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Microsoft Teams

It’s surprising how fast communications can become muddled within organisations.

Go back forty-odd years and there was a saying that went, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, faster with computers.”

Computer users felt like clever insiders because we understood how they streamlined office and admin work. But we also grasped the huge capacity to get things hopelessly wrong if we pressed the wrong key.

Problems with teamwork before Office 365

Even though we all understand computers much better than early adopters did, we still run into the same types of problem. It’s still very easy to create sophisticated muddles if we’re not careful.

Here’s a typical scenario:

A team of just four people are working together on a project. Their main method of communication is email; it’s fast, convenient and can work like chat if everyone is at their machines at the same time.

The team leader sends the brief to everyone and asks for suggestions. All the response emails have the previous messages attached, but some team members hit ‘reply’ instead of “reply to all”, so only the original sender of the last email in the thread sees the response.

Now complicate matters by bringing in a new team member. They have a long list of threaded emails to wade through, with attached documents that include originals and updated versions. They mistakenly choose to comment on an old version or worse, they use it as the working brief and waste hours on out of date information.

The hub for teamwork in Office 365

There are collaboration apps designed to allow people to work together without creating that kind of disorder!

Microsoft Teams is one such, and the one we recommend to any organisation that needs a secure way of allowing people to work together.

Here’s how it does away with much of the muddle described above:

Using artificial intelligence, Bots help users get the job done efficiently. Teams uses about 20 of them that can answer common questions or help members set up polls and surveys along with many other helpful routines. No more jumbled email threads containing multiple versions of the same information.

You can also integrate social media so members can stay on top of what’s being said, by whom.

Co-authoring Microsoft Office documents in real time makes it possible for everyone to know which the latest version is. Important documents can be pinned within each workspace, ready for quick reference by any team member. Team members and information about their role, qualifications, department, calendar and contact details are also available.

Notifications between members stay in the Teams platform, doing away with the back and forth of emails that so quickly leads to confusing information overload. It also means there’s little chance of deleting an important email by mistake. The entire team and project is in one place, accessible on multiple devices through cloud integration.

Built-in Compliance

Compliance is a legal directive in certain industries, such as health or finance. In the past, the compliance rules have meant many companies couldn’t take advantage of modern collaboration tools.

Microsoft Teams offers enterprise grade security and compliance and supports Cloud Security Alliance compliance.

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Active Directory single sign on
  • Data encryption while sending and when received

Office 365 (of which Microsoft Teams is a part) has applications that Microsoft divides into four categories, each of which has specific compliance requirements. Some compliance commitments are enabled by default, while others are user controlled.

We’ve been around computers for a long time, and have watched trends come and go. The lean towards collaborative working is, we feel, here to stay, with Microsoft Teams being a forerunner.

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