Microsoft’s response to the growing market of chat-based collaboration tools is the ambitious newcomer, Microsoft Teams. And it is backed by the company’s years of experience in the corporate market.
Group messaging or group chat applications have become an essential tool for the workspace, no matter the nature of your office. Slack has been at the forefront for the past few years; however, a survey conducted by Spiceworks has reported that Microsoft Teams has overtaken Slack in the market. The report further suggests that, in the years to come, Teams’ presence in the office space will continue its rapid growth.
Microsoft Teams presents itself as a simple and easy-to-understand method of communicating via text, voice, or video conferencing, with file-sharing functionality and integration with other tools. It is a group messaging tool that allows its users to send instant text-based messages to one another. You can also join or create groups for faster collaboration on projects.
The cloud-based application goes beyond the basics of group messaging with its robust collaboration features, giving it a massive lead against its competitors. For example, OneDrive is integrated fully with Microsoft Teams.
Via this integration, you can access the files you have in OneDrive to create or edit them all within the bounds of Microsoft Teams. You can share files to the group as well without needing to leave the conversation and jump to a different app. This feature alone will save you the time it would take to upload or transfer files, and it can prevent unsynchronized data.
Microsoft Teams has overlapping support for other Microsoft apps, such as SharePoint and Outlook. The tool also has integrated support for third-party apps like Smartsheet and Trello.
Microsoft Teams has both desktop and mobile app versions, and it is available through any web browser.
Teams, Yammer, and Skype for Business
For those of you who are familiar with Yammer, which is also a messaging platform under the same parent company, you may stop and wonder which tool is better? And how are Yammer and Teams different from each other? Microsoft has designed the two to coexist side by side, each having their specialization.
Microsoft Teams is most effective when used in small groups with a common collaborative goal. It enables you to get your message to specific employees within a huge company without it getting lost amongst many other small group posts or threads. Meanwhile, Yammer is best for the whole organization’s private messaging, business engagements, and company announcements.
Skype for Business, on the other hand, is still the instant messaging and video calling service it is well known for. But Microsoft has effectively decided to phase this app out in favor of having Teams. The goal is to have the latter standing as the primary communication tool for chat-based office workspace.
Switching to Teams is a smooth transition for companies that have used Skype for Business primarily for messaging and video conferencing. However, things may not go so smoothly for those organizations that have replaced their phones with the Skype call service.
Teams, Slack, Google Hangouts, and Webex Teams
Microsoft initially planned to acquire Slack back in 2016 but eventually decided to build their own app instead. Microsoft Teams is a relative newcomer to the already thriving market for collaboration tools, but Microsoft finds its strength in their long existence in the corporate industry.
Microsoft Teams’ availability through an already existing Office 365 subscription edges out its competition. Office 365 has over 155 million users, and many will be quick to question the need to spend more on a service when the same tool is already in-hand.
Slack has many existing integrations that make it well suited for organizations and developers, such as with Salesforce CRM system. So, some users are more likely to stick with this tool.
Google Hangouts, meanwhile, also has functionalities quite similar with Teams in the sense that it has its own suite of tools that integrate, Google Docs and Gmail to name a few. It’s worth mentioning that Slack also integrates with much of the Google suite.
Then, there is Cisco’s Webex Teams, which not only shares a similar name to Microsoft Teams but also has several group messaging features. It has close collaboration as its focus as well.
The Future for Microsoft Teams
In 2018, Teams launched new functionalities that further strengthen the tool. Message translation in group chats, audio transcription, cloud recording, and enterprise calls were among the updates.
Teams has already seen a couple of updates at the beginning of 2019. One update aims to aid employees that work on the front-line, such as those on retail stores or in the healthcare industry.
Time will tell if users of these other messaging and collaboration tools will switch to Microsoft Teams in droves or not.