To help facilitate communication and collaboration in businesses, Microsoft offers a solution called Teams. Experts predict that Teams will have the fastest growth of all the available business chat solutions over the next two years, according to a Spiceworks report released in December 2018.
Here are four things you might not have known about it:
1. Teams Is Microsoft’s Version of Slack
Like Slack, Teams is a communication and collaboration solution that offers a wide variety of services. The core services offered by Teams include:
- Unlimited chat messaging and message searches that do not have a size limit
- Audio and video calling (one-on-one or group calls)
- The ability to host audio, video, and web conferences with anyone inside or outside a company
- Built-in Microsoft Office Online apps (Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote)
- Integration with more than 140 apps and services (both Microsoft and third party)
- 10 gigabyte (GB) of storage per team for file sharing, plus 2 GB of storage for each team member
- Screen sharing
- Channel meetings
2. There Is Now a Free Version
In July 2018, Microsoft launched a free version of Teams that does not require a Microsoft account. Teams is also included in some Office 365 subscriptions, such as Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium.
The free version includes the core services just mentioned and a few others. The version provided with Office 365 subscriptions offers several extra features, such as administrative support, advanced security features, Microsoft Outlook, and additional file storage space.
3. Teams Runs on Multiple Platforms
Teams runs on a variety of devices and platforms. Desktop versions are available for Windows 10, Windows 7, and Apple Mac OS X (10.10 and later). There are also mobile apps available for Google Android and Apple iOS devices. Download links for the free version of Teams can be found on the Get Microsoft Teams for Free web page.
4. Teams Will Eventually Replace Skype for Business and StaffHub
Microsoft has announced that it plans to replace Skype for Business — a unified communications solution that is part of Office and Office 365 — with Teams. Teams has already reached “feature parity” with Skype for Business, according to experts. Microsoft has not yet released a timeline for the retirement of Skye for Business. However, it might be coming in the not-too-distant future. On October 1, 2018, Microsoft stopped offering Skype for Business to new Office and Office 365 customers with fewer than 500 users. Instead, these customers are being set up to use Teams. Current customers with fewer than 500 users can continue to use Skype for Business. In addition, Microsoft is continuing to offer Skype for Business to existing and new Office and Office 365 customers with more than 500 users.
Although not nearly as widely used as Skype for Business, StaffHub will also be retired. Part of Office 365, StaffHub enables a manager to set work schedules for frontline employees, which they can then view. Employees can also use StaffHub to swap shifts and chat with each other. Microsoft has already incorporated StaffHub’s capabilities into Teams. The StaffHub mobile app will no longer be unavailable for download after April 1, 2019, and will stop working entirely on October 1, 2019.