November 19

Here is What You Need to Know About Microsoft Teams

Last Updated

*This article was last updated on June 6th, 2020.


In today’s time remote work is no longer a privilege but a necessity to survive. With the onset of COVID-19, employees are forced to work from home making remote work the new norm. Microsoft designed Teams to digitalize your traditional office workplace With Microsoft Teams.

You no longer have to imagine a world where collaboration and communication in virtual space feels real. Hence, Teams is a modern chat-based collaboration tool providing customers a digital hub for teamwork in Office 365. Let’s explore Microsoft Teams in detail.


What is Microsoft Teams?

Teams is Microsoft’s take on group chat in response to the booming market led by Slack. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration platform that allows you to work together and easily share information.

Teams is built on Microsoft technologies making it true hub for teamwork. It is fully integrated with Microsoft Office services as well as cloud storage and sharing services.  This means, Teams has built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Exchange, Yammer, Power BI and Delve.

Consequently, all the files and information you need is at your fingertips.


What are the advantages of using Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams facilitates a work environment between remote users or within a large business. Today’s businesses use multiple tools for collaboration, it’s common for departments within an organization to use different tools.

Teams is a collaborative tool that can be deployed across your organization to bring your employees together. While establishing a more productive way of working. Here are a few advantages that Teams can bring to your organization:

1. Company-wide Chat 

Teams chat functionality offers threaded conversations, so all communication is recorded in one place. You can chat privately with an individual or have conversations as a team discussion.

2. Full Integration of Office 365 

The biggest advantage is that Teams integrates easily with Office 365 so no flickering through tabs and interfaces. Teams brings all your commonly used tools together for the best and most seamless collaboration possible.

You can all view the same Word document, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation, OneNote document, Planner, SharePoint at once.

3. Customized Workspace

Microsoft understands that every team is different Teams is entirely customizable, allowing different teams to integrate with preferred third parties.

4. Communicate in Real Time

No more going back and forth when you can chat in real time. You can save hours replying to emails adversely effecting productivity.

5. Everyone is Up to Date 

With Teams all team members are on the same page. Everyone knows the status of a discussion/project/task keeping the productivity flowing.

6. Increased Productivity and Collaboration

Microsoft Teams is a modern communication and collaboration tool that makes teamwork flexible, integrated and thoroughly transparent.

Teams is built to easily manage conversations, files and tools. Microsoft Teams is extremely user-friendly platform that enhances collaboration. Teams clearly provides an alternative to email communication.

7. Local and International Security Compliance

Microsoft Teams uses the same data protection and advanced security compliance standards as Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Teams provides the advanced security and compliance that our Office 365 customers expect. You can customize your workspace, with rich

8. Secure Channels

Secure Channels lets organizations control access to content in a specific Teams channel. The core aim of Microsoft Teams is to connect staff and enhance collaboration.

To achieve this, Teams provides a complete alternative to email communications. Teams allows you to utilize features such as document collaboration, one-on-one chat, team chat, and more in a single shared workspace.


What is the point of Teams?

Teams is a communication and collaboration tool that enables group chat, team conversations communication between team members. Whether they are in the same office or work remotely.

It supports group chat with threaded conversations, and private chat between users. As required, you can conveniently switch from instant messaging to audio or video call by a simple click.


Will Teams replace emails?

The question whether Teams will replace emails is incorrect since the two cannot be compared!

Email is not a collaboration and communication tool nor does it provide synchronous communication. Emails are least productive as it’s impossible to keep all team members and stakeholders on track.

Often emails are misused as a document management tool and task management tool. With emails it is not easy to fetch information in the right context. You have to dig through your inbox frantically searching for emails. Majority of the time you are bombarded with emails as a result of group conversations.

On the contrary, with Teams you don’t need to dig nor are you bombarded with emails.


Switch to Teams from Skype for Business

Skype for Business is set to be phased out by July 31, 2021. It is about time that your organization switches to Teams from Skype for Business.

User adoption is extremely important, employees tend to resist change.

Communicate with your team members as it is important to get your employees on board. Though there are many tools to guide you in your migration from Skype to Teams but you can take the following steps:

  • Plan - Direct your executives to internally communicate the value and benefit of Microsoft Teams.
  • Get excited - Share the plan, create excitement to work with Microsoft Teams.
  • Raise awareness - Involve and inspire your employees to accept change.
  • Employee Training - Provide customized training to your employees’ needs, learning styles, over their preferred communication channels.
  • Feedback - Most importantly, get feedback from your employees by asking questions. You can also ask them to give their feedback to the rollout team.


Switch from Skype for Business Online


Migration to Teams from Skype for Business Online:

  • Upgrade Basic: For small-sized companies with simple architecture
  • Upgrade Pro: For complex architecture such as hybrid environments with Skype for Business


Coexistence Mode 

There are three modes that can be configured from the administration console:

  • Islands Mode: Mode where Skype for Business and Teams coexist
  • Skype for Business: Only Skype for Business exists
  • Teams Only: Users can join only existing Skype for Business meetings; otherwise, Teams must be used.


