Microsoft’s 2017 announcement that Teams would replace Skype for Business (S4B) caused plenty of angst in the user community. Loyal Skype users were only slightly appeased by the distant end date, July of 2021. But making the switch from S4B to Teams may not be as difficult as you think. Both tools have revolutionized the way we communicate and continue to have some overlaps in functionality. After giving Teams a chance, it might win you over, as it has for many at TSP.
If your business is using Slack, Skype or any combination of these services, consider switching to Teams. It’s slick, quick and consistent on all your devices. These are the top 8 reasons you should try Teams.
CHAT IS BETTER IN TEAMS
Chat is what we as a company use the most, so it has to work well. S4B chat has always been quirky, especially with multiple devices. Messages sometimes show up on one computer but not another, or on your phone, but not on any computers or not at all, invisible until you got an email that you missed it. Sometimes you might end up with two chat windows with the same person open on the same computer.
Teams works just as you expect, showing your chat on all the devices where you are logged in. Chat history stays with the chat, not relegated awkwardly to the Conversations folder in your Inbox. Most types of attachments can open or play right in Teams, and pictures send right away without requiring the recipient to download them. Transitioning your chat from S4B to Teams is an easy way to start — it’s just chat.
MEETINGS ARE SMOOTHER
Gone are the frequent network errors, disconnects and those fun video special effects. When Microsoft bought Skype they tried to combine the Skype infrastructure with Lync’s. It didn’t go well. Teams is built for high volume data and the result shows. Make any meeting a Teams meeting by clicking the Teams button at the top of your invitation. It’s easy to find, right next to the S4B button.
EXTERNAL USERS CAN JOIN MORE EASILY
To invite external users, just send the invitation and in two clicks users from outside the organization can join from any browser with full audio and video. No downloads, no installation and no Microsoft account required. This is the easiest of any of the online meetings products to join as an outsider.
Join existing teams or create new ones. A team is like a distribution list on steroids. This is the place to discuss projects, events or clients, share files, create calendars and keep a running history of all of the important happenings. There are already over 100 teams — jump in or make more.
GROUP CHAT FOR TEAMS
Group chat puts the conversation and decisions on record, where any member can scroll back and see what was discussed yesterday or last year. You can click the Activity icon in the top left corner to catch up on all of the chatter in all of your teams in one place. Anything that reduces the size of your Inbox is good, and group chat is brilliant.
SHARE CONTENT WORKS
Content sharing in meetings works great in S4B as long as you’re on a PC and want to share your entire desktop. You better check all your browser tabs, minimize Outlook and turn off all notifications to keep anything sensitive from showing up. Joining from a Mac or a phone is pretty dicey.
TSP has tested Teams with PCs, Macs and phones of all flavors. It works smoothly everywhere. When your colleague shares that 4K screen to your mobile phone you can easily pinch-to-zoom and slide over to the one bit of important screen real estate that you want to see. It’s smooth, fast and intuitive. There’s even a dedicated way to share PowerPoint where participants who are late (or distracted) can move back to prior slides to catch up.
Integrating teams with OneDrive is simple. Just open the Files tab to see what’s stored on your OneDrive. This alternative view of your cloud storage makes it easy to share files or move them to Teams where you can collaborate with colleagues more easily.
Would you like to view Trello, Flow, Jira, Asana, Lucidchart, Bitbucket or any of a host of other applications right in Teams? You can. Microsoft has wisely let third-party developers create plug-ins that slide right into Team seamlessly, so you can view and edit many types of content right from the application
Yes, Microsoft shamelessly stole a lot of what works in Teams from Slack. It doesn’t matter. Microsoft stole networking from Novell, browsers from Netscape, email and spreadsheets from Lotus, word processing from Word Perfect, and Windows from Apple (who stole it from Xerox). As Goose said, the list is long but distinguished. Replacing SharePoint and network drives, reducing email traffic and simplifying the way we talk to each other, Teams is the future of communication. It’s a free install at teams.microsoft.com.