Intelligent communication coming to Teams

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We’ve been working with Microsoft Teams for about a year now, and we’ve seen it gradually moving up in enterprise collaboration.

We’ve seen it announced as the direct competition to Slack, after purchase of Slack was unsuccessful. In a full-page add in the New York Times Slack ironically acknowledged the competition by giving Microsoft some tips.

Microsoft Teams provides a chat-based hub for teamwork that is open and fluid. I think Microsoft Teams is also – if not more – a good competitor for shadow IT killer app WhatsApp. So many groups in organisations are using WhatsApp to communicate with each other. To me that indicates there is a real need for better team communication. Better than what? I would say SharePoint.

For a very long time Microsoft has tried to get SharePoint used by employees, but often it got stuck in being used as a glorified network drive. I do see the potential for SharePoint as an intranet, or digital workplace, or for designing custom applications and workflows. But for ad-hoc and unstructured collaboration it always seemed to be overkill and too hard for employees to ‘get’, as in to understand, and to actually create team sites which is often blocked for most users.

People are getting used to a chat-style conversation more and more. Millenials are slowly taking over the office, and I can tell by the way employees are adopting social communication platforms these days (as compared to a few years ago).

Microsoft was serious with Teams right from the start. The Teams app was made available for all platforms and devices. Something I don’t think I’ve seen before. Of course it needed some more functionality here and there. But regular updates make sure needs are being granted fast. Such as Guest (externals) access, which was made available September 2017. Check out the full Teams roadmap.

To me it was clear very soon that Microsoft Teams was going to be the central hub for team collaboration. Particularly all that unstructured communication as typically done through Email, Chat and Phone conversations.

Microsoft Teams offers that central place where I can communicate and share and co-author files with my team. With access to my OneDrive files, upcoming meetings from my Outlook Calendar, and starting or joining instant or scheduled (Skype) online meetings it pretty much provides a single workplace. The only thing I do not have in Teams is my Email.

On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference.


Vision for intelligent communications

“We introduced a new vision for intelligent communications, transforming calling and meeting experiences for people and organizations around the world. Intelligent communications go beyond traditional unified communications, enabling you to complete tasks more efficiently with minimal context switching, participate in more productive meetings that cover the entire meeting lifecycle, and better manage your everyday communications overload.

Microsoft Teams is core to our vision for intelligent communications—bringing together conversations, meetings, files, Office apps, and third-party integrations—to provide a single hub for teamwork in Office 365.”

Post written by Lori Wright, general manager for Microsoft Teams and Skype product marketing.

Read more about the Journey from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams.

Skype for Business – and also it predecessors – has been very succesful in it’s adoption. It’s an easy to use application, that people know pretty well. So to me, it makes perfect sense that they sill be combined.

It is not just about adding more calling and meeting features to Microsoft Teams. This is about supporting people along the whole process of doing a call or a meeting. So before – during – and after. Combining communication and file collaboration, and using intelligence to help surface and find relevant information. Using capturing, transcribing, and voice recognition and translation features to make meeting audio and video instantly available for the team. It’s also about using bots to replace tedious and non-creative tasks such as searching for help (T-bot), summarizing and scheduling.

Are you ready to start your intelligent communication journey?

Download the Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams Capabilities Roadmap now to see what’s ahead!

More information on Microsoft Teams in the article Productivity challenges for collaboration in Teams written by Sasja Beerendonk.