Microsoft's business messaging platform
Microsoft has joined the collaboration market with Microsoft Teams. It is a business messaging application that sits nicely inside the Office 365 ecosystem. It combines the capabilities of predominantly text-based services, such as Slack, with video conferencing. Made for large business enterprises, it gives users a feature-complete way of conducting online meetings.
Connect with your team
Microsoft offers two ways to get a Microsoft Teams account. You can get it for your business using the Microsoft Office 365 Business or Enterprise account—where the app is included—or you can sign up for a free account—which only requires a Microsoft account. The required Microsoft account for the free version can be any kind of Microsoft ID, such as your login to Outlook.
With a free account, you can invite up to 299 other people to join you. Of course, everyone else needs to have a Microsoft account to use the app. The free version gives you access to all the primary features. You can send text-based messages, send files, and even conduct video conferences. You are also entitled to 2GB cloud storage and 10GB storage, which you can share with your team members.
Like Zoom, you can make one-on-one calls or group calls with Microsoft Teams. You can even choose to use audio only or with video. You can also enable the screen-sharing function to help you in your presentation. Anyone in your team can call you. If you don't answer, the caller can leave a voicemail-like message.
Microsoft Teams can integrate with a long list of other apps, even the free version. It especially offers tight integration with other Microsoft apps. The app supports integration to real-time content creation—Office online for the free version and Office desktop apps for paid accounts.
Microsoft Teams also integrates with some social media apps. However, if you use the free version, you will miss out on unique integration with business Office apps, including scheduled meetings and SharePoint access. You also don't get a full roster of support or security and compliance tools for admins.
Not that easy to workaround
At a glance, Microsoft Teams seems easy enough to use. It comes with two panels to display all navigation options. On the first layer, you will see all the primary tools, such as Activity, Chat, Teams, Calls, and Files. The second layer holds additional navigation options, while the large center focuses on your team's interaction,
Focusing on Teams, users can see that the Microsoft Teams' setup is unlike popular collaboration tools. For one, unlike Slack's channels, Microsoft Teams will have you compartmentalize people into teams. There is no limit to the number of teams you can create, but fair warning: the more teams you create, the harder it becomes to navigate.
Clicking on a team will direct you to your channel. But, where usual channels take you to the conversation area, in this app, a channel is merely the next layer of organization. Each channel has tabs, and the Conversation tab is where the discussions take place,
The conversation tab is among the three default tabs to every channel, along with Files and Wiki. You can keep these tabs and even delete them. You can also add new tabs. Microsoft Teams has a wide variety of tabs you can add, including Excel, OneNote, PDFs, Youtube, Trello, and Zoho CRM. However, adding tabs in the channel may make navigation even harder since your team will need to check each tab to see new content.
Communicate and collaborate
Taking things into consideration, Microsoft Teams is an app well-suited to organizations. It has all the basics of a competent and collaborative video conferencing service. The app also earns points for being highly customizable, supporting a wide range of apps and service integration. It is a bit harder to navigate than its competition. But if you get past that hurdle, your team's communication and collaboration will be a lot easier.