Slack, HipChat, Spark…. Microsoft Teams!
Microsoft Teams is the latest collaboration application providing a method for people and teams to communicate and collaborate. Teams group persistent conversations with the ability to contain files, and notes provided by OneNote Online. Conversation have the ability to escalate to a video call and provide desktop sharing.
Teams is capable of scheduling meetings. When joining a scheduled meeting the client automatically enables audio and video by default.
Enabling Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is now available for Office 365 tenants. It’s easy to enable and its functionality is available for all active accounts within the tenant.
- Sign into Office 365 portal
- Select Admin
- Settings > Services & add-ins. Select Microsoft Teams
- Select Turn Microsoft Teams on
- Save > Close
Sign in to Teams
Teams is accessible via web browser, Windows app, and mobile.
- Open web browser and open https://teams.microsoft.com
- Enter login details > Sign in
- And you’re in!
The desktop app is available from the web client that displays a bar across the top of the teams web page providing a download button.
Teams is available for both iOS and Android. The iOS app functioned without issue however the Android app wouldn’t complete an initial setup on first login. Not sure if a wide spread issue or not.
So what’s in Teams?
On the left side of the interface is a sidebar comprising of profile, activity type, and settings.
- Profile – Displays photo, status, saved messages, and activity
- Activity – Notifications such as mentions, likes, replies, and links to recent chats
- Chat – This is where you can add contacts from your organisation to begin a chat. Chat seems to be more impromptu than teams.
- Teams – Teams are groups of people who have access to a particular conversation and any files or notes contained within it.
- Meetings – Teams based meetings with contacts from own organisation containing audio/video and chat window.
- Files – Recent files, files stored in any team conversations you are part of, or stored on OneDrive.
- Feedback – Tell Microsoft what you really think!
- Settings – Change themes, notification settings, logout, etc
Starting a chat
- Click on the chat icon
- Next to the search bar click the new conversation icon (highlighted in yellow)
- A new chat window opens. Type in the name or email address of contact(s) to begin chatting with.
When chat commences a number of options present themselves
- Star – Favorite a chat. It’ll then show up on your profile screen under saved.
- Video, Audio, and add participant buttons
- Conversation – Text conversations sent between all present in the chat session
- Files – Upload and view files in current conversation
- Notes – OneNote Online integration
- Organisation – Not currently enabled on my tenant. Will need to look further into this.
- Activity – Displays activity of the chat participents in other Teams discussions.
- Select Teams icon > Create team
- Enter team details > Next
- Add contacts to team chat
- Once created the initial screen displays
- Add more people
- Create more channels
- Open the FAQ
Once created Teams contain conversations, files, and notes. Teams can contain channels that are separate conversations within a team.
Meetings are a method to invite participants into a meeting taking place in a team channel. Joining a meeting initiates chat, audio, and video.
Creating a Meeting
- Select Meetings Icon > Schedule Meeting
- When creating a meeting select the Team and Channel to be included, date and time, participants, and short description > Schedule
Once scheduled meetings display in the meetings tab and contain a join button.
Joining a Meeting
- Select Meeting icon > Select Meeting > Join
Meeting in progress!
Contains list of all files you have access to uploaded during chats, team chats, or placed onto one drive. Files can be opened or downloaded from this location.
Microsoft Teams has made a promising start yet raises the question as to whether it may confuse potential users due to duplication of functionality of Yammer, Skype for Business, and Teams. Converging these products into a single application could be of benefit and providing better interoperability should help adoption and simplify workflow. Should you use Skype for Business for video? What about presence state between the applications which are not currently reflected? I also believe participants must be from the same organisation and providing federation would help collaboration between separate organisations that have a need to work collaboratively.