Microsoft Teams Overview from the Experts [Webinar]

Hi ya’ll! Spring has sprung here in the US, and it’s a perfect opportunity for a refresh. Yes, it’s great to do some spring cleaning around the house, but in this case I’m talking specifically about switching up the way we work with our colleagues every day. Microsoft Teams has been generally available Office 365 enterprise customers for about a month, helping people better collaborate with a chat-based workspace. It has definitely already made an impact at AvePoint!

But some organizations are still getting up to speed on the new offering from Microsoft or still considering whether to adopt it. And others, like Office 365 Government customers, don’t yet have access to Teams. That’s why we teamed up with Microsoft and Avanade to bring you a webinar that introduces Teams and shares real use cases to help you see its value.

In this webinar, we covered:

  • What the Teams interface looks like
  • Connectors available in Microsoft Teams
  • Technical requirements for Microsoft Teams
  • Features and functionality on the Microsoft Teams roadmap
  • How collaboration has changed in the last 30 years

Watch the Microsoft Teams is Here webinar recording on demand:

Was this Microsoft Teams overview helpful? Have more questions for our experts? Keep the conversation going on Twitter! Tweet your questions to Dan (@DanSkype), Michelle (@shellecaldwell), and me (@meetdux). And of course, feel free to leave a comment below!

More Resources for Getting Started with Microsoft Teams

  • How to Use Microsoft Teams: Tips from AvePoint’s Engineering Team Click Here >
  • Microsoft Teams for Beginners: Tips from a Millennial Click Here >
  • Install Microsoft Teams desktop app Click Here >
  • Once you have the Microsoft Teams app, check out their free resources to help Click Here >

Webinar Transcript: Microsoft Teams is Here! Now What?

Dux: A wonderful day, everybody. Thank you for joining us. My name is Dux Raymond Sy with AvePoint and we’re very excited today to have a phenomenal conversation with friends from Avanade and Microsoft to talk about Microsoft Teams. Since Teams came out in preview late October, there’s been a lot of buzz, a lot of great feedback, and recently, Teams went GA, and boy, we’ve seen a lot of love and excitement from the broader community. So how better for us to learn more about it and really talk about what we have today and what we can expect in the future. We’ve got our colleagues with us here, Dan from Microsoft, and Michelle from Avanade, so this is exciting.

As we go through the presentation today, just a highlight of the agenda. We’ll get to meet our colleagues. We’ll talk about what the world is like today around collaboration. Michelle will share their experience at Avanade and how they work with customers, and more importantly, where Teams fit in this picture. And then Dan will provide a Microsoft Teams overview, talk about the business value, and typical use cases that customers are leveraging Teams for, and what’s coming. And I’ll spend a few minutes just talking about when to use what. We’ve got a lot of great questions prior to this webinar. People are asking about, “Well, if Teams is great, how does it fall in line with all the other workloads in Office 365?” So I’ll chat about that briefly and how it relates to other technologies like Groups and SharePoint in general. And then we’ll open it up for our Q&A and panel discussion.

So with that, just a quick introduction to everybody. Again, my name is Dux. I serve as the CTO here at AvePoint. Very grateful to be a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director. And I’ve been working in this field for over 15, 16 years. So again, thank you for joining us. Hey, Dan, why don’t you introduce yourself to everybody?

Dan: Yeah, hey, thank you, Dux. My name is Dan Stevenson. Very excited to be here with everybody. I work at Microsoft on Microsoft Teams. I’m one of the product management technical managers for a good chunk of the product, as well as our customer engagement programs. And I’ve been at Microsoft actually 14 years now as of two days from now, and I previously worked in Skype for Business and a few other products.

Dux: Happy anniversary.

Dan: Thank you.

Dux: Michelle? Welcome.

Michelle: Good morning, everybody. Thank you, Dux. Thanks, Dan. My name is Michelle Caldwell and I work at Avanade. My day job at Avanade is I’m the North America Digital Workplace Director, and I’m also honored to be a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director. So thanks for joining us this morning. And I guess it’s morning for me, not morning for everybody; I’m on the west coast. And let’s go ahead and move into the Modern Collaboration Journey. So, I work with clients every day on how collaboration has changed, and we’re going to talk about that to kind of introduce us into this topic around Teams.

Today’s collaboration has changed a lot, and I was thinking about this as we were getting ready for this webinar. And just the context of even how my own collaboration working at organizations over the last 15 years has changed and how I work with different teams. And the technology has just really changed the way that we’re able to collaborate. Things like smart technologies, AI, cloud computing… as we think about bots and things like that, these things weren’t even around 10 or 15 years ago. The experience has evolved dramatically. I was out hiking in Camelback Mountain yesterday and my partner I was hiking with got a Skype call right close to the summit. And I’m like, “Ten years ago, we couldn’t have been doing this. We couldn’t have been working while hiking Camelback Mountain and being able to have a business conversation at the same time.”

Now more than ever, it’s considered business-critical. We’re still used to having access now to so many different consumer-based experiences that are, in some cases, higher grade in the past than what we’ve been able to get a hold of within the enterprise. That it’s really changed the way that we look at how important it is to provide a good collaboration experience for employees. Employees actually care about their collaboration environments, and we’ll talk here in a few minutes about the generational differences in how they look at this kind of stuff. But younger generations really do care about having frictionless collaboration and ways to do that in a very simple way.

