Author: Chris Nicholas

For many businesses, an ideal working environment means easy, secure access to applications, data and systems. It is easier than ever to work remotely, but what about team collaboration? Better yet, what about EFFECTIVE collaboration?

Skype for Business and OneNote are good starting points. We get chat mechanisms, presence, conferencing, desktop sharing and we can collaborate on OneNote notebooks. That’s great but we need more.

At Akins, we needed a place to track communication around a project, any associated documents, team chat history and we wanted integration with the project management type task management. Microsoft Teams filled that void.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Released in November 2016, Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool that provides global, remote, and dispersed teams with the ability to work together and share information via a common space.  You can utilize cool features like document collaboration, one-on-one chat, team chat, and more.  Microsoft Teams is also fully integrated with many other Office 365 services, such as Skype, Planner, Groups, SharePoint, Exchange, and Yammer.

From a security perspective Microsoft Teams provides the enterprise security and compliance features you expect from Office 365, including eDiscovery and legal hold for channels, chats and files.  Available in 181 markets and 19 languages, Microsoft Teams encrypts data at all times, at-rest and in-transit, and includes multi-factor authentication to enhance identity protection. More on this later.

At Akins, we love the integration with Planner, which we use to manage tasks and milestones involved in a project we are executing. We have eliminated a lot of the email hunting that goes on when a reference or prior communication needs to be reviewed by a team member. Everything around the project is stored centrally.

From the official release blog below, pay close attention to the security compliant nature of Teams…

First – It’s all about the Teams

First and foremost, Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.


Second – A hub for teamwork

Second, Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips. Backed by the Microsoft Graph, intelligent services are surfaced throughout the workspace to help with information relevancy, discovery and sharing. Microsoft Teams is also built on Office 365 Groups—our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another, preserve their sense of context and share with others.

Customizable for each team

 Third, since all teams are unique, we’ve invested deeply in ways for people to customize their workspace, with rich extensibility and open APIs available at general availability. For example, Tabs provides quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. Microsoft Teams also shares the same Connector model as Exchange, providing notifications and updates from third-party services like Twitter or GitHub. Further, we are including full support for the Microsoft Bot Framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into your team environment.

Security teams trust

 Finally, Microsoft Teams provides the advanced security and compliance capabilities that our Office 365 customers expect. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Like all our commercial services, we have a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Microsoft Teams will support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more. And, as customers would expect, Microsoft Teams is served out of our hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

Check out a video on Teams from the Microsoft Crew