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How Microsoft Teams is Evolving

Microsoft Teams continues to grow at an exponential rate. Microsoft Teams had 145 million daily active users by the end of April 2021. The platform’s monthly active users had reached 250 million by August 2021, after Microsoft changed its count metric.

Microsoft Teams’ growth records have been obliterated almost as soon as they were published because of factors such as working from home, the 2020 pandemic, and the continuation of digital transformation programs.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a new tool in Office 365 designed to be a collaboration hub for collaboration between team members and ensure that work gets done wherever they are, on any device.

The purpose of Teams and the benefit of using it instead of the other applications within the Office 365 suite are widely disputed. Throughout this overview, I’ll share with you why I like Teams and how you can use them in your small teams and projects.

In April 2018, Microsoft released statistics showing a 75 million user increase in Teams since its launch as a rival to Slack’s collaboration software in 2017. In its history, Teams have grown at the fastest rate.

With the advent of work-from-home connectivity, Microsoft Teams has gained further prominence as a key component of its workplace productivity and collaboration strategy.

Microsoft Teams Key Statistics

  • 95 million new users joined Microsoft in 2020. Apps like this one grew more quickly than others during the pandemic
  • In the last year, it gained 75 million users, and now has 145 million daily, active users
  • Over the past six months, Microsoft Teams has grown by 894 percent, outpacing Zoom (Aternity).
  • There are more than 500,000 organizations that use Microsoft Teams as their primary messaging platform
  • The team’s revenue is estimated to be $6.8 billion in 2020, up 700 percent from the previous year

Teams are Evolving into Microsoft’s UC Platform

The Microsoft Teams team took home the award for Best of Enterprise Connect Overall earlier this year. Redmond’s new vision for Microsoft Teams was the main reason for the award. Group chats have been expanded by the company running Microsoft’s Unified Communications (UC) software, so it is now the best UC tool in the world. Microsoft Build, the annual developer conference, featured even more announcements from the group just a month later. 

Upgrades to Microsoft Teams

Unified communications are solutions that provide nearly everything in one package. The reason unified communications exist is because of this. Several Microsoft teams tools have been consolidated into a single update this year.

Users of Microsoft Teams are now able to create sub-chats allowing them to communicate with groups of less than 100 members. Creating different channels for production and marketing to work on the same product is no longer necessary. Put those who need a private channel into one.

Microsoft Teams now has Live Captions

The addition of Live Captions in meetings has enabled meeting attendees to read along with the video. Live captioning can be turned on or off by participants. Employees who are hearing impaired, or who have severe difficulty hearing, are now able to participate in conversations using Microsoft Teams.

Despite its small size, the feature is one of the fundamentals of a much larger endeavor. Having added closed captioning to Teams, the next step is to add real-time translations. This would be a natural progression to do closed captions in different languages for each participant. Communicating in the native tongues of employees is a significant time-saver as well.

Background Blur

A popular update to Teams was background blur. Users can select background blur while in a video call so that they can only focus on the person they are chatting with. While blurring provides privacy for those around those on the call, it also makes the video less distracting.

Sharing with Teams

In UC, sharing is a key component. With Microsoft Teams, all abilities have been upgraded. A whiteboard is often used in creative processes. A virtual whiteboard can be created within a meeting by pointing an external camera at the whiteboard.

Documents and private chats have been made available throughout the channels. Additionally, the platform keeps those files as separate tabs, not directly in the chat window. You can easily access all the files shared within your channel or team using the tab function.

Inside Teams, it has become easier to share screens. Mobile and computer sharing is seamless. Furthermore, you can share just pictures from inside the mobile device or a PowerPoint presentation, or you can mirror your screen.

Standout Features

The following are some of the standout features of Teams.

  • Private and public spaces
  • Channels found in team spaces for planning conversations according to topic
  • Extending channel tabs to other applications, websites, files, and services
  • Connecting third-party applications and services to Channels
  • Chatbot framework for connecting third-party and home-grown chatbots within Channels
  • Using video conferencing for one-to-one or one-to-many meetings as well as screen sharing
  • Among the social experiences are profiles, likes, replies, stickers, GIFs, and of course emojis

Why Microsoft Teams Usage is Soaring

Microsoft Teams is soaring in popularity due to no particular secret sauce. As Microsoft is the enterprise’s dominant player, Teams comes with a built-in user base. When you have Teams, why would you choose Slack if you’re a Microsoft 365 user? What can Slack do that Teams cannot? By the way, the question was rhetorical. Microsoft 365 users who use Slack as well as Teams will probably prefer Slack. There are certain things we enjoy.

It’s still early enough in the game that it’s still kind of a Wild, Wild West out there for the use of collaboration platforms within enterprises. There’s a lot of stuff out there when it comes to technology deployment/use inside companies, and collaboration tools are no different. Companies often use collaboration tools in silos across teams.

Another department prefers Slack, and another Team, still, another department prefers yet another option. Getting everyone on the same page and creating a strategy for integrating, deploying, and adopting collaboration tools will remain a challenge for a while.

Conclusion

The software giant’s Teams platform is rapidly growing in importance. It allows companies to have one solution rather than cobbling together several to accomplish the same result. As Microsoft focuses on Teams, expect Skype for Business to be phased out, or at least updated less frequently. To meet the demands of the modern workplace, Microsoft is rapidly developing UC platforms.

Teams are available as a desktop application, web browser extension, and mobile application. There is a version available for most major operating systems, including Android, iOS, and Windows.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Microsoft Teams:

1. What sets Microsoft Teams apart from other collaboration tools like Slack?

  • Microsoft Teams offers seamless integration with Office 365, providing users with a comprehensive suite of productivity tools within a single platform. Unlike Slack, Teams caters specifically to Microsoft 365 users, offering a familiar interface and deep integration with other Microsoft applications such as Outlook, SharePoint, and OneDrive. Additionally, Teams provides robust security features and compliance capabilities, making it a preferred choice for organizations that prioritise data protection and regulatory compliance.

2. How can businesses effectively integrate and deploy Microsoft Teams across their organization?

  • Successful integration and deployment of Microsoft Teams require careful planning and strategic implementation. Organizations should start by identifying their collaboration needs and objectives, conducting thorough training sessions to familiarize employees with Teams’ features and functionalities, and establishing clear communication channels for ongoing support and feedback. Additionally, leveraging resources such as Microsoft’s adoption guides and support documentation can help streamline the deployment process and ensure smooth adoption across all departments.

3. What are the latest updates and features in Microsoft Teams, and how can they benefit users?

  • Microsoft Teams continuously introduces new updates and features to enhance collaboration and productivity for users. Some of the latest additions include Live Captions for meetings, Background Blur for video calls, and improved sharing capabilities for documents and screens. These features not only improve accessibility and user experience but also enable more efficient communication and collaboration among team members. Stay updated with Microsoft’s official announcements and release notes to leverage the latest features and maximize the benefits of using Microsoft Teams.
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