Since Microsoft’s event on October, there has been a lot of press claiming that the folks from Redmond have been working hard to steal the ‘innovation’ crown from Apple. Certainly, while the release of the 2016 Macbook Pro has left a lot of heads being scratched, it seems the new products from Redmond have got the internet into a bit of an excited frenzy.
It’s true that MSFT are doing some exciting things, but is Teams one of them?
Teams is currently only available as a pre-release trial, and then only to those with an Enterprise level subscription. It comes as either a web service, or a desktop app – both appear identical, and there is no caching of data for the desktop version. Teams is due for full release at some point in early 2017.
Initially opening Teams, you are presented with a fairly basic looking empty page with the familiar O365 formatting. However, a little like OneNote, it’s only when you start to work out the structure and the abilities of Teams that you begin to understand what’s going on here. It’s easy to dismiss Teams as just another MS tool, and difficult to see what you would use it for when Outlook, Yammer, OneNote and Sharepoint all do a perfectly good job. It’s just as easy to view Teams as a Slack clone (like many, including Slack seem to have done).
However, then you start to realise that the beauty of Teams is that you can use all of these tools in one window and at the same time. You can also expand the functionality with a range of pre-configured ‘connectors’ that enable you to pull in Twitter or RSS feeds, connect with customers using Salesforce, or view performance with Google Analytics amongst others. There is also the ability to develop your own connectors and bots using the MS Developer platform.
Teams may not look like the most exciting thing when you first look at it, but it has amazing potential to streamline your company’s communication by bringing together already familiar tools and using them in a better way. That is incredibly exciting and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Microsoft are going to do with it before its general release.