There have never been so many opportunities for teams to communicate and collaborate. But do tools such as Slack, Microsoft Yammer, and Microsoft teams complement each other? Or is it an either-or question? And which tool for cooperation in our team should we choose?

To answer these questions, I looked at the new Microsoft Team tool more closely and compared it with its competitor Slack and the already existing Microsoft service Yammer. As a Microsoft Partner, we work with Yammer and asked ourselves why a new service was developed at this point.

Microsoft teams in contrast to Slack

Slack (short for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge) got a first serious competitor through Microsoft teams. Both Slack and now Microsoft with Microsoft teams offer very similar possibilities for communication and collaboration in the team. In an open letter to Microsoft, the CEO of Slack took a position on the introduction of Microsoft teams. As a great advantage over Microsoft, he sees the many user experiences, the open platform and Slack’s customer-oriented, devotional work.

Slack is specialized in its tool, is smaller than Microsoft and to a certain extent more independent than Microsoft teams since teams are connected with many other Microsoft products. The but perhaps all the advantages of Slack beating advantage of Microsoft is the integration capability of other Microsoft Office products.

Microsoft Yammer – Why did it take an extra service?

Yammer is a tool to talk about working with group members and work together. It acts like a bulletin board, where documents, links and status updates can be posted. By integrating Yammer into Microsoft Office 365, Collaboration and Communication have been greatly simplified: Calendar, OneNote Notebooks, PowerBI, Planner, Documents stored in SharePoint, etc. can be shared with the group in Yammer.

Collaboration in groups with external partners is easy as they can easily be added to groups and remains up-to-date. The external partners can ask open questions, which the group can then answer. Each started discussion can be called with its own URL, which makes the discussion into other content very easy.

It would have been a possibility of Microsoft, Microsoft Yammer simply to expand the functionalities of Microsoft teams. However, this would have made Yammer much more complex, confusing and fuller. Through the new Microsoft product teams, we have users the options of choice. If we have used Yammer so far, we are not forced to use Microsoft teams.

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Microsoft teams – This can be the new service

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace in Office 365. It is a collaborative collaboration, document editing, and collaborative workspace. In Microsoft teams, access to other Office 365 suite products is enabled. For example, Outlook, SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Office 365ProPlus are already integrated into teams. It is, therefore, a basic setting of teams that the systems are linked together and does not have to be paid extra. OneNote, Skype for Business, PowerBI and SharePoint, but also notifications from, for example, Twitter can be integrated into Microsoft teams. All content in teams is encrypted and secured by Microsoft to high standards, and compliance policies are well represented.

Microsoft teams rely on fast, modern communication. The platform tries to meet the different needs of different teams. The type of communication is clearly tailored to a young target group. If you feel comfortable with WhatsApp and 9gag and like to communicate via GIFs, you will feel comfortable in teams quickly.

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Building Microsoft teams

The Microsoft team’s menu fields are “Activity”, “Chat”, “Teams”, “Appointments”, and “Files”.

Menu field “Activity”

Here are the last notifications from my teams. This allows team members to get a brief overview of the activities that have taken place in the teams.

Chat menu area

In the “Chat” menu field, team-independent, even private conversations can be performed with one or more people. Chat is the most important feature in Microsoft teams. Skype is fully integrated into teams and chats can be converted into video chat at any time. The Chathistorie is available at any time from the chat participant.

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Team menu

Creation of teams and associated channels:

In the Teams panel, the first steps are creating a new team (at the top of the “Social Blogging and Website” screen) and adding the team members. When the team is created, the “General” channel is automatically created. The team chats in this channel can be seen by the entire team as a standard, and each team member is informed about the activities of the group. Afterwards, additional channels can be added to the different topic and task areas of the team (at the top of the screen, “Blog” and “Website”). In the new channels, however, all team members are not participants of the conversation, as in the “General” channel. This means that the members of the team for whom the channel is relevant must be added separately.

If a team is deleted, all documents and files stored therein are automatically deleted.

Communicating with the team:

Different conversations can take place in the team via the different channels. The conversations can always be converted into a live video chat and the sharing and posting of documents etc. are very easy. Through numerous emojis, stickers, and templates of gifs and memes (pictures/animations which can be labeled), the conversations in the chats and channels become even more lively. The gifs and memes are especially popular with our own team entertainments.

The individual contributions in the channel can be directly answered or commented, whereby in a channel several entertainments can take place at the same time. This is very useful, as it helps to ensure that the channel’s clarity and reference are not lost. By mentioning a team member, as shown in the following screen section, the one is immediately drawn to the comment.

As with the private chats, the team history can be viewed at any time. Even members who were later included in the team have the opportunity to read the complete team history.

Individualization of teams:

The teams and channels can be removed as a favorite if I as a user does not want to participate in the content of the channels or do not have to be constantly up to date. This contributes to the clarity of the private view of Microsoft teams.

The workspace of the team in Microsoft teams also offers the possibility to customize it according to the requirements of the team. For example, the tabs in the channels can easily be expanded by Excel, OneNote, Planner, etc., as shown in the upper screen section.

If for example, the channel is extended by the PowerPoint tab, an existing PowerPoint file can be added. Every member can now work on this. The tab card maintenance is listed next to the file, making it easier to deal with them.

In addition, data from SAP or CRM can be integrated or queried in teams. This allows uncomplicated, clear conversations as all relevant data for a conversation can be mapped via the medium team.

Menu field “Dates”

The appointments from the teams as well as the own Outlook calendar are listed in the “Dates” menu field. This is, in my opinion, particularly handy, as it again helps to keep track of upcoming meetings.

Menu “Files”

The “Recently Used” view will display all the Office documents I had opened recently. The “Microsoft Teams” view lists all my team documents, and “OneDrive” lists all My OneDrive for Business files. “Downloads” displays all the files I downloaded from Microsoft teams. All listed files can be opened and edited from Microsoft teams and are automatically saved.

What is particularly handy is when creating a team at the same time in the SharePoint a site is created. In SharePoint, the team’s documents are also visible.

Important numbers of Microsoft teams

  • 500,000 teams can be created per client
  • Each team can have 10 owners
  • A user can create 250 teams
  • A team can have 600 members
  • You can have 10 users in a chat
  • The audio bandwidth is 100 Kbps
  • Videos create 4-8 Mbps (FullHD)

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