If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, Microsoft has a new Slack competitor for you to try out. Welcome to Microsoft Teams.
Slack, if you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, is the trendy way for companies to increase communication and escape the tyranny of email. It integrates with a ton of web services. So in addition to chatting with your friends and coworkers, you can chat with services as well and tell them to do stuff. It’s so popular that a while back Microsoft tried to buy Slack for around $8 billion. Slack turned them down, so Microsoft, as they often do, rolled out their own.
Teams will look familiar to any Slack user, or really anyone who has used a group IM product made in the last five years. The functionality replaces Skype for Business persistent chat with something considerably more flexible and refined. You start off by turning on Teams in the services section on your Office 365 admin console, then go to the link above. Sign in with your credentials and you can start building your first team.
In addition to the threaded group chat, which really is a lot faster and more fluid than email, you also get a dedicated OneNote section for the team to use: a file sharing section, easy access to whatever SharePoint pages you want, Word, Excel and Powerpoint Online and more. You can have private conversations as well as the group chat, and yes, some of those conversations can be with bots.
Teams is in preview right now, so the list of services it ties into is far from complete. There is already an SDK available for people that want to join up, but even so the preview launch partners are impressive for enterprise users, including Zendesk, Asana, Hootsuite and Intercom.
Because it’s part of Office 365, Teams also has the security businesses already trust. It’s HIPAA and ISO 27001 compliant, just like Exchange.
Microsoft Teams is available to Office 365 commercial customers with one of the following plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5. Microsoft Teams will also be available to customers who purchased E4 prior to its retirement. Try it today.
Jeff Kirvin, PEI