Microsoft Teams Collaboration

When to Use Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams introduces yet another collaboration option to Office 365. It joins a full suite of tools designed to increase productivity and facilitate people working together. How is Microsoft Teams different than these options? How is it the same?

The picture above provides a concise overview of collaboration options in Office 365 and what tool to use when. These options complement each other in the following ways:

  • Outlook is the mail and calendar tool. This is where you will continue to send and receive emails, especially with people outside your company. Outlook also manages your calendar and facilitates the scheduling of meetings.
  • Microsoft Teams adds persistent chat to the Office 365 toolset. You can have an ongoing discussion with your teammates and collaborate in real time as opposed to waiting for an email. It also allows you to work more openly within your team. Instead of sending an email to one or two people you can have a chat where other members of your team can see it.
  • Skype for Business provides voice, video, and meeting capabilities. This is where you can have a face to face voice and video conversation with your teammates. Skype for Business is fully integrated with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft has announced that Teams and Skype for Business will be merged into one tool in the future.
  • Office Online and Desktop are the authoring tools you know and love. You can use Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote to edit documents in real time. All the other collaboration tools leverage Office capabilities.
  • SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business is the place to store and manage your files. They also provide capabilities to organize unstructured data in lists and is the catch-all for collaboration. Microsoft Teams actually stores files in OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Yammer is the place for enterprise-wide conversations, and conversations that span organizational silos.

Next, let’s look at typic use cases for each of these collaboration technologies.

  • Microsoft Teams is unique in that it is a workspace that visually unifies the other collaboration tools. For example, in your Team, you will have a chat-based workspace, files from OneDrive and SharePoint, use Skype for meetings and video, and Outlook for a group mailbox and calendar.
  • Yammer is great for allowing employees to have a conversation with organizational leadership. It also allows you to create communities of practice, say for all the project managers from every department to have discussions.
  • Outlook is great for email and calendar. Email is not going away. It is still the best place to communicate with people outside your organization and schedule meetings.
  • SharePoint is excellent for curated experiences. If you’d like news communicated visually in a certain way, want your documents to appear in a certain place of the page, or want to automate business processes then SharePoint is the best tool.
  • Skype is still the best place for meetings. You can use it to make phone calls, have a video call, or hold large virtual meetings.

Now let’s look at how Microsoft Teams can specifically add value to your organization. The list above was compiled by interviewing organizations that are the top users of Microsoft Teams. They were asked how Teams was used in their organization. Here are some of our favorite scenarios:

  • In many sales situations, the sales representative needs to gather information from multiple people. Microsoft Teams is a fantastic way to coordinate, by storing applicable sales files in the Team and allowing for rapid conversations.
  • Marketers can stay on top of content and campaigns by using Microsoft teams to coordinate with a big group of people. Want someone to review a document? You can tag them in a conversation and provide a link directly to the document.
  • For project management, Teams is the collaboration space we’ve been waiting for. SharePoint has always been overkill for many types of projects. Teams is just easier to use for projects because everything is in one space. You can even connect non-Microsoft tools to a Team.
  • In engineering teams, Microsoft Teams is a wonderful place to hold your daily stand up meeting. The video chat capability is superior to Skype and you can link to your code repository within the Team.
  • The finance department often must coordinate budgets with many business stakeholders. Teams provides a secure place to hold these sensitive conversations, with the security and compliance features they need.

We hope that answers some of your questions about when to use Microsoft Teams! Please take a look at our Ultimate guide to Microsoft Teams to learn more about this amazing tool.

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