cloud environment, and compliance maintained under HIPAA BAA, ISO 27001, ISO 27018, and SSAE 16 SOC 1 2.
- Appointment Creation and Management
Teams works in harmony with Outlook’s email and calendar functions to provide an easy way to schedule meetings and invite attendees. As interactive productivity is the goal, attendees can upload files to Teams for use before or within the meeting.
- Collaboration Capabilities
While traditional email can be time-consuming for ongoing conversations, the Teams chat function allows for the free flow of questions, answers, and ideas. When you stack this feature up with the ability to work together on projects in real-time, you begin to see how Teams can help save money and streamline your ongoing project management.
- Work from Anywhere Functionality
If you have access to the internet, you can create and edit files while working in close contact with your team – no matter where you are in the world. This go-anywhere functionality helps drive productivity and allows companies to onboard and provision the best hires from around the globe.
Microsoft Teams is far more than a stand-alone video conferencing app like Cisco’s GoToMeeting or Zoom. Teams is a full-featured business communication and collaboration platform that saves your staff time and helps speed up projects.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Teams is a part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem of applications and operates within Microsoft’s cloud platform. It enjoys native integration with the other Microsoft 365 apps and the security and compliance protocols built into Microsoft 365.
Although other communications and compliance platforms can “do the job,” none give your business the full-featured connectivity between people, projects, and other software applications.
Ready to get started with Teams? Our staff of IT professionals is happy to have that conversation with you. Just reach out!