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Microsoft Teams: 2018 was a big one. What’s next for 2019?

As the central place for collaboration in Office 365 and a flagship product, Teams is the platform on which Microsoft focused the most in 2018, and will in 2019. Let’s have a look on key insights to have in mind before going on holiday!

A little bit of history

Officially released in March 2017, Teams is the productivity application that allows users from the same team (project, entity) to share information, communicate and collaborate through a flow of conversation (teams and channels), around clearly defined topics. Teams integrate content (documents, notes), conversations, contacts, schedules, tasks and tools into a single interface, all while benefiting from strong integration with the rest of the Office 365 suite: OneNote tab, SharePoint, OneDrive, etc.

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In a few words

Among all the changes made this year, Lecko has identified five main ones for Microsoft Teamsopening up to external users (in two stages: for users with a Microsoft account and then others), developing interoperability (via the connector catalogue, in particular), integration with Office 365 (redesign of Skype for Business in Teams), event management (with the arrival of Stream), and the implementation of a free version of Teams.

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Microsoft aims at targetting small businesses with its free version of Teams

The opening of Teams to external users is now operational, including those without a Microsoft account. In addition to functionality, this raises the problem of governance around Teams: when can I give access to an external? How should I avoid the risk of data intrusion/leakage? Do I have to close external access once my project is finished? These questions are challenging for the teams governing Office 365 in companies. Interoperability in Teams is still only a gadget, for connectors and bots. Microsoft announced progress on this subject in 2019. Skype for Business and Teams still coexist, even if the merger continues on its way. Microsoft said it migrated its telephony from Skype to Teams to set an example. The advent of Stream to replace Office Video brings enriched functions around event management (live broadcasting, meeting recording, speech to text, etc.). Interoperability will be a topic to follow in 2019 regarding Teams. The vendor is pleased with its integration with Klaxoon: users can now integrate Brainstorm, Quiz, Surveys and Challenges into Teams to connect the two environments. Encouraging news to change the way we manage our meetings (sometimes boring and unproductive).

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Microsoft and Klaxoon connect their collaborative tools

What’s next?

In 2019, Teams should continue its momentum of functional evolutions (with a rich roadmap), open up to field employees (with the redesign of StaffHub in Teams), open up more to the rest of Office 365 and others (including Klaxoon!). Synchronous collaboration (meetings, telephony…) will be done through Teams. Access management can be done through channels (functionality as requested as well as questionable). However, the product is moving towards a functional “catch-all”, which adds to the experience. Not sure that users will find it beneficial….

What to do about it?

The adoption of Teams changes phase: the period of discovery, where the product has seduced a large audience by obviously addressing a productivity issue, is over, and the period when it is a question of really changing the way we work by taking advantage of the platform. In your support system, no longer try to explain how the tool works (users must now take charge of themselves) but try to demonstrate the value of certain use cases (e.g. meeting in one click, talking about a document under construction, broadcasting an event to a large audience with Stream, etc.).

Lecko provides efficient approaches and tools to develop new usages with Teams, Yammer or any other social collaborative platform on the market (Workplace by Facebook, G Suite, etc.). Reach out to us if you want to learn more!

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Bastien Le Lann

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