Initial thoughts of Microsoft Teams

The veil has been lifted and Microsoft Teams (formerly known as Skype Teams) has now entered Public Preview. This product it’s Microsoft’s response to Slack, similar to Planner is their response to Trello.

A few months ago I wrote about my experiences with Slack, of which my personal opinion was: not for me.

Does this mean I don’t think it has a place? Absolutely not.

Do I think this spells the death of Yammer? Again – absolute not!

The reality is that every organisation, department, group/team and individual work in different modalities. Some of this is driven by age and ability to change, others are driven by way of work, physical locality, nature of work, and so forth.

Microsoft has always been about providing choice. The days of it dictating from the ivory towers of Redmond (which are really only about 3-4 stories high in reality) are gone. We are now faced with the other end of the spectrum: too many choices. In the early days of Office 365 we primarily had two forms of communication modalities: Outlook and Lync (now known as Skype for Business). Then came along Yammer, then Office 365 Groups, and now Microsoft Teams.

So which one is right for you, your team or your organisation? There is no right answer – just what works for you.

The below diagram does a good job of presenting the options available to communicate within Office 365:

Through the Office 365 platform and the Office Graph, Microsoft is integrating a number of different modalities and technologies to work together and focus around the user – not the location of specific technology.

While Yammer is integrated in with Office 365 it is still not integrated with Office 365 Groups and Skype for Business – but that is coming. Microsoft Teams on the other hand does integrate with Office 365 Groups and Skype for Business Online.

Right now there are a lot of people rushing out to set up Teams in their Office 365 tenant and inviting people into them. The problem with this approach is the same that was and still is faced with Yammer. Microsoft Teams presents users with a new communication modality – something they are not necessarily used to or even wanting.

It is important with the adoption of new technologies that they be evaluated and a proper change management strategy with sustained adoption plan created before the implementation takes place.

As a starting point I strongly suggest people look at these two courses available for free on the Microsoft Virtual Academy:

Introduction to Microsoft Teams

This session will explain why Microsoft Teams is the chat-based workspace in Office 365. With Microsoft Teams, all your team conversations and context – all the related files, notes and content – are kept together in one place and easily accessible by everyone on the team, with everything tightly integrated with the other Office 365 apps you use. Learn how Microsoft Teams will help your team to communicate more effectively.


Deploy and manage Microsoft Teams

This session will go into detail what IT Pros need to consider when enabling Microsoft Teams for their users. We will go walk through the process for rolling out Microsoft Teams and configuring the infrastructure, as well as taking a closer look at the supporting technologies for Microsoft Teams.