Published: 10 February 2022

Rewind two years and Microsoft Teams was a relatively new platform that few businesses had embraced.

Yet, as a result of the pandemic, the communications and collaboration application has become a core staple of many companies working day.

We take a closer look at the platform and its functionality, so you can ensure you’re making the most of what Microsoft Teams has to offer.

The Basics

Microsoft Teams is a business communication platform that is part of the Microsoft 365 family, which includes Outlook, SharePoint, Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Its core components are instant/direct messaging between individuals or groups, message boards and video conferencing (both internal and external).

You can also use it as a traditional telephone system for inbound/outbound calls to and from landlines and mobiles, making it a good alternative to VOIP phone systems. It includes features such as call parking, voicemail, voicemail to email with transcription and conference calling.

Microsoft Teams has well developed mobile phone and tablet applications and it has centrally managed security and administration.

Teams replaced other Microsoft business messaging and collaboration platforms, such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Classroom. As of 2021, Teams had about 250 million monthly users.

What makes Teams Different from other Communications Tools?

Teams is very much integrated into the Microsoft 365 platform and it allows you to collaborate and communicate efficiently. For example, you can share and post Microsoft emails and documents in Teams. It’s this integration that makes it different from Zoom – which started out as purely a web/video conferencing platform. That said, Microsoft Teams now has the ability to integrate with external video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom and Cisco Webex.

And whilst the instant messaging service Slack may be suited to internal company messaging, it does not have the integration and collaboration with other Microsoft applications that are so frequently embedded within organisations.

Should my Company be Using Teams?

Said Lifeline IT’s Daniel: “If you have a Microsoft 365 license package, it’s likely you will have Teams included, so you should really be using it as you are already paying for it. Unless there is a particularly strong business reason not to use Teams, most companies embrace it.

“People think it’s just for external communication, but you can get a lot out of Teams if you use it amongst your workforce – here at Lifeline IT, it’s one of our top three internal systems.

“Its use will reach far beyond the pandemic and home working – Teams will continue to be a key part of the workplace. It’s ideal for when you have staff at multiple offices that need to communicate with each other. We’ve found it particularly useful since we opened our Peterborough office last year, as the engineers can communicate effectively between our two sites.”

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