Written by Noel Thompson, Director of Global Support at Conosco
Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform that elevates collaboration, simplifies communications and empowers a remote workforce. According to a survey by Forrester, the top three business objectives for implementing Teams are:
- To increase employee productivity
- Improve collaboration across the organisation
- Enable organisations to innovate faster
For many businesses, Microsoft Teams is a key component of their digital transformation strategy. As organisations move away from legacy infrastructure to more agile cloud-based solutions, the way we connect has become more diverse with a multitude of communication methods to choose from. 88% of surveyed businesses said that having all of their solutions in one place within Teams has saved them time and enabled them to work more efficiently.
With employees and customers expecting faster responses and more human connections, Microsoft Teams has rapidly become a popular choice for business. In this blog, you’ll discover 6 benefits of Microsoft Teams including:
- Streamlined communications
- Fewer emails
- Faster responses and improved customer experiences
- Stay in touch anywhere, anytime
- Host smarter meetings
- Improve collaboration and productivity
Key Features of Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams offers numerous features:
Chat Function – The chat function enables you to connect with individuals, teams or groups via instant messaging. You can attach documents and use emojis, stickers, and GIFs to add an element of fun to conversations.
Teams and Channels – Teams are made up of groups of people that are working together on projects or have a common interest. They form two different types of channels; a standard channel that is available to everyone or a private channel that has a specific audience and focus. A channel is usually formed around a topic for example ‘Work Party’ or a department. Within a channel, you can collaborate on documents, host meetings or have conversations.
File storage within SharePoint Integration – Teams integrates with SharePoint to allow for easy file sharing and storage. Employees can easily collaborate on a range of documents without having to leave Teams.
Online Video Conferencing – Teams offers high-quality video conferencing with those inside and outside your business, even those who don’t have Teams. Video conferencing also allows you to share your screen and enables you to give desktop access for fast technical assistance.
Audio Conferencing – This feature enables people to dial into a meeting whilst on the go, regardless of whether they have internet access.
Online Meetings – Teams enables users to host meetings of up to 10,000 users. It offers a sophisticated meeting calendar that assists with scheduling.
Security and Privacy – Microsoft Teams has built-in security features and administrative tools to help you keep your data, documents and conversations protected.
Benefits of Microsoft Teams
Effective communication between teammates is critical to a company’s success.
Every company will want to structure Teams in a way that fits their environment. They may want to create dedicated department channels or have company-wide channels that cover different projects, topics or events. They may also want to create fun, informal channels that encourage friendly employee interactions and help promote company culture.
When you first introduce Teams to your business ensuring you have specific channels in place will give your organisation a strong foundation on which to encourage collaboration.
To avoid information overload Teams allows users to choose which channels are appropriate to them and which they want to ‘hide’ so as not to receive updates. Spending time with each employee during onboarding to ensure they have the correct channels set up will help you streamline communications.
You may also choose to have “critical” channels whereby all employees receive notifications about important changes or urgent incidences that require attention.
With Microsoft Teams long email chains become a thing of the past. Many of us will remember the days when an email conversation could spawn another discussion that was completely off topic and that everyone would then get spammed with thanks to the ‘reply all’ button.
With Teams, conversations can be held in a structured way. Group members can attach documents that are readily available within the ‘Files’ section of the conversation. And for questions that require a quick, short response the Chat function is ideal.
Fast responses and improved customer experiences
Employees and customers are used to having services on-demand and receiving quick resolutions to problems. With more streamlined communication and real-time interactions via Chat, your employees can speed up decision making and response times. This drives innovation, allows organisations to implement change faster and more importantly, enables you to provide a better customer experience.
Stay in touch anywhere, anytime
The number of people using Teams skyrocketed during the pandemic. Although Teams was released in 2017 to rival Slack, its true capabilities came to the forefront when mass remote working took hold. Almost overnight fixed office handsets became redundant. Businesses were forced to find a solution that could enable their teams to continue to make calls, host meetings, collaborate and stay connected regardless of their location and without the need for costly infrastructure to be installed.
Microsoft Teams has given businesses a platform that can be used across a variety of Windows, Mac iPhone/iPad and Android devices. All employees need is company login credentials, an internet connection and the Teams app in order to communicate from anywhere at any time.
Host smarter meetings
Preparing for a meeting can be tricky at the best of times but it can seem even more daunting when working from home. Teams make things simpler.
Your Outlook and Teams calendar is in perfect sync meaning you do not need to leave the Teams app when booking meetings. Easily schedule meetings and start sharing the agenda, files and any notes you might need.
You may choose to host a video meeting adding a more human element to your interaction or you might want to run the meeting via audio. Either way, Teams has some amazing in-meeting tools and features such as the ability to record your session, Chat, share screens, take notes or use a Whiteboard.
Improve collaboration and productivity
Two heads are better than one, and within Microsoft Teams you’ll have all the functionality you need to enable employees to collaborate on projects without ever having to leave the app.
Teams is integrated with the Microsoft 365 suite making it a seriously powerful tool that its competitors struggle to match. Employees can create PowerPoint, Excel and Word documents within Teams and share them with colleagues who can simultaneously co-author the document. Teams is also integrated with SharePoint. Any document added to Teams will automatically be stored on your SharePoint Intranet and each channel will have its own folder.
By having all platforms integrated your organisation will have better version control and become more productive.