• Lisa O'Sullivan

Everything You Need To Know To Get Started With Microsoft Teams

Has your company implemented Microsoft Teams yet? Have you been thinking about it but aren't sure where to start or which resources are useful?

Slater Hill has implemented Teams within our organization and are seeing clear results: easier collaboration, less email and more engagement across the board.

Pivotal to the successful implementation in our organization was understanding the purpose behind Teams as a new tool, and educating our whole team about when to use Teams and how, and when NOT to use Teams.

To help you get started with Teams with as much ease and understanding as possible, Slater Hill has put together this guide for you: 'Everything You Need To Know To Get Started With Microsoft Teams'.

Let's start with an explanation of Microsoft Teams.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is "the hub for teamwork in Office 365". Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace with deep integration across Office 365, giving your team built-in access to everything they need.

Within Teams you can:

  • Manage all your conversations, files, and tools in one team workspace;

  • Enjoy instant access to SharePoint, OneNote, Power BI, and Planner;

  • Create and edit documents right in the app;

  • Keep the team in the loop with email integration; and

  • Search across people, files, and chats with intelligence from Microsoft Graph [1].

Microsoft Teams Product History

Microsoft Teams was launched in November 2016 at an event in New York [2]. Teams was made available in preview for Office 365 customers who have Enterprise or Business plans. The launch of Microsoft Teams caused a huge stir and was heralded as Microsoft going head-to-head with Slack [3].

As of March 2017, Microsoft Teams is available to Office 365 customers across 181 markets worldwide and in 19 languages.

Guest access was a big announcement on September 11, 2017, with the rollout to all Office 365 commercial and education customers. This update allows Office 365 users to add people from outside their company to a team, so guests can participate in chats, join meetings, collaborate on documents, and more [4].

Most recently, on September 25, 2017, Microsoft announced that they are bringing Skype for Business Online capabilities into Microsoft Teams and that Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, replacing the current Skype for Business client over time [5].

Why Does Microsoft Teams Matter?

The adoption of Microsoft Teams seemed slow to start, with some critics writing that the product was a flop. However, in the last few months, the familiarity and support for Microsoft Teams has grown. For those who are Office 365 users already, it seems an easy decision to make - get onboard with Microsoft Teams; there is no need to look for a chat product external to the Microsoft suite.

As of September 2017, Microsoft Teams is being used by 125,000 organizations in 181 markets, and Microsoft has 100 million active Office 365 users [6].

Getting Started With Microsoft Teams

There are five basic components of Microsoft Teams [7]:

1. Teams: Teams are collections of people, content and tools that center around different projects and jobs within an organization, e.g., you could have a Team for Sales, for Marketing and for HR. Members within a Team can have conversations, share files and notes, and more. A Team can be set to private or public (within your organization).

2. Channels: A Channel is how you organize conversations within Teams. You can set up your channels however you like - by topic, by project, by event, etc. Channels are open to everyone on the team - everyone can see the discussions and shared documents within a Channel. You cannot create a private Channel. Within a Channel, you can reply to posts, like a post and flag a post for later.

3. Chat: Teams also has a chat function where you can chat privately one-on-one with colleagues, or with a small group. Alternatively, to bring a conversation to someone's attention within a channel, you can @mention them in your post in the channel.

4. Meetings: Teams allows you to launch a voice or video call from within a Channel or a private chat. Our experience with this tool has been great; the call quality is always very good. Within a call, you can screen share and chat, and the call is visible in the chat history for people who missed it.

5. Integrating tools: Tabs allow you to set up your Channels with the tools and services your team needs. A Files and Notes tab is automatically built in to each Channel, and you can add tabs for additional tools such as PowerPoint presentations, Powel BI reports or SharePoint Sites, all available within the Channel for your team to access, discuss and collaborate.

Going Deeper - Resources For Learning More About Microsoft Teams

Now that you have the basics, we have curated a list of useful resources (in a logical sequence) to take your exploration and education of Microsoft Teams further, to give you all of the information that you need to get started with Microsoft Teams and to have a successful implementation within your organization. We have included a mix of articles and videos.

(1) Introducing Microsoft Teams - https://youtu.be/nKU-FMzZFF0

A short video from Microsoft showing what is possible with Microsoft Teams and showing a short showcase of a few organizations that have implemented Teams.

(2) Overview of Microsoft Teams - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-overview

An article from Microsoft giving an overview of the Microsoft Teams infrastructure, how Microsoft Teams fits within the Office 365 suite of products and providing common use cases for each application in the Office 365 suite.

(3) Microsoft Teams: Step-by-step Intro For Using, Enabling and Managing the Experience - https://youtu.be/tAqAtI6K7NY

A run-through of Microsoft Teams from the Microsoft Mechanics team, giving a step-by-step introduction to using, enabling and managing the experience within Teams. This video guide walks you through the main application features and demonstrates how your teams can connect to external services using connectors.

(4) Microsoft Teams and What You Need To Know in IT - https://youtu.be/OExcGpyJjvI

A recording of Microsoft Ignite Session: THR2246 by Microsoft Mechanics. This recording looks at the unification of Skype for Business into Microsoft Teams, plus what the adoption of Microsoft Teams means for IT and your management controls, and what to plan for.

(5) Microsoft Teams Documentation and Practical Guidance - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/microsoft-teams (6-part guide)

This is an excellent and comprehensive resource. Microsoft has put together a six-part library of documentation and practical guidance, starting with the Getting Started phase and leading you through fast-tracking your deployment, Cloud voice deployment, your journey from Skype For Business to Microsoft Teams, training and videos, and trouble-shooting issues within Microsoft Teams and getting support.

We hope that you find our "Everything You Need To Know To Get Started With Microsoft Teams" guide to be useful and information.

To explore how Slater Hill can help you get the maximum benefit out of your Office 365 / Microsoft 365 subscription, please contact us on (416) 515 1161 or contact us via email: sales@slaterhill.com.

Additional Resource

Have you heard of the Microsoft Productivity Library? This tools helps you to discover what is possible with Microsoft 365 by showing you how Microsoft 365 makes work easier for you, filtered by industry, roles and products. Definitely worth a look to find out how you could be better using Microsoft 365: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/success/productivitylibrary.


[1] https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

[2] https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2016/11/02/introducing-microsoft-teams-the-chat-based-workspace-in-office-365/

[3] https://www.techrepublic.com/article/microsoft-launches-teams-goes-to-war-with-chat-giant-slack/

[4] https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/09/11/expand-your-collaboration-with-guest-access-in-microsoft-teams/

[5] https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/09/25/a-new-vision-for-intelligent-communications-in-office-365/

[6] https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/09/11/expand-your-collaboration-with-guest-access-in-microsoft-teams/

[7] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/success/productivitylibrary/provide-a-chat-based-workspace

#MicrosoftTeams #collaboration #Office365 #employeeengagement


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