Microsoft announced their ‘new vision for intelligent communications’ recently at the Microsoft Ignite 2017 conference, which is to move towards merging everyday communication tasks that users navigate daily into a single application or teamwork hub in Office 365. The typical knowledge worker switches between many different Microsoft applications throughout their work day when interacting with files, meetings, conversations, phone calls, etc. Microsoft is paving the way for their Teams application to be the core communications client for collaborating as a group within Office 365.
Microsoft Teams was launched worldwide in March 2017 and is available to subscribers with the following plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium and Enterprise E1, E3, and E5. At the core, Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat and teamwork hub for Office 365. Built on top of Office 365 Groups and SharePoint, Microsoft Teams can tie together other Office 365 applications into a single client including Exchange, OneDrive and Skype for Business.
At a high level, Teams has two main structures:
Should be seen as a collection of users, tools and content organized around a job role or department. Both public and private teams are available and can integrate with existing security controls in Azure AD.
Located within a Team and are dedicated sections where conversations, files and notes are stored based on department, ongoing projects or any topic that needs a collaboration space. As Skype functionality becomes more integrated, Teams will be the main client for IM, Voice, persistent chat sessions, and hosting meetings.
Microsoft Teams Use Cases
Teams is well suited for organizations that are looking to extend more teamwork and collaboration between their business units. Below are a few use cases to think about when considering if Teams is the right fit.
To deliver on Microsoft’s intelligent communications vision, Skype for Business Online conferencing and voice features will be merging into the Teams client over the next year. Organizations currently using Skype Online can slowly transition their users to Microsoft Teams over time and both the Skype and Teams client can run side by side until adoption requirements are met.
Microsoft is providing a Roadmap to help you navigate the road to Teams and Skype for Business. This site lists the currently planned updates and stages of development.
For additional information, follow the Office 365 Roadmap.
Microsoft Teams feature releases in 2017:
- Audio Conferencing (Preview): Teams meetings will allow for dial in access to an audio conference with the Skype Audio Conferencing licenses.
- Guest Access: Allow guest access to Teams for people outside your organization
- iOS and Android support: Meeting join capabilities
Microsoft Teams feature releases in 2018:
- Teams IM: Screen sharing during chat and federation between organizations
- Teams Meeting Room: Cloud video interop capabilities that allow third party meeting devices to connect to Teams
- Teams Calling: Skype for Business calling capabilities for Teams
- SIP Phone Support: Use existing Skype qualified SIP phones with Teams Calling
- Hybrid Connection to Teams: Enables the use of on-premises PRI or SIP trunks for calling services
- Enterprise Calling Features: Extension dialing, Call Forwarding, e911, Auto Attendant and Call Queues
- Teams Meeting Transcription: Teams Meetings can be recorded and stored in Teams along with a transcription of the meetings.
As Teams and Skype merge, there will be a gradual transition into Teams. Customers should continue their Skype Voice Projects. The functionality that is added now will gradually transition to the Teams Client. To prepare for those changes and for more information about Teams and Skype for Business, contact Interlink Cloud Advisors today!
About the author
Matt Scherocman brings more than 25 years of experience in the information technology industry to Interlink Cloud Advisors. His experience includes both the system integrator and manufacturer sides of the business. During his time at the Microsoft Corporation, he was responsible for all the Large Account Reseller (LAR) relationships in the four state Heartland Area of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Prior to Microsoft, Scherocman led a Cincinnati based IT consulting company to grow 5000% and become a Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year. He is actively involved in the strategic vision and operation decisions of the company including finance, selling strategy and marketing. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business degree from Miami University and is a Certified Expert in Microsoft licensing including speaking engagements at both Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference and Channel Partner Summit. He is a frequent contributor to leading industry publications.
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