We appreciate that many of our clients are now using Office 365 and over the last 6 months we have provided lots of workshops to many businesses on the features within the platform. However, many businesses are still just using Office 365 as a way to manage the company email and a cost-effective way to purchase the everyday software.
With a new year and a new decade upon us, we thought it would be a good time to introduce one of the features of Office 365, which is now really taking off.
This is 365 Teams.
Teams was launched in Nov 2016 and became generally available in 2017, however it’s now starting to get real traction in the business world. Teams is a very different way of working as it takes us away from the comfort of outlook for communication and explorer for our documents and files.
It combines the core functionality of Skype including instant messenger chat facilities, online calling, screen sharing and screen recording features with document storage via a SharePoint back end. As well as having the ability to plug in hundreds of extra apps such as Planner, Trello, SalesForce etc.
It encourages businesses to work collaboratively with documents being held in a Channel where all the team owners, members and guests can access and update it, safe in the knowledge that version control is running in the background!
It also helps businesses become more agile and work smarter as documents stored in Teams are accessible from anywhere a user has an internet connection. So suddenly an employee can work from home if their boiler needs servicing, rather than taking a days holiday. Once a business has documents in Team Channels, you no longer need Citrix or Remote Desktop to access these files (and with the web apps they don’t even need to have the core software installed).
It really is a fantastic platform, but there are a couple of warnings to share with you.
Firstly, it is extremely easy to create new teams and channels, and without some guidance your business could quickly end up with 100’s of them. Meaning that employees may not be able to find the documents they need, be looking at out of date information, quoting the wrong the information and sending out the wrong versions of documents.
Secondly, in order to avoid missed communications or duplicated communications, everyone needs to use Teams once the decision has been made. It must be set to open at start-up and the importance of checking it needs to be made either via training or internal communications. To make Teams effective, your employees must be using it, but we are all so comfortable with Outlook this will be a big and in some cases an unwelcome change to employees.
Thirdly and finally, well for now, don’t be tempted to just move your shared network folder into the Teams platform. In order to work efficiently, Teams need to have Channels, or topics of conversation, so the old network folders will need to be broken down (and probably tidied up) before anything is moved to the new platform.
If your business is looking to make the move to Teams, please do consider the principals and theory of change management to help your employees make the transition as smoothly as possible.
To find out more about how Teams work and how it could improve collaboration and communication in your business, book a free no-obligation meeting with our expert.