Microsoft Teams is, essentially a central point for teams, classes or groups to chat and share and collaborate with files. As well as text chat, you can also video call and screen share. You can do all this within various channels which can be dedicated to specific projects, teams or classes.
There are several other options available, one of which is Facebook Workplace (which, as the name suggests, is more work orientated) and Slack, which is used by huge numbers. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a new chat-based workspace in Office 365. It’s integrated with all the Microsoft applications, including Skype and Microsoft Office apps including Outlook.
Hundreds of thousands of businesses, organisations, schools, colleges and universities are already using it.
It’s really for people who use Office 365 on a regular basis – if your company or organisation is a Google G Suite (Google Apps) user, then it’s really not going to be as appealing and you’re probably better off plumping for Slack.
Teams is about two-way interactions via threaded, persistent chats which you can then search later – so you can keep track of everything without having to use email, which everyone agrees is not an ideal tool for collaboration. Microsoft does not intend to replace Yammer or Skype with it.
How does Microsoft Teams work?
Although team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, it’s easy to have private discussions via text. It also works with Skype to offer voice and video conferences. It supports fun elements like emojis, stickers, GIFs, and custom memes. So far, so Slack.
But what makes Microsoft Teams different from Slack is that Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI, and Delve are all built-in. The menu bar provides access to activity alerts, your chats, teams, meetings, files, and settings.
All data in Microsoft Teams is encrypted.
Which platforms does Microsoft Teams support?
Microsoft Teams is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and it’s also available on the web – just like other Office 365 apps.
How much does Microsoft Teams cost?
Microsoft Teams is included with most Office 365 plans, while there is also a freemium version of Teams that includes support for up to 300 people. If you’re on the free tier, you’ll get unlimited chat messages and search. You also get 10,000 searchable messages, 10 app integrations, 5GB of file storage, and 1:1 video chats.
Naturally, there’s also integration with other Office apps and Skype-powered video calling. If you compare the free version of Microsoft Teams to Slack’s free equivalent, Teams actually looks more enticing – as long as you have 300 people or less in your organisation.