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Untapped Power at Your Fingertips: Microsoft Teams

Untapped Power Blog Series

While G Suite (Google’s collection of cloud computing apps) is growing in popularity, Microsoft Office has been a business software standard since the 1990s. And Microsoft is a monster. Not in a bad or scary way, but in the sense that it is massive. It has so many programs that integrate in so many ways, it can be difficult for any professional to fully explore—and take advantage of—them all. As your trusted technology partner, we’re here to help you get more out of the tools you already have in place.

Learn about the untapped power of OneNote here.


Empower Your Teams

Communication is instantaneous these days. We text constantly, use chatbots on websites, and expect everything to be immediate. So why slow down your staff with email-only communication—or pay for third-party instant messaging or conferencing—when you can give them a business chat tool that ties into your existing productivity suite?

While Microsoft Teams does not, and should not, replace face-to-face interaction, it is an incredibly powerful option for chatting, file sharing, team meetings, and of course, integrations with the rest of the Microsoft Office suite. So here are just a few of the reasons you should consider implementing Teams for your team.

Productivity

Get answers faster. Rather than scrolling through endless amounts of emails or dissecting threads in which someone responds at the same time another person does, streamline your problem-solving discussions. You can also stop bogging down your email sending image attachments and documents you need feedback or approval on. With Teams’ persistent chat, coworkers can get quick answers from each other, share feedback in a more conversational format, save certain notes, and even be able to search through conversations for things you know you’ve talked about.

> Need critiques on a potential new design? Don’t pull everyone into a meeting that will waste extra time; use Teams.

> Want to confirm the office at the end of the hall upstairs received their package? Don’t send someone who will end up “visiting” for half an hour; get a quick response in Teams.

Mobility

With its availability as a mobile app, online application, and desktop program, Teams is accessible wherever and whenever your staff needs it. And with custom settings on the mobile app, users don’t have to be bombarded with notifications. You can set quiet hours so you don’t receive alerts when you’re trying to sleep, and you can also customize settings based on whether you’re using the desktop program so you don’t get duplicate notifications while you’re working.

> Realize you forgot something after leaving the office? Tell a coworker in Teams.

> Have an idea or question while you’re on vacation and don’t want to forget it? Put it in Teams.

Collaboration

This is the big one. Depending on the way your company is arranged, you may belong to more than one department or work group. You may serve on various committees or project teams, and you may answer to more than one supervisor. Or you may be spread out across different locations. If you’re the boss, you may simply want an easy way to see what everyone’s struggling with or how things are progressing. Teams helps you do this easily.

You can set up nearly as many teams as you want. You can make them public to the company or private. Members can request to join certain teams, and team owners can manage access. Within each team, you have channels. These channels can be used to separate certain topics or discussions. For example, if you have a Sales Department team, you could have channels for Target Prospects, Competitor Updates, Training, etc. Then within each channel you can build a Wiki of terms, definitions, or other helpful information; share files; hold meetings; plus introduce numerous integrations.

Imagine you work in Customer Service. You might find it useful to keep up with developments in the other departments. If each department has a Team and you’re allowed to join them, you’ll always know what’s going on. Where chat can be a great one-to-one or group conversation for getting quick answers, belonging to various teams allows you to see what’s happening and contribute without having to set up multiple private chats. And because you can set different privacy levels, the owner of the HR team, for example, can make that team private and choose not to include Customer Service as a member.

Integration

Did you catch the part about meetings in Teams? Since Teams is part of the Microsoft suite, it works seamlessly with Outlook, allowing you to schedule meetings without switching programs. What’s more, you can hold the meeting in Teams and record it. Once complete, the recording will be automatically transcribed and shared with the Team.

There are limitations with this, such as recordings cannot be paused—they are either recording or stopped. But considering that Teams may be free with your business subscription, it is another handy tool at the right price. Think of weekly staff meetings that can be shared with members who are out sick or on vacation. Always have a record of discussions if employees forget or if there is turnover.

And meetings are just one integration. Teams works with Planner, OneNote, and a host of other apps, connectors, and tools. One of the latest of those is Whiteboard, which you can use to draw, diagram, and redesign together…live.

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Implementing Teams

When you’re ready to save the time and money you would have spent on third-party tools, managing integrations, and setting up new users or deleting old ones, there are some considerations to discuss with your IT services provider.

  • Confirm your Office subscription includes Teams.
  • Determine the level of Sharepoint access you want to deploy. Depending on how you set up your cloud storage and file-sharing, you may want to limit or define proper company usage.
  • Introduce the tool to your staff. Giving them an overview of the different ways it can be used, the Teams that will be available, and how it will help them communicate more effectively can increase their buy-in—something that’s often missing from new software implementation.
  • Offer training. Microsoft offers a wealth of support through videos and other materials, but you can also choose to bring in an expert to get your staff up and running.

So if you have Office 365 and you’re not using Teams yet, it might be time to give it a try. Take advantage of the untapped power at your fingertips.

Questions? Contact us. We’re happy to help you find the custom solution you need.