Microsoft Teams was created as a chat-based tool and is now taking over the world of collaboration in businesses worldwide. It is a powerful application that has become central to the way our organisation runs and it positively impacts the way we do work as a team.
In our most recent webinar, our very own Founder and Managing Director Ben Love led a discussion on what Microsoft Teams is, what it means to have it in your business and how we, at Grassroots IT, are using it daily as our team's main collaboration hub.
If you missed the webinar, don't worry. You can get an on-demand access to the replay here.
But if you just want a quick overview, below are some notes for you.
Overview of our Business
Grassroots IT is a Managed IT Service Provider that started in 2005. With all those years of experience behind us, we've seen a lot of changes in the industry and technologies which inspired our mission to deliver solutions that drive change. Our team is comprised of talented individuals across three different countries. With distance plus diversity between team members in mind, we were on the lookout for the best possible way to communicate and collaborate effectively on projects and that's where Microsoft Teams fits perfectly in the picture.
Why We Chose Microsoft Teams?
Grassroots IT has been actively using Microsoft Teams for daily conversations and active collaborations. There's a whole lot of reasons why we love Teams but here are the core features that really gives our business a leverage.
- Security. Microsoft Teams has the amazing security features of Office 365 embedded in its core. Microsoft has been putting effort into securing its products and in making sure that they stay secure. So you can rest assure that your data is protected by Microsoft's multi billion dollar cybersecurity defences.
- Collaboration. Microsoft Teams was built with the purpose of enabling teams to effectively collaborate in one digital space.
- Apps Integration. Teams is a one-stop hub for teamwork. Giving you the ability to integrate Office 365 apps and even third party apps into your own Teams platform.
- Adaptability. One of the most fundamental strengths of Microsoft Teams is adaptability. Microsoft Teams enables you to create a digital space for your team that suits the way your business works.
How Grassroots IT Uses Teams
Grassroots IT has a diverse team across three countries (Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines) and over the years, our organisation has gone through the journey of finding the best way we could all effectively collaborate regardless of geographic diversity. So far, hands down, Microsoft Teams has been our best tool that worked wonders for our team by providing the solutions that each of us need. Here's how we're utilising each tool:
ChatText-based communication tool that allows individuals using Microsoft Teams to send messages, files, images or funny gifs to each other. No need to worry about adapting to a new process of sending messages. Just go with the familiar type and send format like in other casual chatting apps.
Screenshot of a chat window between two users
Video and Audio CallsHave a one-on-one video or audio call with colleagues to have a more personal interaction and make discussions more comprehensive. Microsoft Teams has in-call tools to create a better experience for users like the background blur tool which is very useful for team members who are out of office (or would like to keep it a secret that they're actually hanging out at the beach).
Screenshot of a Teams video call in progress with one user using the background blur tool
MeetingsAlso known as a video conference, have a virtual meeting with the rest of the team in a virtual room. At Grassroots IT, we use Meetings for a lot of our most important agendas in the business like welcoming new members to the team, having regular catch up meetings, conducting training presentations, and brainstorming over a new project. You also have the ability to share files within the meeting and record the whole session for future use.
Screenshot of a Teams Meeting and in-call live file sharing
Teams ChannelsYou can create a Team which is a shared space for specific projects, departments or topics. There multiple ways that we are using Teams in our our organisation:
- Department Teams
Create a Teams Channel for specific members of the organisation that are under the same department (e.g. Sales and Marketing).
- Project Teams
Group together members of the team that are working on a project that has a multiple set of activities with a defined outcome. You can gather everyone around in a specific Teams Channel to contribute to the project.
- Topic Teams
Create a Teams Channel for specific topics where members can share ideas, resources and discuss anything under the sun that slips right into the set topic for the Team.
Screenshot of a Teams Channel conversation
- Department Teams
Office 365 Apps IntegrationIntegrate your most utilised Office 365 and Microsoft 365 applications into your Teams. There are also third-party apps available to include in your Teams to create a more accessible way of accessing these apps.
Screenshot of a list of Office 365 apps and third party apps you can link to your Teams
Document LibrariesCreate a shared file folder within your Team and securely share it across your organisation.
