An introduction to Microsoft Teams

July 26, 2021

An introduction to Microsoft Teams

Due to Covid-19 and the sudden global adoption of virtual meetings, you will almost certainly have heard of Microsoft Teams. It is one of the major video conferencing platforms available, alongside Zoom, Google meetings and almost countless others. But did you know that Teams isn’t just for video conferencing and calling? In fact it is so much more powerful than that. It is in fact a “persistent chat-based collaboration platform”. If you’re using it right then Teams can be a pivotal focal point of your projects and communications with your clients.

So let’s dive in and see what it can do:

Teams and channels

Within the teams application you can setup ‘teams’ and ‘channels’. These are a central point where all members can go to not only have message conversations but you can also create folders, store documents and also utilise many of the other powerful Microsoft 365 apps. For example, you can create to do list boards and assign these to team members or you can create campaign calendars to highlight key milestones. These are just two examples of how this can become a focal point for a project or team collaborating together. And within this you have the message board so you can update other team members on what you’re doing.

You can create as many teams or channels as you like and invite external people to be members. Want to have a working area for you and your client to collaborate on the work you are doing for them? This is the way to do it. You can easily manage your clients, see exactly what has been done and by whom and update them with the messaging centre. It even sends email notifications and keeps archive versions of documents and you can work on the documents collaboratively through the in Teams and in browser versions of the app.

Conversation within the channels and teams

Within these working areas that you create, all team members can view and comment on different conversations. You can use the @ function to flag a comment to a particularly user, which will trigger an alert to them as well. In fact it works very like other apps such as Slack or Skype.

Chat

You don’t just have to use the conversation board. You can setup direct chats with individuals or a small group of team members. This is exactly like Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and the like.

Document Storage

Every team that is created within the Teams apps gets a SharePoint Online ‘site’ which allows the document library to be used. Every file that is uploaded across any conversations or directly into the document library will be stored in the SharePoint document library with version control also then applied as documents evolve. You can either setup specific access permissions to make sure any sensitive information is only available to the correct people.

Online Video Calling

Of course this is the area of teams we all know. The Teams interface is now as sophisticated as most on the market and allows you to invite people to meetings and then on the meeting share screens, view each other on camera and also send messages. If you’ve integrated your Teams into Outlook you can manage your invites directly from Outlook or create events in the Teams app and they will instantly sync to your Outlook application.

Audio Conferencing

This isn’t quite the same as video calling. Audio conferencing allows people to join the Teams call via a phone rather than needing to use the app. With this dial-in number that spans hundreds of countries around the world, anyone can join even if they are only on a mobile signal rather than the internet.

Direct Dial Numbers – Using Teams for virtual phone lines

You can one step further with Teams. Get rid of landline numbers or even VOIP and instead use Teams for your phone setup. You can configure teams to be your direct dial phone line and also manage general numbers with hunt group numbers that cycle through different people until someone is available. You can also configure option menus and call direction depending on who the caller needs to speak to. Teams can be your complete Telephony solution without any of the costly overheads of hardware. Just install the app on your phone and you’ve got your direct dial phone number coming directly to the app. If you still like the comfort of a desk phone then you can also get handsets that use Teams as well!

Ideal for business both big and small

As you can see, Teams brings a lot of different functions of the business together under one roof. But it is also affordable making it a fantastic point from which a business can grow, as well as scale for larger businesses.

For as little ~£12 per month per user you can have the full technical solutions with all of the above. And you only need to purchase a calls package on top of this, again with packages starting from only a few pounds a month, to have all your telephony virtualised. Teams really is one of the most powerful business and collaboration tools on the market.

Get started transforming the way your business works

Want to find out how Teams can transform your business? Why not get in touch and we can discuss getting you onto the Microsoft 365 platform.

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