Microsoft Teams is a business messaging app; incorporating video conferencing, VoIP, outbound PSTN calls and instant messaging into one app. At its core, Teams is a development of Skype for Business. The name changed over in 2017, and Microsoft has since put some work into developing its features and integration. Best of all of the changes, perhaps, is that the basic version of Microsoft Teams is now completely free to use, and anyone with an email address can easily sign up for an account within minutes. A paid subscription to Microsoft Teams is included in Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Business Standard packages, and may be included with custom Enterprise packages also.
If you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground for Business IT-related news during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll probably know that Microsoft Teams has been invaluable to some teams who have been separated due to having to work from home.
At the start of the pandemic, the massive surge in users caused some issues for Microsoft, but they were able to push more power and capacity into the Teams systems at short notice, meaning outages were minimal and services were quickly restored. When your business relies on a platform like this, outages can mean lost business, lost revenue and frustrated employees, so it’s good news that Microsoft was able to increase the capacity of their systems to cope. Almost two months on, Teams is running smoothly and helping people to continue to communicate with their teams despite the physical distance.
The primary feature of Microsoft Teams, of course, is that it allows an administrator or owner to create or edit teams of people as necessary. You can invite users via a specific URL link, or send them an invitation via email. It can be used wherever there are groups of people who need to work together; It’s a flexible platform that lends itself to use in a variety of situations in business or education, with plans to roll out a version for friends and family in the near future too.
You can be a member of as many teams as you like at once, and changes have recently been made so that now you can invite anyone with an email address, even if they’re outside of your organisation, as a guest team member.
The main focus of Microsoft Teams is to bring people together to communicate – next post, we’ll be going into some detail about channels and chat functions available, as well as account options such as notifications and customisations.