I have been using Teams for a while now so thought I would share my experience so far.
To do this I want to break it down into a few topics, the client, communications, extensibility and then finally has “Teams” made a difference for me.
To start then let’s look at the client itself, its broken down into three main sections, Top level options, then the sub levels, then a preview/working window, nothing too unfamiliar there, I was however surprised there was so few options, maybe more will be added in time as the product development continues, and at the current pace I can’t see that taking too long, anyway, back to the client, selecting any one of the top level options changes what appears in the sub level options, again nothing new there, however it is clear to me that the sub level options take their direction from other products that already exist in the Microsoft stack, “Activity” looks very much like a news feed, “Chat” very much like Skype conversation history, and “Meetings” is very much like the Outlook calendar, I think you can see where I am going here.
The last section is very much a preview/working pane depending on what function you are performing within the client, again nothing new there, however bringing this all together into one client is really where the benefit lies, it seems that all the best bits have been taken from the other productivity clients and they have been merged into one, that for me is the biggest win, I am not having to navigate across several applications to achieve what I can now do in the “Teams” app, and with all the development work that is on the horizon for me is a really exciting.
Being a former UC consultant and now Managing Consultant within the UC Practice I have had plenty of experience designing, deploying, and using Skype for Business, and also the former versions such as Lync 2013, Lync 2010 and OCS 2007, so I was particularly interested to see what the communications capabilities would be like. I was pleasantly surprised, the look and feel is familiar and it was high quality, so much so that I now opt to use “Teams” as my first choice for intercompany communications, it was simple to use and provides a very similar end user experience to what most of us are used to. There is a functionality gap that at the moment so you can’t achieve everything you may want to, however I can see where it is going, and I don’t think it will be long before the “Teams” client provides most, if not all your standard daily communications needs.
This part is key, the extensibility of “Teams” is quite simply amazing, the inclusion of BOTS is great, you can start to leverage some of the intelligence that has been built in to BOTS to compliment and even improve business processes, although personally I have only just scratched the surface on what you can achieve with them, I am still genuinely very excited.
Within every top level team you can add several channels to cover a multitude of particular workstreams, maybe even specific projects, how you manage this is really down to your requirements, but the ability to self-manage that is something that makes the experience and management of “Teams” simple and effective, however this is where it gets exciting again, every channel has so many options to add in other applications from the Office365 suite, the option to just add a OneNote section to each channel, PowerBI, Planner, there are so many more however these for me are the most common.
In addition to the above the ability to store files directly in the channel means storing and locating documents is a much easier process, I get that some organisations may have existing document storage capabilities, but guess what, you can even add weblinks so if you have web access to your storage libraries, you can add it, no more moving around to locate that particular file you can access it through “Teams”.
Has “Teams” made a difference to me?
Well, “Teams” has made my working day so much easier, in my role I am involved with several real teams within the business, by using “Teams” we have been able to quickly create our digital space and not only collaborate, but communicate, the calling capabilities all be it basic at present are solid, easy to use and reliable, with the inclusion of more advanced calling capabilities this will be a truly powerful tool, one that I have fully embraced and am already reaping the benefits. Being able to quickly move from Team to Team as I carry out my daily activities has increased my own personal productivity, and I can see the increase across that of my team too, it’s a good thing to see, I look forward to all the new features and capabilities that will undoubtedly be coming.
So, for me it’s simple……. YES “Teams” has made a difference to me, and I am sure it will continue to do so.