If you’ve used (or use) Microsoft technologies you’re aware of solutions like SharePoint, OneDrive, and Skype for Business. The word SharePoint, depending on your level involvement, can evoke anything from mild frustration to a full-on panic attack. Rewind a few years back, and you would hear tales of botched implementations and long implementations, along with overall frustration with the complexity of the product. The trend for business moving to the Office 365 suite continues to grow. TNS is happy to report that Teams takes aim at dispelling those concerns and inviting a new way to work.
What is Teams?
Teams is a chat-centric hub for teamwork which allows you to chat instead of email, work in channels instead of file folders and provides real time collaboration on documents. It allows you to “like,” mention and reply to current chats within your channel and enables the ability to add notes, websites and applications. It is designed to bring together a group of people to get things done.
More importantly, Teams connects the key components of Office 365 into a single tool. Office documents, SharePoint, OneDrive and Skype are all utilized via Teams. Prior to Teams, these products existed on their own without any type of integration between them. The game has changed and it can help transform the workplace and workflow.
Teams can be set up in a manner that meets the specific needs of your organization. For example, Teams can be based on projects, department, or based on office locations to name a few. All conversations, notes, collaboration that takes place across team channels are only visible to members of the team. You can even invite external users to become members of your team, extending that collaboration outside of the office and organization.
What is a Channel?
Channels contain content and conversations that are organized by specific topics, content, projects, etc., that are specifically related to a team. A team can have many channels, but a channel only relates to a single team.
Channels are put in place so that everyone on that team has access to the “container” of information shared within that team. Private chats can also exist are only visible to those in the chat. Channels are most effective when they include bots, applications, and connectors that enhance the overall experience. In addition, tabs exist to integrate internal or external content and tools.
Do you use Slack?
Many of us have come to love Slack. It is easy to use and employees adapt to it quickly. It allows for group calls, chats and also comes equipped with channels, similar to Teams. In fact, Teams has paid homage to Slack by incorporating the features mentioned above. The big difference is that Teams is a part of any existing 365 Ecosystem and does not represent additional cost (Your organization’s 365 licensing level may need to be uplifted).
How does this change Remote Access?
Working remotely is a key component in today’s world, especially with the limited real estate in New York City, for growing organizations, work-related events across the country or abroad, and those seeking work-life balance by working from home or their beach house in the Hamptons. Regardless, with the phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) on the rise employees want to access their data timely and “on-the-go” to enhance job satisfaction and overall productivity.
Accessing data remotely via a VPN or another mechanism that your organization uses can present challenges depending on the circumstance and/or logistics. Being that Teams is a cloud-based solution, you only need the Internet to access your data and collaborate in real-time. Gone are the troubles of accessing your data via a VPN from a hotel (most hotels block this feature for security purposes).
Where Do I Start?
As mentioned, Teams is available for any businesses that are utilizing Office 365 (some features are dependent on your licensing level). As always, implementation and go forward sustainability is always a concern of ours, and we would recommend contacting The TNS Group and we will provide the necessary training materials and will guide you thru every step of the way.
Contact your Account Manager directly to learn more. If you are currently not a TNS partner, complete our contact form and select Managed IT Services as your service of choice or contact us at 203-316-0112 or 212-967-5757.