31 Jul Looking Beneath the Surface – Exploring the hidden depths of Teams
Internal communication is a never-ending challenge for many businesses across all sectors. The adoption of remote working brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, meaning having the most effective communication tools has never been more important.
There’s no lack of choice when it comes to communication platforms. There are countless options all vying for the attention of business owners, and while many of these are very good we advise MS 365 customers to look no further than Microsoft Teams for their communication needs. This single-pane-of-glass platform has communication and collaboration all sewn up thanks to a comprehensive set of features and deep integration within the Microsoft 365 environment.
Is poor communication stifling your business’ productivity?
Many businesses are reluctant to innovate when it comes to communication, and prefer to stick with what they know – email!
We’re not for one minute suggesting that businesses get rid of Email; it’s vital and will remain so for the foreseeable future. However, it has its limitations. Collaboration, for example, is a challenge that Email struggles to address. Email conversations tend to be slow, clunky and siloed. Discussion isn’t ‘live,’ and as such, it can be a tedious tool to use for group discussions. It also isn’t optimised for mass file-sharing making collaboration on documents tricky.
This last point is one of the greatest weaknesses of Email. Email attachments have size limits and sending attachments can be risky due to a loss of administrative control – you may not have full control over where a file ends up or who sees it. Additionally, many email services are not designed with file-sharing in mind particularly, so it can be a hard task trying to manage and keep track of all the documents you have shared with both colleagues and those outside your business.
Optimise collaboration and fast-track group discussion with the best tool available – Microsoft Teams
Instead of utilising a range of apps to tackle communication challenges, Microsoft teams incorporates all the essential components (instant messaging, calendar, video conferencing and more) into one platform so your team can avoid the ‘clutter’ of having a million different apps open on their desktop. As it’s deeply integrated into the fabric of Microsoft 365 compatibility is never an issue, and it’s the ability to ‘talk to’ other applications within the Microsoft family in addition to thousands of third-party apps means you can unify collaboration in one easy-to-navigate, intelligently designed space. Let’s look at some of its main components:
- Instant Messaging. Instant messaging capabilities are absolutely essential in the modern workplace. Email is great in situations where formality is required – talking to prospective clients for example – but using it to accomplish simple tasks can turn what would be a 2-minute conversation into hours of waiting! Teams’ feature-rich instant messaging interface lets you chat with up to 250 (yes, that many!) individuals in real-time. The ‘status’ feature lets you see who’s online at a glance, Sharepoint and OneDrive integration let you share files effortlessly, and the ‘meeting’ function lets you schedule meetings easily, keeping everyone in the team on the same page.
- Real-time document editing. Using Windows webs apps, Teams lets multiple collaborators working on the same document in real-time; this speeds up document editing and allows you to remain in control of your files (they never have to leave your cloud storage).
- Teams and Channels. When you store documents you typically arrange them into files and subfolders. Well, that is exactly how ‘teams’ and ‘channels’ work only they let you organise your group discussions. ‘Teams’ function as the main folder – the place where you gather the group together for collaboration pertaining to a broad topic. ‘Channels’ function as subfolders, allowing you to focus discussion on a more specific topic that lies within the scope of the broader one. Assemble ‘groups’ so only those relevant to the topic being discussed can participate in each discussion, or alternatively set a chat to ‘public’ and get your entire workforce involved.
- Video/audio conferencing. Derived from the well-known ‘Skype’ platform, Teams’ audio and video conferencing feature allow you to assemble up to 250 attendees for meetings. Ideal for bringing together a remote workforce and keeping everyone engaged and motivated.
- Single-source-of-truth communication solution. While good applications can certainly drive productivity, using too many separate apps – each performing a niche function – can often be counterproductive. Teams combine the features of multiple apps into one platform, and should you need to use another application you can bring it under the roof of the Teams user interface. This makes collaboration smoother as your team won’t have to alternate between numerous app windows and will be better able to focus on the task at hand.
How can we help?
Here at VaraTech, we offer a broad range of IT support and consultancy services that aim to help small businesses extract maximum value from their IT. From proactive network monitoring/maintenance and hardware leasing to Cloud services, VoIP telephony and much more, we help our clients identify and roll-out the best-fit solutions for their businesses.
We’re cloud computing experts! We can help your business leverage the potential of some of the most empowering Cloud services, such as Microsoft 365. Why not get in touch today, to discover how the flexibility, scalability cost-efficiency, convenience and security of Cloud services can help your business realise its potential.