95% of the Top Fortune 500 companies are currently using Microsoft Teams, and so are 77 million other users. Teams may not be for everyone, but many organizations find it is the right fit for them.
MS Teams is the new hit of the Office Suite and becoming a hub for the rest of the Office apps. When Teams was first released, it appeared to merely offset or replace Skype for Business with calling and chat capabilities. Now as new features continue to be released, Teams has become a functional desktop application that can be used with any other Office application. In fact, you can create and edit documents from Word, PowerPoint, and Excel in any part of the Teams application. This live editing feature has finally fulfilled a goal set long ago by many who wanted to see Microsoft keep pace with Google Docs collaboration capabilities.
Teams is built to be a multi-functional productivity tool. Companies who use Teams functionality as intended, have little need to work outside the application for communication and collaboration. It is open on their computer and installed on their phones.
Employees collaborate effectively by chatting one-on-one or in group chats, reducing the need for email back and forth. If notifications are turned on, team members do not miss a message. MS Teams is great for posting company announcements, organizing project tasks, and sharing all project team related information in 1 location. Project Teams/channels can be created across departments, so there is no need to hunt for documents. Meetings can be scheduled using the calendar which means no more toggling between the tabs of Outlook to find a time to meet. The Meet Now button is my new favorite, it calls everyone in the chat or Team allowing for quick clarification of issues.
Is Teams Right For You?
When companies ask us if they should adopt MS Teams, the discussion begins with discovering their current environment and what other applications are already in use. While we have seen a huge uptick in our clients using MS Teams, it is best used in Windows environments which do not have an existing communication platform. For example, if a company is already using an application like Slack or Google Suites, Teams would be a redundant implementation.
Non-Microsoft office users might be better off using a native application that interacts more smoothly with their operating system. MAC users who want to use Teams often end up using it just for calls, not taking advantage of the many other available features. In these cases, Teams might not be the ideal fit.
Getting started in Teams as an individual user is a low lift right now, since it is currently free. We have no idea how long it will remain free for personal use, but at the time of this blog there is no cost to enroll in Teams. For individual users, you can download it to your computer or phone and sign into your non-organizational Microsoft account. Personal users can easily switch between their work and personal accounts on their phones to allow them to use the same application for both personal and professional calls and chat. This is great for those looking for a free way to make international calls and stay connected with family and friends.
For professional users, the process is a little more varied. Businesses without an Office subscription will want to purchase one which includes Teams licenses. Most Enterprise and Business O365 subscription plans do include licenses for Teams.
Users who have Office 365 and want to start using Teams should talk with their IT department. They will need to check if Teams licenses are included in your plan. Once licenses are set up, O365 settings must be changed to allow access to Teams. Additionally, if you have Azure AD, you will need to authenticate in the Authenticator app each time you log in to Teams.
If your company has a straight Office subscription (not O365), you will want to check with your Administrator before using Teams. Using Microsoft Teams in a non-O365 environment can create issues. You will most likely want to update to O365 before trying to use Teams.
Company-wide rollouts can get tricky, with hybrid environments and a lot of different settings options. Like most successful project approaches, the best path is to organize upfront, develop your plan, and work the plan. There are many ways to measure if your Teams launch is a success. Like most internal improvements it can be a challenge to measure ROI. Microsoft has created this detailed list of success criteria to help you develop your plan and gage your success.https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-adoption-define-outcomes
If you have a specific question about implementing Teams or how to get started, we would be happy to help. As a Microsoft Gold partner, we have been satisfied Teams users for a few years! Learn more here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org