What is Microsoft Teams – Part 1

What is this Teams thing people keep talking about?

Part One of Three

You have heard of Microsoft Teams by now but what is it? How do you propose it as a way for your customers to be more effective in their businesses? What do they do with it once they have it? How do you get it?

So many questions, let’s take them one at a time.

What is Teams?

Teams is Microsoft’s answer to Slack. It is a website, an application for your PC or Mac, an App for your mobile device that lets you communicate and collaborate with your colleagues and trusted partners.

Some of the features of Teams include those things you need to stay in touch:

  • Team Workspaces
  • Channels to focus content within a workspace
  • Tabs – add a variety of content into your channels include apps and documents
  • Persistent Chat (think a message board with threads)
  • Live Chat including text, voice and video for 1:1 or many to many
  • Document repositories (sharing files with your team)
  • Bots that can do helpful things to make your job easier
  • Wikis – capture that institutional knowledge from all those smart people that work with you
  • E-mail enabled contribution. Copy the channel on those team e-mails so everyone can find it later.

Microsoft announced at Ignite 2017 that Teams would slowly take over for Skype for Business as the center of the collaboration space for Office 365. Skype isn’t going away but much of the capability offered by Skype is already there with more coming over the next year. See the roadmap link at the end of this document for more information.

How do you propose it as a tool for your customer?

Do you remember those conversations you had with your customers when Microsoft launched SharePoint? There were so many possibilities, so many features that you could do ANYTHING with it but they were left confused by the conversation and not sure what to do with the information. They need to have their people work together but spending weeks to months setting it up wasn’t welcome news.

If they are current Office 365 customers or planning to adopt Office 365, they’ll get Teams with their bundled subscription for products like:

  • Business Essentials
  • Business Premium
  • E1
  • E3
  • E5

There is no standalone license for Teams because it uses so much of the Office 365 back end to make the magic happen (SharePoint, Exchange and Skype), it needs be part of a complete solution.

Teams gives your customer a fully functional tool that allows them to be productive with just a few minutes of configuration. Here is how simple it is:

Create your team, give it a name, decide whether you’re going to allow people to discover the team (Public or Private) and then invite those you want to participate.

What Happens to Skype, SharePoint and OneDrive Now?

Some of the capabilities of these products have been integrated or in some cases replaced with Teams. What happens to these products when Teams hits full stride and adoption starts to rise?

Skype will transition to Teams

Yep, if you have been on the Skype roller coaster you remember the steps through Office Communications Server, Lync Server, the purchase of Skype and finally Skype for Business. Microsoft has now announced that the Skype for Business Online services will transition to Teams over the course of the next two years.

The Skype server, the Skype client, IM, presence, video, phone calls, audio conferencing will all be moving to Teams. It makes sense because Microsoft is using Teams to become the new center of collaboration in the Microsoft ecosystem. Why wouldn’t you want to have everything Skype brings to the table when you a selling the concept of people working together?

Microsoft has published a roadmap for the transition from Skype to Teams which will happen over much of 2018 and some of 2019 but the inevitable march has begun. You will be able to use your Skype client for a while yet and those using Teams will soon be able to communicate with Skype users easing the switch.

Keep in mind that on premise Skype will not change so if you’re running Skype in your datacenter not much will change for you.

SharePoint and OneDrive

These technologies are key for making sure that Teams works to provide and share content so they won’t be changing. Files stored in Teams are actually going into SharePoint file respositories on the back end. If you weren’t aware, OneDrive has the same magic trick and uses SharePoint for storage behind the curtains which is why OneDrive and SharePoint have a lot of the same rules and limits.


You have completed part one of this series but you’ll want to keep going and read part two and three when you have a moment. There is more to cover.


In part two we’ll walk you through the different elements of Teams and show you some screens you’ll want to explore in your own Office 365 environment.


In part three we’ll teach you how to talk to Bots and how meetings will change in Teams. We also have roadmap information just shared by the Teams product group.