Microsoft Teams: The best desktop tool you aren’t using

As a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you’re probably using a variety of communication tools in your day-to-day work. But you might be overlooking the most powerful one available.

Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that is included free of charge with any Office 365 or Microsoft Business essentials plan. It is also available as a free standalone, to rival popular tools like Slack. With this underappreciated app, you can chat with colleagues, collaborate on documents, browse all the files in your channel, and make conference calls straight from within the UI, among other things. Teams enables you to work more efficiently with anyone in your organization, and it’s time to consider utilizing it.

The future of collaboration

On July 31, 2021, Microsoft is sunsetting Skype for Business. They are so confident in the advantages offered by Teams, they began auto-upgrading Skype for Business users to the Teams platform at the end of 2018. Steps are already underway to help users transition to Teams, a platform that can do everything Skype does, and a lot more.

Like Skype, Teams allows you to chat with individuals or groups and turn a chat into a call. But it goes beyond those capabilities. For one, Teams integrates with Office 365 apps much more seamlessly than Skype for Business, or similar communications apps like Slack. It also has the ability to record meetings, share files with offline participants, and tag people by typing in @(name of contact).

The best app for working together

Teams is, first and foremost, a shared workspace. It’s a place where your team can meet and collaborate to create, analyze, or make decisions. It’s an efficient, familiar, and secure way of ensuring everyone is on the same page.

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  • Efficiency

Teams is an excellent alternative to email. Instead of sending emails back and forth to update projects, you can simply create dedicated channels for real time collaboration. This streamlines communication and prevents unread conversations or delayed responses.

  • Familiarity

Teams has built-in integration with Office 365’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, so you can work on any of those file types directly from your Teams window without leaving the platform. Beyond those apps, Teams aligns with Outlook for integration of scheduling and email. You can also customize your workplace by adding your favorite third-party services such as Trello, YouTube, or Dropbox.

But that’s not all. Teams also supports desk phones for those who need them. From traditional phones to virtual conference calls, Teams integrates the tools you’re most comfortable with to get work done.

  • Security

You are always working with data — whether it’s your customers’, your vendors’, or your own — especially when collaborating with colleagues or third parties, which often requires lifting permissions. The good news is that Teams is powered by Office 365, which means you get access to Microsoft’s built-in security, compliance, and management capabilities. Easily gain visibility into how your data is stored, accessed, and shared; implement organization-wide multi-factor authentication; or encrypt data in transit and at rest to keep your information protected.

Experience Teams today

Whether you are searching for a communication and collaboration tool, or wondering about the upgrade from Skype for Business, we can help you maximize Microsoft Teams to the fullest.

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Customize your Office 365 experience by choosing a plan made only for your specific business needs, size, and industry. Call us at (512) 381-4800 for more information, or fill out this form to get in touch with us today.

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