In October 2017, Microsoft introduced a new addition to its Office 365 suite: Microsoft Teams. The software’s purpose is simple: to facilitate collaboration by combining chat, meetings, notes and files. But is this collaboration tool actually finding its way into businesses, half a year after launch? We advise Skype for Business users to start using it now, because Teams will eventually replace Skype.
Our round-table discussion about Office 365 at the start of May showed that our clients are definitely interested in Teams: even though no one has already started using it, several participants are working on a pilot project.
Mediahuis, for example, is researching the possibilities in Teams. The media company’s project is currently in its test phase. They’ve discovered that their employees don’t really know if they should share files via Teams or SharePoint. “Our primary concern is finding out how we can implement the new software. Teams seems perfect for ad hoc file sharing, but when it comes to permanently storing files, we’d best stick to SharePoint”, says Robin Pauwels, ICT Infrastructure & Services Manager.
When you look at Teams, you’ll notice quite some similarities with a slightly older Office 365 element. Just like Teams, Groups offer a way to structure your collaboration with tools such as a shared inbox, calendar and document library. It turns out that these groups are used much more frequently than Teams. For example, Vandemoortele uses Groups for projects, recurrent meetings and knowledge sharing. Mediahuis has started using Groups and Teams simultaneously.
“The functionalities of Office 365’s Groups have been transferred to Teams,” our Solution Architect Office 365 & SharePoint Thomas Vochten explains, “but that doesn’t mean Groups will disappear. You can continue to use your Groups in Outlook, for example. Compared to Groups, Teams is complete application.
People who are used to working with Groups may find it easier to switch to Teams. But if you’re not using either option yet, it’s best to just go for Teams. This tool is the future in Office 365.”
The preliminary conclusion? Our clients are aware of Teams’s potential, but they’re not ready to jump on board just yet. “The application’s interface isn’t quite flawless yet and many users think it’s confusing. That’s why we’ll keep things as they are for now”, says Johan Bernaerts, IT Manager at Ahlers.
Others are hesitant because certain crucial functionalities are missing. “Skype is an important part of our calling system, but this is technically still impossible with Teams. If it were possible, we’d definitely migrate”, states Geert Vervust, Digital & Business Applications Manager at Vandemoortele. Umicore isn’t planning on switching yet because you can’t invite third parties to your Teams channels.
Microsoft Office 365 and its applications are constantly evolving. That’s why we advise our Skype for Business clients to try Teams already, so that they’ll have a head start in Teams when Skype disappears.
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