Microsoft Teams launched in Australia
Microsoft’s new chat based workspace in office365 is now available in Australia. In May Microsoft announced more than 100 new or improved features in Teams and has made the product available in 19 languages and 180 countries. Teams brings people chat and content into a flexible and collaborative digital workspace regardless of where they are physically located.
Microsoft’s chat and collaboration platform Teams may be arriving sometime after Slack but thanks to its integration with Office 365, has a few tricks of its own up its sleeve. As well as the chat-based comms, Teams’ integration with other Microsoft services allows for shared files and calendars, collaborative editing, and easy switching between voice, video and text chat. The service is available to most subscribers to Microsoft cloud-based Office 365 suite just by enabling it in the office 365 admin centre.
In its simplest form the service allows users to set up Teams, each of which is essentially a hub for group chat rooms, which are called channels. Multiple chat rooms or channels can be created within a Team and to help keep chats easy to follow, conversations are threaded, flow from top to bottom and notify users of updates. If users need face-to-face conversation, they can jump straight into Skype voice or video chats with other channel participants with a single click. Teams is integrated with Microsoft’s online office suite Office 365, which means it is tied to other Microsoft Office services, such as Word and Excel, as well as its cloud storage and sharing services such as SharePoint. PowerPoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are also integrated with Teams. Consequently any documents, spreadsheets, presentations and the like that are shared within a Team are synced with a copy stored in Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage and a local SharePoint environment, so every Team member always has access to the latest version. Collaborative editing of this shared content is also possible, with each user’s changes reflected in the Office software in real time. Access to files, internal sites and dashboards is automatically controlled by Office 365 Groups and SharePoint, with users able to create a new Group or attach the Team to an existing Group when creating the Team.
Teams is designed to meet the same security and data protection standards as Office 365 and is Office 365 Tier C compliant. The service enforces two-factor authentication, single sign on through Active Directory and encryption of data in transit and at rest.
Team channels can also communicate with outside services via Connectors. Connectors already exist to push updates from GitHub, Zendesk, MailChimp, SAP SuccessFactors and Salesforce to Teams’ channels and an API framework is available to allow more to be built.