As the “workplace” continues to evolve into a more “digital workplace,” organizations of all shapes and sizes increasingly need—or are already benefiting from—a user-friendly, group-collaboration platform that offers seamless communication, improved productivity and overall better employee experience. Category leaders Microsoft Teams and Slack have both become trusted organizational communication solutions, but one of these players has been dominating the space (and has basically become a verb).
Thanks in part to its first-mover advantage and “freemium model,” organizations from startups and SMB’s to global enterprises have adopted Slack as the go-to collaboration and communication tool. The tide, however, is turning to Teams.
Microsoft Teams, with a quasi-under-the-radar evolution, has initially only been available to licensed O365 customers. Understandably, Microsoft was paying close attention to Slack’s meteoric growth. Over the past year, they opened up Teams as a free solution to everyone over the past year. That move has paid off in spades.
Microsoft takes the lead in workplace collaboration
Recently, Microsoft announced that Teams had reached over 13 million active daily users, officially surpassing Slack. That’s a significant milestone to reach in just over two years since its debut. But it’s also significant because it points to a trend that we advocate: the rise, and critical importance of, the aforementioned Digital Workplace.
Undeniably, Slack has useful and valuable capabilities. But Teams, as a communication and collaboration tool, has proven itself to be an overall more complete solution—particularly if you’re a Microsoft-centric organization (like we are at StitchDX). The integration of SharePoint, Microsoft applications, and document libraries offers a more organized, efficient, and functional experience. This integration also augments the value of the investment so many companies have made in O365.
What can we expect from Teams?
Microsoft’s product roadmap and integrations for Teams are constantly growing and its user experience continues to improve. Microsoft recently announced new features that include:
- Channel moderation, which allows control of who starts or reviews posts in a channel.
- High Priority notifications, to remind a recipient of a message every two minutes until they respond (hopefully used with some judiciousness!).
- An “Announcements” section to highlight important news within specific channels.
Why we (and so many others), love using Teams
Remember (or still use) Skype? It just celebrated its Sweet 16! And while it was once the preferred communication tool for organizations, Microsoft has now said it will soon replace it with Teams (hey, they only paid $8.5 billion for it in 2011!).
Microsoft is betting big on making Teams the platform of choice for business collaboration and communication for O365 customers—which is apparent in the impressive integrations and capabilities of the application:
- The ability to share, preview, and edit Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other documents without leaving Teams
- Integrated SharePoint file management, so you never have to leave Teams to find the right document you need
- Access to OneDrive for Business, giving users the capability to share files with specific internal or external users, or keep it private until it’s ready to be shared
- Workflows to streamline users’ workloads
Microsoft’s competitive, cloud-based subscription service on SharePoint online has made it a viable solution, even for startups and SMBs. Having a group-collaboration application integrated into this platform gives that investment more bang for the buck.
Useful new features
One key feature of Teams is modern team sites. These micro-sites offer a webpage-style experience for groups to quickly gain insights, get up to speed, and get going with their work. Every channel automatically gets a site, and includes functionality like:
- Shared calendars
- Shared mailbox
- Document library for sharing and managing folders for better documents and files management
- Native integration of Office 365 products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (which offers collaboration tools to bring together teams around documents and content)
- Latest news to keep everyone up to speed
- The ability to integrate 3rd party apps
Are you ready to embrace the Digital Workplace and maximize your Microsoft O365 investment? We can help!