Switch from Skype for Business On-Premise

Step 1: Configure hybrid connectivity

Step 2: Set transitional coexistence mode (optional)

Step 3: Move users from Skype for Business on-premises to Teams Only


What is better Skype or Teams?

The best thing is that you no longer have to choose between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. All the functions of Skype for Business are included in Teams. Making it much easier for organizations to manage their single collaborative platform.

Skype for Business supports voice calls and video conferencing. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams is a true communication and collaborative platform. It offers team chats, direct messaging, voice, video, and calling features in a completely collaborative environment.

Chat, Meeting, Calling, Collaboration

Microsoft Teams has the following collaborative features:

  • Messaging: There are two types of messaging Chat and Group Conversations. Chats are thread of dialogue between individual users. Group Conversations are in a Channel within a team so the entire join in discussion. 
  • Meetings: You can schedule meetings from within a chat. Attending meetings in Teams is very simple. You can easily meet with internal colleagues, external, contacts or anonymous participants. Another feature is the background blur which allows you to mask and blur everything behind. 
  • Voice: Teams uses the Phone System add-on in Microsoft 365, with a feature called Direct Routing.
  • Audio conferencing: Anyone can instantly join an online meeting via phone. This feature is unique to Teams only. Using a dial-in number, users can participate without requiring access to internet connectivity.


Teams versus Zoom, Google Meet

Zoom is an online video conferencing tool that is easy to use with good quality of video and audio. Zoom is not a collaboration tool!

Microsoft Teams

Google Meet

ZOOM

Full integration with the Microsoft 365 suite

Video and voice calling

Video and voice calling

High performance video conferencing

Automatic screen focusing

High performance video conferencing

Audio conversations and business phone

Access to G-Suite products including instant messaging

Audio conversations and business phone

Excellent search functionality

High-level smart search


In-line transcription and translation

Intelligent muting

Intelligent muting

File and screen sharing

Screen and file sharing

Screen sharing

Instant messaging and threaded messages

Custom control options for admins

Instant messaging and threaded messages

High level enterprise security

High-level integrations

Security Issues

Business phone access

Gallery view for video meetings



Teams as a phone system

That’s right! Microsoft Teams can completely replace your business’ existing phone system with a managed cloud service. This unique feature supports private branch exchange (PBX) business telephony from within Office 365.

With Teams phone services you can:

  • Eliminate on-premises equipment
  • Benefit from built-in security and control
  • Reduce or increase the number of lines you need
  • Consolidate your conferencing tools


Teams Licensing Plan

For small or medium-sized business with less than 300 users you have four ways to get voice features:

  1. Buy a Microsoft 365 Business plan and Microsoft 365 Business Voice.
  2. Buy an Enterprise E1 or E3 plan and Microsoft 365 Business Voice.
  3. Buy an Enterprise E1 or E3 plan and add voice features individually.
  4. Buy an Enterprise E5 plan, which includes voice features.

For large business or enterprise organizations with over 300 users, you have two ways to get voice features:

  1. Buy an Enterprise E1 or E3 plan and add voice features individually.
  2. Buy an Enterprise E5 plan, which includes voice features.


Teams Deployment

Change takes time. Some people resist change but change is always good! We at Communication Square work hard to ensure Microsoft Teams meets your business needs for long-term success.

Since Microsoft Teams is essentially built for larger enterprises, its roll out process requires more effort and time. In deploying Teams, it is more effective to have Microsoft Certified Professionals take control to simplify the transition.

Our professionals ensure deploying Microsoft Teams does not become a daunting task for your organization.  Communication Square provides continuous round the clock deployment and after sales support. We guarantee Microsoft Teams solution has been configured to meet your organization’s needs.

Our professionals follow best practices depending on the size of your organization. Our professionals determine best solution for you, after analyzing the complexity of your IT infrastructure. Hence ensuring you’re all set to enjoy complete features and easy collaboration capability that Microsoft Teams offers. We integrate and work seamlessly with your existing systems or solution providers.


Systematic Change Management

Significance of Change Management

Microsoft Teams is an enabler for business transformation that offers you best-in-class productivity and collaboration tools. Teams will lead your organization to a whole new way of working.

For you to understand the desired business outcomes and return on investment, it is essential to adopt new services. Also, embrace those services and use them as part of your natural rhythm of work.

As per recent studies businesses are six times more likely to meet business objectives with effective change management.

Ways of Developing a Change Management Practice

To implement Microsoft Teams in your business environment, we’ll employ two complementary disciplines. This will help you make a successful transition: project management and change management.

Project management focuses on deployment planning and the implementation of the technical component.

Change management is the human side of the transformation. This focuses on the activities required to prepare organizations for the delivered change. In order to facilitate the transition from the old way of working to the future state. This in turn will help embed the change as the new norm.

Common Approach

User focus is an afterthought. Rather than engaging users in the process, an email containing a link to training is sent post-deployment.

Ideal Approach

User adoption is a parallel, integrated work stream that includes deployment.

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About the Author

Communication Square drives your firm to digital horizons. With a digital footprint across the globe, we are trusted to provide cloud users with ready solutions to help manage, migrate, and protect their data.

Communication Square

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