3 Ways Microsoft Teams Can Boost Its Mainstream Appeal

Post Date: 02/03/2021
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Microsoft Teams has come a massive way since it was first introduced as part of our day-to-day workspace. Microsoft has done a fantastic job listening to different requests and building the platform in an agile fashion, and they’ve been able to add these different features and functions without making Teams feel cluttered.

However, as the year went on, I noticed a few key missed opportunities for Microsoft Teams to break out into the mainstream. Teams is clearly more robust than competing applications like Zoom, but Zoom remains much more prevalent – What’s the disconnect here?

Well, I realized that Zoom makes things significantly easier for people who’re not already in their ecosystem compared to Microsoft. If Microsoft wants to capture that consumer market just as well as they’re able to capture the enterprise market, they have to make Teams more accessible.

Since working from home likely won’t be changing anytime soon—and even after we go back to the office many companies are probably going to continue some kind of WFH program—this is a great time to extend Teams’ reach. There are several things Microsoft can do to appeal to smaller businesses, startups, or even everyday individuals. Here are just a few.

Ease of Signing Up

First and foremost, Microsoft Teams has to remove some barriers to entry. Right now, assuming you’re just an average consumer, you have to manually sign up, have a Microsoft account, and go through a login process to be able to access the Microsoft Teams. For the average user like a parent wanting to log in to check on a student’s schoolwork, having to make an account just for this is really cumbersome.

Comparatively, on Zoom’s website it’s as simple as clicking “Sign in” and being greeted by a number of SSO options via Google or Facebook. Now I’m not suggesting that Microsoft will be able to accept Google Accounts for authentication, but there has to be a simple “two-click solution” for a user to get into the Teams interface and start a meeting (even if that user doesn’t have a Microsoft account).

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Ease of Joining a Meeting

Zoom’s simple code system has been something that I’ve noticed is a principal feature users tend to gravitate around. Someone creates a meeting and with a simple eight-digit code anyone can join. There are of course security concerns around this, but you can’t discount the human element of just “dialing a number” to get in.

Teams already has a Phone Conference ID as part of their invites. If Microsoft could make this code a key part of streamlining joining meetings then they could emulate that same experience. Having a spot to quickly put in that code on the Microsoft Teams website would be a fantastic addition!

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Ease of Hosting a Meeting

This is where I found Zoom actually has a “hook” that Microsoft can easily overcome. With Zoom, after creating an account and logging in, you can immediately create meetings.

Great! However, you can only host a meeting with 3 or more people for 40 minutes. Womp Womp.

Enter Microsoft. Beat them at their own game, get people to the same spot, and offer a five-person limit. Or better yet, institute no limit for the first meeting! This point by itself is an easy torpedo that could allow Microsoft to eat Zoom’s lunch.

There’s no question that Microsoft Teams is the premiere collaboration platform in our space, but if Microsoft wants to reach the broad appeal of its competitors, there have to be a few changes. Have any other ideas on how Teams can appeal to the masses? Drop them in the comments below!

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Sam Valme is Senior Director of Partner Experience at AvePoint, working out of our Arlington, Virginia office.

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