Microsoft want you to join their Team
Recently there has been a flurry of activity at Microsoft, resulting in a steady release of new features, functionality and tools into preview and production. At an event in New York last Wednesday, Microsoft announced their latest offering – ‘Microsoft Teams’.
Teams is a chat-based workspace in Office 365, positioning itself as a serious contender to similar tools like Slack or HipChat. Using the established channels created through Office 365, like IM, calendars, meetings, notes, and planning tools, Microsoft Teams is able to leverage all areas of the Office 365 suite, in order to provide a completely integrated space for team collaboration.
During the preview period, IT Admins are able to turn on Teams for their Office 365 environment. This post will explain how to get started with step by step instructions on enabling Teams for your tenant, creating your first Team, adding team members, channels and tabs, and will note some of the integrations across the Office 365 suite.
Enabling Teams for your tenant
Step 1: Go into the Admin Portal, and expand ‘Settings’, then click ‘Services & add-ins’
Step 2: Search and select ‘Microsoft Teams’ from the options available.
Step 3: A window will open on the right-hand side – click the button that turns on Microsoft Teams, then configure your settings as shown below. There are various features that you can choose to enable, or amend – we’ll take a closer look at some of these below.
Step 4: Take your time when reviewing the settings. Once you’re happy and have saved your settings, close the window, and Microsoft Teams should be enabled for your organisation.
Office 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams
It’s important to be aware that once an Admin has enabled Microsoft Teams, users organisation-wide will have the ability create teams by default. Like Office 365 Groups, you can turn off team creation in your Azure AD settings – so presumably only Admins can then create teams, but this is not particularly clear in the support information Microsoft has made available at the time of writing.
You may notice a lot of similarities between Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups, this is because they are similar in design and configuration. The group creation settings that you have defined for Office 365 Groups automatically applies to Microsoft Teams, and it’s also possible to add Teams functionality into an Office 365 Group.
Creating a Team
Step 1: To add your first Team, go into the ‘Teams’ section of the application and click on ‘Create team’ in the bottom left corner. As you can see, we already have one set up, but the same process applies if this is your first one.
Step 2: Add in a name and description for your Team. This will appear when your members are notified about their membership, so it’s good practice to add in a brief description – so that your users understand why they have been included.
Step 3: At the bottom of the screenshot above, you can see that there is an option to add Microsoft Teams functionality to an existing Office 365 Group. To do this, just click on ‘Yes, add Microsoft Teams functionality’. In this instance, I can create a Team from my Office 365 Group ‘Events and Conferences’, and it will automatically include all members. Even though you are able to store files, notes, and conversations in Microsoft Teams, if you already have files, notebooks or conversations associated with your Group these will not transfer over to your team automatically. You will have to continue to access them via the Group or manually transfer them to your team.
Add Team members
Adding team members is extremely simple. As you can see in the image above, the first tile gives you the option to ‘Add more people’. Just click on the button and add anyone you need. You can also do this by clicking on the three dots next to the Team name, and selecting ‘Add members’.
Add a Channel to your team
Unlike Office 365 Groups, you can create ‘Channels’ within Teams. These are sub-sections of a Team, and can be used for specific activities or projects within a larger Team. This is a useful way of separate areas of a project, but the channel remains in full view of the entire team. All Team members are able to see the conversations, notes and files in a channel, even if they are not directly part of it.
Step 1: Click the tile ‘Create more channels’, located in the middle of the Welcome page, or you can click on the three dots next to the team name, and choose ‘Add channel’.
Step 2: Add in the name and description of your channel, in the same way that you did for your team, and click ‘Add’. You should be able to see your new channel, located just under your Team name. As you can see, this Team has two channels now: General, and Ignite 2017.
Add Tabs to your Team
If your team relies on specific applications regularly, you can add Tabs, so that they’re easily accessible. To do this, click on the ‘+’ on the top navigation panel, and select the apps you would like to include.
A few more tips to help you need to get started:
Once you have the workspace configured the way you want it, your team can get working. Your members will be able to chat, share files, and hold one-to-one calls or group meetings. There are FAQs built into Microsoft Teams to help your users navigate the tool. If you have enabled the ‘Bot’ functionality, you will also have a ‘T-Bot’ which will answer simple questions about Teams. The responses aren’t always perfect (as you might expect from a Bot), but if you need basic guidance, you can plug in your questions here, and see whether the T-Bot can help.
Teams on the go
There are a number of ways to access Teams, you can use the desktop or web application, and there are also mobile applications for Windows, Android, and iOS – so that your teams are still able to connect when they’re on the move. The images below are examples of the UI on the iOS application.
As Microsoft Teams has only just entered Preview for Office 365 users, we’re likely to see numerous feature updates and refinements as time goes on. If you use Office 365, but rely on other applications or third party services for team collaboration and communication – why not enable Microsoft Teams and see if its current functionality can contend with your existing tools?
Want to know more about when and why you should choose Microsoft Teams?
We will follow up this blog with a closer look at some of the features, an exploration of the possible use cases for Microsoft Teams, and an evaluation of some of the advantages and limitations of selecting this tool when compared to similar services on the market.
Cogmotive is the leading global provider of enterprise level reporting and analytics applications for Office 365. Find out more now.