Microsoft Teams: The right collaboration platform for your organization? (free PDF)

Teams is designed to facilitate chat-based communication and collaboration for businesses—and its integration with Office 365 apps and services could give it a leg up on the competition. Here’s a look at what Teams offers and why you might want to check it out.

From the ebook:

Teams is Microsoft’s take on chat-based communication for business and its answer to competing platforms, such as Slack and Atlassian’s HipChat.

In its simplest form, the service allows users to set up Teams, each of which is essentially a hub for group chat rooms, which are called channels.

Multiple chat rooms or channels can be created within a Team. To make chats easy to follow, conversations are threaded, flow from top to bottom, and notify users of updates. If users need face-to-face conversation, they can jump straight into Skype voice or video chats with other channel participants via a single click.

However, Microsoft is pushing the platform as being more than just a chat hub. Teams is integrated with Office 365, which means it is tied to other Microsoft Office services, such as Word and Excel, as well as to its cloud storage and sharing services, such as SharePoint. PowerPoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI, and Delve are also integrated with Teams.

Consequently, any documents, spreadsheets, presentations and the like that are shared within a Team are synced with a copy stored in Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage and a local SharePoint environment, so every Team member always has access to the latest version. Collaborative editing of this shared content is also possible, with each user’s changes reflected in the Office software in real time.

If someone doesn’t like using Teams, the service’s integration with Office 365 means that important updates or content generated within the collaboration platform can be flagged up outside of Teams. For instance, Microsoft Delve might highlight an update to an important shared file.

Team channels can also communicate with outside services via Connectors. Connectors already exist to push updates from GitHub, Zendesk, MailChimp, SAP SuccessFactors, and Salesforce to Teams’ channels, and an API framework is available to allow more to be built. On launch, Teams shipped with more than 70 Connectors and 85 Bots, which can participate in conversations. From within Chat, every Team channel has access to T-Bot, a bot that can answer simple questions users have about Teams.

Access to files, internal sites, and dashboards is automatically controlled by Office 365 Groups and SharePoint, and users can create a new Group or attach the Team to an existing Group when creating the Team.

Teams is designed to meet the same security and data protection standards as Office 365 and is Office 365 Tier C compliant. The service enforces two-factor authentication, single sign on through Active Directory, and encryption of data in transit and at rest.

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