In November 2016, Microsoft announced Teams, their chat-based workgroup solution, and made Teams available in the Preview programs.  Teams includes some integration with Skype for Business and is intended to compete with Slack.

For Preview customers, Teams is included in Office 365 and can be enabled in the Office 365 Admin Center.  Microsoft Mechanics produced a great video detailing the enabling and usage of Teams.  Microsoft has also published a handy Teams Quick Start with an overview, setup, first steps, next steps, and an introduction to T-Bot, the Teams Bot.

 

Office 365 Integration

Teams is an Office 365 application, which results in instant integration with other Office 365 applications.  In addition, Teams also uses your Office 365 user ID and password for authentication.  Teams is built upon Office 365 Groups to enable chat based communications as well as integration with Skype, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, etc.

Teams is included in the Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience (CIE), I include Teams in all of my CIE sessions.

 

Chatting

Chat within in Teams is a breeze, simply type away!  One of the powerful features is the use of channels – each Team starts with the General channel.  Additional channels can be added to keep the focus of the discussions on a particular topic.  Teams also has private chat, which is very similar to Skype.  Currently, Teams is only partially integrated with Skype, I expect this integration to improve when Teams graduates from Preview.

 

Teams Collaboration

Each Team has an Office 365 Group, each team and each channel have their own SharePoint folder and OneNote notebook.  As such, membership can by managed within Office 365 groups, while files can easily be shared within Teams and channels.  In the Teams app, tabs can be added to quickly reference Excel, PowerPoint, Word, PDF files, Power BI reports, stream videos, other SharePoint folders, and Visual Studio Team Services.

In addition, a Team can contain a tab to a new or existing Office 365 Planner plan.  The integration of Teams and Planner is awesome, we’re using Planner to manage projects that don’t need Microsoft Project.  In fact, I use the Teams app on my Surface Pro to perform most of my project management functions in Planner.  You can learn more on Brian Smith’s MSDN blog post on this topic.

 

Cross Platform

Teams works on Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.  I use it daily on my Surface Pro and iPhone (I’m looking forward to a full featured Teams iOS app).  Teams also has the same Connector model as Exchange, allowing for integration with 3rd party solutions.

 

Pricing

Teams is currently enabled in Preview for the following Office 365 subscriptions:  Business Essentials, Business Premium, E1, E3 and E5.

 

What’s Next?

Microsoft has aggressive plans for Teams, stay tuned for additional updates from me on Teams.  Also, check out this blog post in the Microsoft Teams Blog to get a glimpse of the future.  See Office 365 Roadmap for the roadmap for all Office 365 products.

If you’d like to learn more about Teams or have any questions at all, please let us know in the contact form below.