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Collaborative Computing: A Guide to Microsoft Teams

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Workflow platforms are nothing new, with workplaces now entirely reliant on the capabilities and enhanced connectivity that these systems provide. With an overcrowded marketplace, it can be hard to know which one you should steer your team towards, and how they differ from one another.

Microsoft Teams has emerged as a leading provider of collaborative computing, not simply leaning on the powerhouse of the Microsoft name, but engineering a system that is masterful in its own right. If you have been considering Microsoft Teams and are unsure of what to expect, here is a guide to the elite software.

What does it do?

Like any successful interface, Microsoft Teams continues to enhance its offering, and so this guide will encompass its inclusions as at the start of 2020. Microsoft Teams is a feature of the Office 365 suite, summarised as a ‘chat-based workspace in Office 365’.

Leveraging established Microsoft products, Teams can bring Outlook calendar/meetings, instant messaging (Skype), call function (Skype), SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote all in one window.

This can be incredibly effective if you have a remote, or partially remote, team or are working on a project with many moving parts. Microsoft Teams is a desktop and mobile app, and each ‘Team’ has a number of subsections and channels/threads beneath that subsection.

What’s the benefit?

Given that there are so many giants in this space that are already ingrained in many businesses (like Slack), what is the benefit to utilising Microsoft Teams? Being fully integrated with Office 365 has attracted a number of recruits and it is available at no extra cost to those using Office 365. Given the high pricing of workflow apps and platforms,

it means that small companies and startups can explore these features without a large commitment. It also houses its features nicely in the one window, reducing the chance of a disjointed or disengaged journey and subsequent low productivity. It also reduces the number of emails, with separate or group chats allowing for quick communication to be distributed more effectively and casually. 

Advanced file management

These programs were built to share data and documents, sure, but Microsoft Teams allows its users to edit, delete and copy parts of documents when they have been uploaded. If Ben uploads a client brief to his ‘Content’ channel under the ‘Marketing’ subsection, Brie can jump into that file through Teams and make an amendment to the information in the plan. There is no need to download the file, make the change, save it, and then upload again. This means that everyone is always looking at the right information without too many double-ups and drafts lingering in Teams and ready to be misused.

Handy ‘Notes’ function

Incorporating the functionality and ease-of-use of OneNote and MicrosoftWord, the Notes function in Microsoft Teams is highly useful. Without having to upload a file, users can free type into Teams and have that note accessible by all.

This is particularly handy if you have a regular group or separate calls, and need to capture the action items after the call without creating another email or creating a separate document. Team members can then jump into Notes and make a few amendments to this information, or use it as a chain where all meeting minutes and agendas are captured for all to see.

These functions are the most popular of Microsft Teams, with many other tips and tricks appealing to a select few as well as the masses. Given that this is a free platform for those with Microsoft Office, there is no harm in trialling the goods and deciding whether this is the vehicle that will drive success for your team.