How Microsoft Teams works for businesses

Microsoft Teams is a productivity and communication app used by businesses of all sizes and scales to aid collaboration with employees, clients and other third parties when working remotely or apart from one another.

It is part of all Microsoft 365 Business packages and can be accessed from any location and via desktop or mobile. Its video meeting, chat, file sharing, calendaring, scheduling and other collaboration tools help organisations to stay connected and organised, from a single platform. Meanwhile, in-app privacy and permissions settings provide flexibility and peace of mind over user activity, and integrations across the Microsoft 365 suite of products ensure accessibility and visibility.

 

What Microsoft Teams can do

Microsoft teams has the following basic features that are transforming productivity for organisations that operate entirely remotely, with a flexible workforce or fully on-site operations:

  • Group or private chat with internal and external participants, with file sharing capability and fun features such as emoji and GIF
  • Voice call, which can be integrated with VOIP telephony systems and CRMs
  • Video calling and video meetings up to 250 participants, with features such as custom backgrounds and Together Mode
  • Screen sharing and session recording
  • Webinars for up to 10,000 participants
  • Calendaring and team scheduling
  • File storage, integrated with SharePoint and OneDrive
  • Real-time document collaboration

 

Are Teams and Skype the same thing?

Teams and Skype are not the same thing, no. Skype still exists but caters for personal, one-on-one or small group communication focused on video calling alone, whereas Teams replaced Skype for Business as a complete remote communication solution. Skype is not considered a productivity tool, unlike Teams.

Teams is far more varied and flexible and as such empowers its users to be as productive as possible. It allows you to host audio and video calls with anybody inside or outside your business, with numbers as small as 2 and as large as 10,000! When in a voice or video call, participants can chat, share files and record sessions and very soon break out rooms will be available too.

All of this is protected with business-grade Microsoft security, while data is backed up to SharePoint, business or private user OneDrive accounts and Exchange. This ensures seamless access, easy collaboration and maximum possible availability of systems.

 

How does Microsoft Teams work in mobile?

A significant factor in productivity is the ability to work just as effectively, whatever your circumstances, location or device access. Luckily, Teams can be used on mobile by downloading the Microsoft Teams app from the App Store or Google Play. Simply login using your Microsoft 365 credentials and the mobile-responsive version of the app will open, fully synced with your desktop version and last activity. All desktop features are available on the mobile app apart from Desktop Sharing.

 

Is there training for Microsoft Teams?

There is no formal onboarding training for Microsoft Teams. However, to make the most of the app and ensure maximum productivity gains, check our the various on-demand training resources such as videos and courses are available from Microsoft. There is the occasional instructor-led event too.

When purchasing a Microsoft business subscription through a managed service provider you can access onboarding training that is bespoke to how your business intends to use Teams, and with integrations across your IT estate in mind – meaning you learn everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

 

How do Teams meetings work?

Teams meetings can be joined from anywhere, from any device even by participants who do not have a Teams subscription. Depending on your role in the meeting, whether you’re an internal or external recipient and how a business is using Teams, a Teams meeting works by: joining by link, joining from a calendar event, joining in a channel, joining from a chat, calling in from mobile or another phone (using a conference ID number) or being added to an active meeting.

To get the best performance, join a Teams meeting from the desktop app or Teams browser site. When in a meeting, you will be presented with audio, video, screen sharing and recording options and see all participants when an organiser has admitted you.

 

 

Does Microsoft Teams have breakout rooms?

Breakout rooms are a fantastic way to fine-tune ideas and supercharge your session productivity. As of November 2020, Microsoft are still finalising breakout rooms in Teams and predict a go-live date of December 2020. At present, we know that that following features are likely:

  • Ability to choose amount of rooms, with up to 50 available
  • Choice to randomly or selectively distribute attendees across rooms
  • Ability to rename, add and delete rooms
  • Ability to switch participants between rooms
  • Option to send announcements to certain rooms

 

 

Can you chat with external users in Microsoft Teams?

Sometimes, it’s just quicker to ask the question directly. And yes, you can chat with external users in Teams and there are two ways to do this. External access allows users to find, call and chat with users in other domains but does not allow for access to teams and channels. This is a default setting in Teams, which can be switched off by admins, but must be used to communicate with Skype for Business Users.

The second, more flexible option is guest access. Teams guest access allows users to add external participants to internal teams and channels as guests by using an email address, allowing these people to collaborate in the same fashion as internal users (should admins select these permissions)– even editing documents and schedules. Guests are added to a company’s Active Directory and can only chat when signed into a Teams guest account.

 

Is Microsoft Teams good for webinars?

Microsoft Teams is a great option for hosting webinars, especially if your business is already utilising a wider range of Microsoft 365 products. A standard Teams webinar caters for up to 250 attendees and a Teams “Live Event” expands this to 10,000 attendees (participating via text Q&A). Teams webinars present a strong alternative for larger group meetings too, due to greater functionality that helps to streamline and focus meetings. The extra tools and controls afforded by Teams webinars can result in far more productive sessions.

 

Are Microsoft Teams meetings automatically recorded?

No, Microsoft Teams meetings are not automatically recorded. A participant must select the record function at any point during the call and doing so will notify all other participants. However, to save time and help approach post-meeting tasks with accuracy and pace, Teams recordings are auto-saved to Microsoft Stream (when a company’s package includes this). From Microsoft Stream, the user which activated the recording can easily share the recording with other users directly or sync it to easily accessible project folders in SharePoint – so everyone is on the same page, at the same time.

 

How much does Microsoft Teams cost?

There is no fixed answer. Microsoft Teams is included in every Microsoft Business package, from the light Business Basic to extensive Business Premium. The package you choose or upgrade to is dependent on your requirements, budget and the degree to which you’ll realistically utilise a package’s features. But for maximum collaboration and productivity benefits, Starcom always recommends accessing Teams through Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which is billed on a per user, per month basis in addition to any setup, migration or training fees.

Off-the-shelf pricing for the 6 available business packages is as follows. All prices are per user per month with an annual commitment and exclusive of VAT. Correct as of November 2020:

Business Basic: £3.80 per user/month

Business Standard: £9.40 per user/month

Business Premium: £15.10 per user/month

Microsoft 365 E1: £6.00 per user/month

Microsoft 365 E3: £17.60 per user/month

Microsoft 365 E5: £30.80 per user/month

(Include table from M65 universe piece here).

 

If your business would like to explore how to enhance productivity with Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps, please click here to contact us or call +44 844 579 0800. Information in this article is correct as of November 2020.

 

by Stuart Buckley

Sales Director

An IT specialist for over 20 years, with a wealth of technical and commercial knowledge, experience and skill in managed services, cloud and hosted solutions.

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