If you’ve been following along these last few weeks, you know that we’ve been going through and breaking down the pro’s and con’s of Microsoft’s various group collaboration products. So far, we have covered a general overview and Groups in Outlook, which you can read more about here. Today we’re going to dig a little deeper into Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams was introduced in Preview in November 2016 and is now generally available to everyone. It was created to bring people, conversations and content together to further enhance collaboration within the office and is also integrated with all of the Office applications, built from the Office 365 secure cloud.
At Microsoft Ignite, they announced a ton of new features to Microsoft teams including the ability to call directly from Teams to individuals or PSTN numbers and that Presence is now the same in Teams and Skype 4 B. One of the biggest announcements overall though was that Teams will replace the Skype for Business client over time. In an effort to move toward that goal, they have already added voice and video calling capabilities including the ability to dial into Teams collaborative discussions.
- Real-time chat: The conversation platform is Skype for Business, which most people in an office are already familiar with. Because of that, you can instant message one on one and replace the Skype for Business client. You can also instant message with the members of a Team.
- Multi-platform app: The Microsoft Teams app is available for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. IT also has all the features of the web version on teams.microsoft.com.
- Keeping up: The activity view in Teams makes it simple to see all individual and team conversations you have.
- Channels: Channels are a great way to have sub topic conversations with a smaller group of users without creating a new Team.
- Tabs: With the tab extensibility, users can add a tab for other services on an as-needed basis. If you are using third-party services like Trello for tasks, it’s easy to add that instead of Planner.
- Chatbots: If you’re reading any tech news right now, you’ll see it’s all about chatbots. Teams is the only way to have a conversation with a bot in a group mode.
- Connectors: (see Groups in Outlook)
- 999 member limit: Right now, there is a member limit. I suspect at some point you’ll be able to create a team and have your whole organization in it, but for now that number is capped at 999.
- External users: You can add “Guests” from other Office 365 customer tenants, but you can’t add guests from other identity systems like you can with Office 365 Groups.
- Skype calls have a 250 member limit: 250 is quite a large number and is more of a broadcast than a collaboration. It’s more of a convenience thing that you can spin up a call to the team and let people join if they chose.
- Basic administration: The administration needs to get a lot more granular for key scenarios.
- No permalinks: There is no ability to use a URL to jump to a conversation thread in Teams. This will be frustrating when you want to reference other conversations in email and instant message.
- No e-discovery: At general availability, it will have C level compliance.
- Basic files experience: (see Groups in Outlook) Although limited, you can add SharePoint document libraries as a tab.