Screenshot of Document Library tab within a marketing team's Teams Channel
Microsoft PlannerEasily manage your team's tasks within your Teams. Add a tab for Microsoft Planner so you can conveniently view task allocation and progress without having to get out of Microsoft Teams.
Screenshot of a Planner tab within a marketing team's Teams Channel
Stream Video LibraryEmbed a video library within your Teams to easily access your company's video content. It's like having a private Youtube channel for your organisation from within Teams.
Screenshot of a Stream Video Library tab within a marketing team's Teams Channel
OneNoteHave a little casual notebook to share meeting minutes, jotted notes, lists, drawings, etc. that you can share across your team members.
Screenshot of a OneNote Notebook tab within a project team's Teams Channel
Excel SpreadsheetYes, you can embed an Excel spreadsheet within your Teams Channel. Didn't know that, did you? And yes, it can be shared in real-time via Teams.
Screenshot of a shared Excel Spreadsheet within a project team's Teams Channel
Automation and AlertingGet automated alerts for high-priority issues. This feature conveniently notifies everyone included in the Team.
Screenshot of a Service Delivery team's Teams Chat receiving automated alerts
Teams on MobileMicrosoft Teams is accessible on mobile with pretty much all of the desktop app features available through the Teams mobile app, including screen sharing.
Teams Voice CallingYou can use Teams to replace your organisation's phone system or PBX solution. There are available PBX solutions that has Teams built in to its system. Having one in your business means that you can get the full potential of your Office 365 subscription and make Teams calls and meetings with any Teams phone. *Please note this feature is in early stages and yet to be fully rolled out.
Now that you have all of this valuable insight, you might already be considering utilising Microsoft Teams in your business. But you definitely want it to be a successful adoption, don't you?
Consider these question before you begin the journey:
- What benefit does a new IT system deliver if no-one uses it?
- What benefits does an optimised business process deliver if people don't adopt it?
- What benefits are achieved if a restructure doesn't change the way people collaborate and break down the silos?
The answer? None. With a large negative ROI if you factor in the cost of the project.
A very crucial part of the process of Teams adoption is Change Management. It's an important discussion wherein you need to question yourself "How do I guide those in my team that don't use Teams?"
Change Management is not an optional extra but an essential part of the process of getting your whole organisation to use the power of Teams to its full capacity. The question now is how are you going to best implement adoption in your organisation?
Here are a few tips to make successful adoption happen:
- Define a vision and identify how Teams will be used.
- Obtain proactive support from senior leadership to encourage use of Teams.
- Provide training for end users.
- Raised awareness through internal communications.
Here are some questions that were asked during the webinar. You can hear most of the responses live from the replay video.
Q: What are Connectors in a Channel used for?
A: The Connector in channels allows you to link a third-party service in a Channel.
Q: Could Teams and Sharepoint potentially replace the document management software Dropbox?
Q: If non-MSN apps like Trello are embedded in Teams, does it then make the data in Trello secure?
A: Trello data is secured by Trello and should stay within their system. Your data from third-party apps and services will not be migrated into Teams once embedded, but will only be accessible within the hub.
Q: How does conference calling work in Teams?
A: There are multiple ways to do it, such as scheduling a Teams Meeting in Outlook or clicking on the phone or video camera icon in a Teams chat.
Q: How secure is information once entered into Teams?
A: Data in Microsoft Teams is extremely secure. The chances of getting external risks to your data is very low.
Q: Can we engage with people external to our business through Teams?
A: Yes, you can. We do this regularly.
Q: What is the total space or space per user for document libraries?
A: It depends on some factors regarding your specific Office 365 environment. Talk to your IT provider to find out what your document library capacity is.
Q: Can we track who has seen the messages within a chat?
A: Yes. Microsoft Teams just recently released the read receipt feature into Microsoft Teams. This feature is automatically on but can be turned off in the settings menu.
We hope you found insightful takeaways to help you make the most of Microsoft Teams in your organisation. Want to watch the full webinar? Click on the link below to be taken to the on-demand video. If you have more questions about Teams, feel free to reach out to us anytime and we'd be glad to help in any way we can.
Are you ready to get solutions that drive positive change to your business? Reach out to us to know more about how we can build these solutions together.