What is Microsoft Teams and Should You Be Using It?

Jay HineWorking from HomeLeave a Comment

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams comes either as a browser based version or a desktop App, with most versions of Office 365.

Teams, in its basic use, is like Skype and Skype for Business. In fact, it is the direct replacement for Skype for Business.

However, Teams integrates far better with outlook and enables all sorts of handy Features. It links to SharePoint, another offering within Office 365 suite.

In this age of diverse working Microsoft are trying to encourage people to use the entire Office 365 platform to enable smarter working and easier sharing of documents / meetings etc. Little did they know that this would become essential with everyone now working from home.

Key features

The main use for Teams is for working within your own organization. So, all users with the same @DomainName.co.uk address can easily communicate. If I am honest adding external people can be a bit problematic, but it is becoming far easier as Microsoft develop the platform. They are releasing better integration with desktop Skype very soon.

Creating meetings is easy and uses Outlook. Create a meeting as you would normally and add the people you want to attend. Click on the Teams tab and it converts it to a Teams  meeting. So, when someone accepts the meeting it adds to Outlook and includes the Teams link for everyone to join.

Messaging within Teams to either a Group or an Individual is easy and if the messaging is getting complicated just click on the icon to start a video call.

Sharing documents you are discussing during the meeting is also simple. Teams creates a 'file' area for you to drag and drop documents. These can be opened by all invited users. Any changes made to the document are seen in real time by the attendees. This is very handy for Minuting meetings and discussing documents.

From these documents it is then a short step to create tasks for people to carry out.

By linking Teams with SharePoint, you can create documents, meetings, tasks and a lot more.

Things to look out for

If you are working from home and using a Remote Desktop Server, you will need to install any audio meeting software onto the local PC / laptop rather that the Remote Desktop Session. Audio will not work from the RDP Session.

Connecting with external users, those with different email addresses can be tricky, but not impossible.

We use Teams and it's excellent

As much as I am a slight sceptic about Microsoft, I must confess that once you start to use Teams and get everyone invested, it works very well.

Our level of communication has improved since we have started working from home. We are scheduling regular meetings, taking notes and creating tasks, setting deadlines and discussing progress daily.

Not only is it keeping us productive, but it is maintaining communication and helping morale in these difficult and strange times.

If you want any help or more information, please feel free to ask. Its always nice to talk to someone different...

About the Author

A picture of Jay Hine, the author of this blog

Jay Hine

IT Director

As a Director of Optima Systems Ltd Jay is responsible for overseeing Sales and Marketing, Human Resources, Customer Relations and Account Management. In addition, Jay is responsible for the design, development, efficiency and smooth running of the IT Networks of our clients, as well as our own technical infrastructure. More about Jay.

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