Teams users can take advantage of new features.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto, Chainarong Prasertthai

Microsoft has slipped more new features into its popular Teams platform, while giving its remaining Skype for Business users a nudge towards making the jump.

A handful of new features for Microsoft Teams were unearthed this week, both via Microsoft’s dedicated Teams blog and the Microsoft 365 technology roadmap.

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One such new addition is Presenter View for Microsoft Teams, which is coming to Teams later this month and will allow users to keep track of their presentations while leading a meeting.

Presenter View will allow presenters to view their slides alongside any notes they’ve made, as well as see thumbnails of upcoming slides at the bottom of the Teams meeting Window. Presenter Mode is available in Teams in public preview mode.

Meeting Recap, which was announced by Microsoft at Ignite 2020 back in September, is also pinned for a debut in January.

Meeting Recap is fairly self-explanatory: after a meeting, Teams will pull together a recording of the meeting alongside a transcript, a copy of the chat log and any files shared during the call, which can then be shared with participants. This will allow users to keep track of any targets or objectives agreed in the meeting, or otherwise just make sure important information isn’t lost or forgotten.

While Presenter View and Meeting Recap remain in the pipeline, Approvals in Microsoft Teams was made generally available to Teams customers this week.

Approvals lets users create, manage, and share projects sign-offs directly within Teams.

It’s designed as a means for teams to keep track of ongoing projects. Each approval request is displayed along with details such as the status, source, and the person who requested and approved each project.

Users can review the details of the request and any files included in the approval. If the request was submitted in a chat or a channel, an approvals card will be displayed containing all relevant actions, such as ‘approve’, ‘reject’ and ‘review details’.

Approvals began rolling out to users on January 13. Microsoft said it was working with partners to introduce electronic signature approval using Adobe Sign, DocuSign, and other third-party providers.

Moving customers

Microsoft saw unprecedented growth of its Teams platform in 2020 after it became a key tool for remote workers. Whether it will continue on an equally strong trajectory in 2021 remains to be seen, though the company is keen to mop up any customers still lingering on older video-conferencing services, including Skype for Businesss.

The company is working to ensure customers transition to Microsoft Teams by July 31, 2021, which is the date that Skype for Business Online will be officially retired. In a blog post yesterday (January 14), Microsoft appealed to remaining Skype and Lync Server customers to upgrade to its star workplace collaboration platform, noting that this is where the company would be investing all of its efforts going forward.

“Though mainstream and extended support continues for versions of Skype for Business Server and Lync Server, our focus is squarely on Teams and its ecosystem of applications, devices, and services,” the company said.

“We’re continually developing new capabilities in Teams to meet our customers’ evolving needs, while enabling Teams experiences to scale across devices and varying connectivity.”

SEE: 11 ways to be a consummate professional during Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings (TechRepublic)

The company is offering support to customers who need help migrating to Teams and is offering step-by-step transitions to those who need to take things slowly, including a “Meetings First” strategy, whereby users can start holding meetings in the Teams client while continuing to use Skype for Business for chat and audio calls.

“We recognize some organizations may need to maintain their Skype for Business Server deployment. The great news is you can still benefit from Teams without a full transition,” said Microsoft.

“Whether you plan to deploy select capabilities of Teams such as collaboration and meetings while maintaining chat and calling capabilities in Skype for Business, or use the overlapping capabilities method in which access to both Teams and Skype for Business enables a broader range of Teams functionality, you can choose the path that works for your organization.”