And businesses must empower their employees. There is no one-size-fits-all anymore about how teams want to work together so giving them the opportunity to select what’s going to work best for them and we get into the use cases, again, I’ll walk through some of what he’s seen, and people are choosing those journeys. But being able to have the options for teams to choose how they want to best work together is really important.

So it’s not what it used to be. Content creation is more than just Word and Excel or PowerPoint. The way that we create content has changed a lot over the years and will continue to rapidly transform. It’s not just about meeting rooms and email threads anymore, or text messages, or Skype, or video chats. There’s so many different ways, so many different channels in which we can collaborate. Being able to bring that in all into one cohesive experience is something now that I see a lot of businesses are trying to get a handle on, and I think what you’ll see today is that Teams… is have the capability of bringing many channels together for teams to get their work done.

Ideation is no longer just about Post-It notes. For those of you that know me and have worked with me in the past know I’m a huge fan of Post-It notes. I’m an innovation games facilitator. And thinking facilitator and all that stuff really requires a lot of that hands-on, Post-It collaboration. But ideation is done in so many different ways nowadays that it’s not exclusively Post-It note-only territory anymore.

No longer done just in location. Work can be done anywhere. An example I mentioned earlier, hiking up a mountain. And people want to be able to work in a flexible manner, and most organizations are really looking at, “How do I free up my employees to work in times best for them and ways best for them, and in locations best for them?”

Working is not just sitting at your desktop or your laptop. It’s almost table stakes, really, to have something that considers mobility and multi-channel or multi-device nowadays. Organizations that don’t empower that are having a really hard time retaining talent and attracting new talent. So it’s no longer something that’s a “nice to have.” It must be part of what you’re thinking about when we’re thinking about collaboration.

Knowledge management is more than just structured folders or huge file shares. There is so much knowledge being captured now in so many different channels. I talk to customers all the time about those that are using enterprise social channels like Yammer. And then so much knowledge being shared over things like IM and chat, and email, and in documents. How do they really take advantage of that? Moving forward in my slide here. And then lastly on this slide, employees demand environments which make it easy for them to collaborate.

It’s not just about technology. We really have to think about… and we’re thinking about “How do we provide an environment where our employees can get their work done in a way that feels empowered and frictionless?” We really have to look at how teams work together. No two teams typically will collaborate exactly in the same manner. And we’ll talk a little bit about a couple of examples of some team collaboration journeys here in a moment.

We really need to look at the ways in which they communicate; how they share and capture knowledge. Again, I don’t see that being a massive one-size-fits-all within organizations anymore. It’s becoming harder to have that right answer that will suit everyone. So having a way in which your knowledge management policies can be flexible to support how teams are doing, that knowledge capture and sharing is really important.

How people are connecting within and outside of your organization to get that work done. Sharing and openness, this is a big trend with the younger generations. They don’t work in this siloed environment. They share to learn, they ask a lot of questions. They’re not afraid to be really open and transparent about things they do know and things they don’t know. So being able to have environments where that can be supported is important.

Culture. I say this a lot to people when I go work with them. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, right? You can have the best-laid plans, but if you ignore your culture and you don’t pay attention to “How are people actually working today, and where could we have opportunities to enhance that or evolve that?” You’ll be missing out on a major opportunity. Mindset and then experience are also big factors in how we approach modern collaboration.

Technology is important. I don’t want to say that it’s not. This whole call is about teams and technology. It’s an enabler, though. And we have to understand how our teams want to work together so that we can best plug in that technology to support and guide that collaborative environment.

It can also move faster than your business. A lot of customers are struggling with the pace of Office 365 and how much new stuff is coming through every day, every week, every month. You can build strategies to help with this. At Avanade, our tenants are mostly on by default with new capabilities. There’s been a couple technologies rolled in the last year that we opted to turn off for a little bit of time to have strategies around… for us, those were things like Delve. We had some things, when Delve came on by default, that we realized some of our security wasn’t exactly as tight with some of our content as we thought. So we had to roll it back and rethink our strategies against how we were handling our content management and knowledge management, and how we were protecting certain types of data.

So completely can empathize with what organizations are going through on that front. But having strategies around the capabilities that may be disruptive versus ones that might be enablers, it’s important to identify the difference.

We talked a little bit about culture this morning already. So being really honed in in understanding your culture. And culture within certain teams can be very different. Again, I see less and less of one corporate culture as really the way to make these decisions. It’s understanding team by team or group by group the subcultures that are there, especially when we work with technologies like teams, and all those can just best be leveraged.

And then supporting our business. Tie some of these capabilities and enablers to our overall business strategies. That it helps us ensure that we continue to get executive support when we’re looking at rolling out new technologies like Teams.

So a couple months ago, there was a talk that one of my colleagues did with his team around Groups. Wictor Wilén is also another MVP that works at Avanade. And I updated this content to reflect the U.S. workforce. The one that we did a couple of months ago reflected the UK workforce. And the numbers were pretty close, but they were slightly different. We do have a larger percentage of Generation X and Y and Z workers in our workforce already than in the UK. So this becomes even more relevant to the U.S. workforce and Canada workforce that may be sitting on this call today that we have more of the younger workforce mix in our workforce today where technology like Teams really enable them to kind of create their own collaboration journey.

This is a portion of the transcript from the webinar “Microsoft Teams is Here, Now What” from AvePoint. To access the full transcript and audio, click here.