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So long, Skype. Hello Microsoft Teams

Skype for business has become a much relied on business communication tool. It allows you to easily call colleagues, arrange large conference calls and even broker wider discussions with colleagues or customers from across the globe.

That’s why it came as a surprise to many when Microsoft announced towards the end of last year that it was putting in place an End of Life plan for Skype for Business, setting a July 31st 2021 deadline for closure of the application.

To fill the void, Microsoft has introduced Teams – a new, richer collaboration tool that promises lots. Included with almost every Office 365 license model, Teams is full of innovative features designed to enhance collaboration and boost productivity. In short, it’s so much more than just Skype 2.0. Here’s why.

The complete collaboration centre

As a ready-made replacement for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams obviously delivers as a unified communications platform. You can make calls to colleagues, schedule meetings and arrange conference calls with ease. There’s also an instant messaging feature to help users chat on the fly and identify the communication status of people they work with.

Don’t be fooled, however, as communication capabilities are only one small part of everything that Teams has to offer.
It’s essentially a central hub for collaboration, where users can share documents, collaborate on projects and quickly communicate with their peers from wherever they are. It brings together everyone who is working on a project at one time, with users allocated to specific ‘Teams’ designated to work together. You can even link directly to your SharePoint site to allow for easier file sharing, with the ability to access online versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel natively from inside the Teams app itself.

There’s also a whole host of third-party integrations and apps allowing you to personalise the Teams experience for your users, even on a specific project level.

What are the major benefits?

The major benefit of Microsoft Teams is that it keeps all aspects of your project in one place. That means there’s no longer a need to switch between multiple apps, which can be confusing and actually distract people away from a task or project.

All of the important files and communications are available in a single channel, easily navigated by an intuitive user interface, so you can find what you need and progress every project to next stage without needing to operate outside of Teams.

You can also move important internal discussions, or even project specific discussion with external parties, away from email and centralise this in one location. Email is by far and away the world’s most leveraged business communication channel, and we all know what it’s like when your inbox becomes overwhelmed by hundreds of emails from our colleagues, especially for discussion that doesn’t merit the formality of email. That’s why being able to move as much of the conversation as possible away from email can only help your people to be more agile, work faster and collaborate more easily.

To make this easier, you can even forward an email into Teams and build your conversation around its content, so you can discuss it in-depth without even touching each other’s inboxes.

Ultimately, it’s about helping to make your users more productive, giving them a simple, centralised platform for all of their collaboration needs. They’ll be able to work smarter, react faster and combine their resources easier than ever before.

It’s time to take advantage

As many of us look to start working remotely, being able to harness the features available within Microsoft Teams can play a key role in ensuring the continued productivity of a disparate workforce.

For those already using Office 365, you will almost certainly already have access to the vast majority of features available as part of Microsoft Teams, so it’s important to get up to speed and start using these for the benefit of your business before you consider looking into an alternative solution you might not even need.

We can advise you on the different features already available as part of your existing Office 365 license, and also help guide those without Teams through a successful implementation.

To learn more, get in touch with a member of the team.