Here at Silicon Reef we live and breathe through Teams. It helps keep us connected, informed, amused and on track.
Teams is one of the first applications we open when we start our working day – often before we’ve even reached our desks – and the last we check before we shut down. With so many of us working remotely, at home, or on client site, Teams is the way the Reefers can welcome each other to the working day, stay in touch and keep our company culture alive and thriving.
Microsoft Teams was launched in May 2017, an evolved, chat-based platform allowing private, personal and group messages, threaded conversation, attachments, and the creation of closed or open workspaces.
There are loads of things to enjoy about Teams but we thought we would start the year by sharing the five we love most:
One of the greatest benefits of Teams is being able to share documents in a tab at the top of a Team. Simply load up key documents from across the full range of your SharePoint applications and you can view, edit and share from within Teams, as well as running a conversation alongside the file itself. When you are done with the document, simply remove the tab, while the document remains available to refer to in Teams.
Basic sharing is so intuitive. In a group or private chat – click on the all-familiar paperclip icon and upload your file. That’s just where the magic starts though, as that’s your file in its new home. Anyone in the group can now open and edit, all changes are tracked and easy to see. You can also easily find and share a link to a previously uploaded file.
We find that managing documents through Teams stops multiple-version issues, and allows for widespread, low bandwidth and really speedy document sharing – essential when you are trying to create or manage a document collaboratively or at pace.
With our tool set and client capabilities expanding constantly, and a high percentage of remote workers in our business, keeping the wider Silicon Reef team up to date with the latest technologies and tools is essential. We frequently use Teams to deliver Video Training for our staff, and even use it for clients where they are learning new functions, or getting a refresh on upgraded applications.
Being able to create and share video training through MS Stream, and delivering this easily through Teams to selected Teams and Channels, allows us to run real-time or on-demand training sessions that can walk staff through complex systems step-by-step, or give them access to a human to introduce them to the new systems.
In 2018 Microsoft introduced integration with cloud storage services such as Google Drive, DropBox and ShareFile, making Teams even more flexible and acknowledging that we do – sometimes – store and manage files outside of Microsoft 365. You can also add a cloud-based directory to a specific Team, or a Channel in a Team. This cloud service storage will simply be represented as a virtual folder in your files section.
This feature significantly opens up opportunities for large file storage and remote access to legacy or shared documents.
You probably already know what to expect from online meeting apps – call in, share your screen, and use video and sound to get as involved as you want.
The benefit of Teams is that, particularly in a cross-company meeting, it’s likely you’re already connected to the participants. The Whiteboard feature allows you to collaborate as you run the meeting, sketching to visualise ideas, taking notes with each other, and then attaching these to the meeting. You can refer to SharePoint documents you are working on collaboratively, hand off note taking and record the sound and visuals from the meeting – maybe to catch people up who couldn’t attend, or easily share the thinking behind an outcome.
And here’s a secret – you don’t actually have to have a Teams account to attend a Teams based meeting, so at Silicon Reef we can invite clients to join us in Teams via their browser before they have even launched Teams.
Our final Teams favourite is its newest feature. As of November 2019 you can now move and share an Outlook email (and all of its attachments) into a Teams chat, and we are eagerly awaiting a “Share to Teams” button, which will be made available inside Outlook early 2020, allowing us to simply move an email into Microsoft Teams allowing users to have a private conversation about a thread in Outlook and bridging the systems gap a little more.
This will be extremely helpful as we can pick up conversations and plans that are triggered through more traditional email communications and develop them into projects, plans and content without losing any of the initial threads.
Love the idea of Teams but not sure how to implement it within your company? Give us a call and we’ll help you get started.