Unlocking new business opportunities with Microsoft Teams

According to research, the number of organisations using Microsoft Teams is expected to double in 2020, with 41% of employers planning to implement the tool.

This figure was at 21% in 2018, making Teams the second most popular business chat app, despite being launched less than two years ago.

Combining workplace chat, meetings, notes and attachments, the service integrates with the company’s Office 365 subscription, creating a shared workspace that allows team members to collaborate seamlessly.

Described by experts as being the most manageable, secure and cost-effective collaborative chat app, the growing popularity of Teams is expected to propel it into the number one spot, overtaking Skype for Business, which is currently used by 44% of organisations.

For those of you looking to introduce Microsoft Teams to your business, we’ve put together a step-by-step beginner’s guide, teaching you how to use some of the tool’s most popular features.

Teams and Channels

Once you have safely signed into the App you will be faced with the Microsoft Teams dashboard, which can cause confusion for new users looking to select a specific team.

A team is a collection of people, conversations, files and tools that are all contained within one place, while a channel is a dedicated area within a team to keep conversations & content organised by specific topics, projects, etc.

Click Teams to select a Team then choose a channel to explore conversations, files and other tabs.

Making conversation

One of the main reasons that businesses now use Microsoft Teams is to facilitate greater collaboration throughout the business. By clicking on Teams and selecting a channel, you can write and send your message sharing it with everyone in that team.

If you’re looking to start a conversation with a certain individual or group, click New chat and type the name of the person or group in the ‘to’ field, before writing your message.

You will now be able to communicate with people at all levels of your organisation, whenever you need.

Meetings and calls

Another key feature of Microsoft Teams is the ability to start meetings with other members of your team. To do this, click Meet now under the area where you would usually type a message, name your meeting and begin inviting the individuals you want to chat with.

During video calls, participants can now blur the background to remove any unwanted distractions such as people moving around, improving overall focus and attention during important meetings.

There are also Audio call options available to team members, streamlining the entire communication process, with voicemail and call history features included.

Replies and @mentions

Not all the messages you send are relevant to your entire team. If you’re looking to get someone’s attention quickly, it can be easier to type @ then their name, for example @Jason – this will then notify the person in question.

With all channel conversations organised by date and then threaded, you can choose to respond to a comment by selecting Reply and then typing your message. This will create individual discussions that allow users to track their messages efficiently.

Managing and sharing files

While Microsoft Teams can improve communication within your business, it also streamlines the entire sharing process, enabling you to upload files and documents instead of manually sending emails.

If you click Attach under the message box, you can then select the file you want to upload, which will give you options on whether you’d like to share a link or upload a document copy.

By selecting Files on the left-hand side of your interface, you can see all the files shared across all your teams, while Files at the top of a channel will show all files shared in that channel.

Selecting and managing apps

If you want to personalise your Teams experience, you can begin adding apps that will assist you with daily operations. The Store option on the left allows you to pick the apps you want to include, before personalising your settings and pressing Install.

Once you’ve installed the apps you need, you can view and manage them through the More apps function on your dashboard. Through this option you can uninstall the apps you no longer need, allowing you to refresh and update the programme over time.

Mobility and accessibility

One of the biggest appeals of Microsoft Teams is the ease of access and the ability to use the programme while on the move.

Accessible via desktop, mobile or tablet, the Teams experience is virtually the same across every platform, such is the user-friendly nature of the dashboard’s design.

This accessibility allows users to share, communicate and collaborate at any time, using the tool’s features to continue working remotely, with no restrictions on how or when you can log into the programme.

Teamwork makes the dream work…

Although it can be tempting to stick with what you know and not update or change Apps, embracing change can unlock a wealth of new opportunities for your organisation. Microsoft Teams has been tipped as the collaborative tool of the future, boasting a comprehensive range of features all within one suite.

Meetings, calls, conversations and file-sharing are just some of the important business functions that can be achieved through Microsoft Teams, with many more advanced features on offer to those who require them.

If you’re thinking of making the change or would like to find out more about how Microsoft Teams can help your business, our team of IT professionals can help you explore all the available options.