Microsoft recently released its new collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams, as part of the Office 365 suite. March 14th Microsoft Teams was launched publicly and the tool is now widely available to Office 365 business and enterprise users. With all the collaboration tools on the market, what makes this new product so exciting?

It’s a lot like Slack- except included for FREE with your Office 365 business or enterprise accounts.

It has all the features that have made Slack such a hit in the past few years. To start with the user-friendly interface is very similar and it also uses the same language. Teams also includes Slack features, including animated GIFs and assistant bots. The best part though is that it will be included in your Office 365 Business or Enterprise subscriptions. It will not automatically appear though, like any Office component, it’ll be up to your company’s IT department to deploy it to users in the organization.

Office 365 teams

Assistant Bots are the personal assistant you always wanted.

Assistant bots make Teams easy starting from implementation. The “T- Bot” is available immediately when you login, under the chat section. You can ask questions like “How do I send a private message?” or type some keywords like “add team member”. There is also “Polly Bot” who, much like in Slack, focuses on polling. In Microsoft Teams however, Polly can operate BOTH in group chat channels and dedicated tabs. The Who-Bot is a quick reference to team members that you need. Typing in “Who knows about software sales” will not only result in members that mention the topic often, but will also give you options as to how to contact them.

It pulls all the Office products your familiar with together.

Products like Office 365 (business tools), Azure (cloud-based file management), and Microsoft security, pulled together in a new group chat application. This includes built-in access to SharePoint, OneNote, and Skype for Business, making communication in any form, chat, video calling or voice calling super easy.

You can express yourself in fun new ways.

One of the most fun parts about collaboration software is the freedom if gives you too express yourself, particularly when it comes to custom emojis and GIFs. Slack makes it easy to do a quick animated GIF command, with plenty of options to customize. Microsoft Teams takes all that functionality and layers deeper built-in customization on top. You can also pick from their library of memes and stickers which has a search feature built in. Enter the emotion you are feeling or even keywords like “Friday” and you’ll get tons of great options. The best part is you can customize each meme with your own captions! You can even upload your own pictures and make memes.

Meme search in Teams

It has threaded conversations.

One complaint common with Slack customers is that it did not can have threaded conversations. Threaded conversations give you the ability to comment directly on a single response in the group chat. It helps the conversation stay organized because topics can be addressed once and discussed there rather than referencing back to the topic over and over. You can also see this chat history in the future from anywhere you have access to Teams.

Email integration is automatic.

Another minor channel-based improvement over competing collaboration software is you don’t have to enable an email integration. Every channel within Microsoft Teams has a dedicated email address one can use to forward emails directly to that channel. That’s one of the benefits of using Office 365 products, they all integrate together seamlessly.

It works on your smart phone.

It works across all devices, including Macs, Windows, Android, and iOS. Meaning you can keep your conversations going from where ever you are.  You’ll have continual access to content and chat history, the ability to schedule small group or team meetings and search for public teams to collaborate on shared projects.

Why Partner With The Bauen Group?

At The Bauen Group we focus on the unique needs of small to midsize businesses. In addition to being Silver Microsoft Partner Certified, we understand the challenges businesses face when growing out of old technologies and specialize in finding new solutions to increase your efficiency and profitability.  Our small business IT specialist have years of experience helping company’s like yours overcome these difficulties and other IT issues that small and midsize businesses may encounter. We focus on building relationships with our clients to better understand your IT and business challenges and find the right solutions to get you to the next level.