Lori Wright, General Manager of Microsoft Teams and Skype Product Marketing at Microsoft, provided us with an update on Microsoft Teams’ vision for modern teamwork at Microsoft Ignite 2018 in her session, GS006 – Modern Teamwork: Transform collaboration and communications with Microsoft 365.
The Power of Teamwork
Teamwork is becoming more challenging because people are spread across so many boundaries. We began seeing this a while ago at PixelMill, and we looked to adopt new communication and collaboration tools. For us, SharePoint worked well for document collaboration, and we relied on Skype for Business for direct communication, along with email. Like many others, we wanted a richer chat client than Skype for Business, and a while back piloted Slack. We quickly migrated to Microsoft Teams with great success and have continued to excel as the product has evolved.
As Lori said, Microsoft 365 is an intelligent, secure, complete solution to empower teams and we have seen this as well. I was interested to see what she and her co-presenters had to share.
Microsoft Teams is the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history.
Here are some fascinating stats for you, and coming from a SharePoint fan, this has been eye-opening.
- 87 of the Fortune 100 are active users of Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Teams is used actively in 329,000 companies worldwide*
- There are over 60 organizations actively using Teams with 10,000+ users*
- In fact, Accenture utilized Microsoft Teams with 100,000+ users
*A note on active users/active companies—I would assume that “active organizations” does not necessarily mean the entire organization uses Teams every day, but still some usage in these numbers of organizations is vast.
We are not alone.
File and News collaboration and communication driven by SharePoint
Jeff Teper provided us with an overview of Microsoft Teams, in particular, showcasing filesharing within Teams, driven by SharePoint. This is one of the primary selling points to Teams outside of general threaded conversations, that being fast, effective asset collaboration and integration with SharePoint.
Other interesting recent announcements Jeff shared include, OneDrive files on demand coming to macs soon, @mentioning directly within Office apps, and the ability to insert document items from one document to another.
Microsoft Teams – One place to get all your work done
I see Microsoft Teams as the primary workplace for me and those in my company. Much of what we do is collaborate with each other and our clients to discover, design, deploy, and maintain solutions. Teams drives the entire conversation. There are gaps for sure, yet the bones are there. In fact, Heidi Gloudemans shared new aspects of Microsoft Teams that will help drive Teams as the primary place to get work done.
Key points that interested me included, Inline editing of Office docs while maintaining chat ability. We can work on a word document directly within Teams and continue to have a persistent Teams chat with colleagues that may help us with content—no more app switching or losing context.
We often want to talk to someone, and meeting and video integration in Teams continues to improve. I really like the background blur ability for video meetings that just rolled out worldwide, removing background distractions. There are also different types of Teams meetings we may start and join. There is of course audio, video, screen sharing only, and now in preview, is live events that will allow up to 10,000 participants. Even better is video recording with automatic transcription that includes searching as well as searching by @mention. Love this feature; I can now search in a video for me when I am mentioned.
Microsoft Teams specific hardware devices
As we would expect, Microsoft has been hard at work, partnering with hardware vendors on devices tailored to Microsoft Teams. There are phone systems, rooms systems, and more from vendors such as Jabra, Plantronics, Crestron Flex, Polycom trio, Yealink (room systems), and we even got another preview of a Surface Hub 2 with a stand.
You can learn more about devices that are Teams enabled at Office.com/teamsdevices.
I had the opportunity to stop by the Microsoft Teams area in the Expo hall and check out some of the phone systems—they are slick. Some of them have the entire Teams client loaded and running directly on the phone itself with an impressive small screen built right in. I can definitely see how over time Skype for Business enabled organizations will make the switch to this richer ecosystem.
Microsoft Teams enabled solutions
Microsoft Teams enables general communication and collaboration across an organization, that is becoming quite clear. With the power of the mobile app, tabs, apps, and much more, specific targeted solutions may be wired directly into Teams to empower teams even more.
Northwind grocery stores, yet another of Microsoft’s “demo” branches was used as an example of one of these targeted solutions.
Shifts is a new feature available in Teams for frontline workers. Aspects of this demoed solution include the ability for frontline workers to start a shift, as well as a new home feature, also providing news and announcements. Since Teams utilizes SharePoint, Shifts allows workers to upload an image to work with and communicate as well as collaborate in real time with others in the organization.
We also saw a demo of a Microsoft Teams scenario currently in preview that helps connect and empower healthcare providers.
Just these two demonstrations open the floodgates of ideas on how to take the underlying power of Teams and utilizing teams, channels, tabs, apps, and connectivity, to build solutions and scenarios that break down more silos and foster increased engagement across the organization.
Teams for IT Teams
The IT department has not been left out. Many new admin center updates have shipped or will be landing soon. Teams management allows you to see all teams and settings, so you can manage teams as well as add and remove users. I for one am looking forward to being able to create Teams direct from Office 365 Groups with dynamic groups, as well as a new Teams admin role that will allow specific users to administer Teams without having full tenant admin rights. Not only this, but all of the features mentioned will be available to all tenants.
Microsoft Teams continues to evolve
Over the short timespan that Microsoft Teams has existed, we have seen it grow at a pace rarely seen elsewhere. Features and updates seem to appear weekly, for good and bad sometimes. There are still gaps I personally want to be addressed, such as private channels, before some of the organizations I work with will be able to take advantage of Teams to its fullest extent. Yet, with what is currently available, I see Teams as the natural communication and collaboration hub for most organizations moving forward.
It is exciting to see the investment that Microsoft is placing in Teams; they are not treating this with only half an effort. It is clear Teams is a centerpiece of the digital workspace plan.
What are your thoughts regarding your organization’s plans to utilize and adopt Microsoft Teams? Do the recent announcements excite you, or if not, what do you think is missing?
Interested in learning more? Join us for our next webinar!
Don’t forget to join us for our September webinar (happening in October), “One Week in Orlando: A Review of Microsoft Ignite” on Thursday, October 4th at 11 AM PST!
It’s that time again…Microsoft Ignite time! The biggest Microsoft, SharePoint, and Office 365 event of the year is upon us. And just like Shark Week or that week in 5th grade when you went to sleepaway camp, this is going to be huge. If history repeats itself, which it tends to do, we’re in for a lot of new information, products, and services that change the landscape of the Microsoft world and how we as a community do our thing. But what does it all mean? How does it impact you?
Join Eric Overfield, 2-time Microsoft MVP, Microsoft Regional Director, President/Co-Founder of PixelMill, for an in-depth review of the big Ignite news. He will be joined by a few members of the amazing PixelMill team, and some other special guests as well. This will also be an opportunity to ask your own questions.
Save your spot today and register here.