Faced with a growing need for communication efficiency, businesses across the world are seeking alternatives to traditional systems like email and phone. Unified communication hubs where teams can easily share ideas are, increasingly, the preferred method for internal and external communications.
In this article, we’ll explain why Microsoft Teams is the best software choice for professional communication by listing 10 ways it can benefit you and your staff.
Cloud-based communication hubs that combine chat and video calls with other functionalities are an effective way to streamline and simplify remote communications.
They’re essentially online offices – you can chat with colleagues, instantly share files, host meetings, organise your calendar, and so much more. They make remote work seamless, which, in a post-COVID world, is a serious advantage for businesses with at-home employees.
Forget complicated custom setups that require IT to manage, install and secure – software like Teams is easy to download, completely secure, and accessible from phones, tablets and computers, making it the perfect way to communicate from in and away from the office.
- Simplified internal communication
- Video conferencing
- Cloud-based phone system
- Document collaboration in real time
- Scalability for video
- Easier scheduling
- Excellent cyber-security
- Activity feed
- Access to Microsoft Planner
- Access to apps, bots and connectors
1. Simplified Internal Communication
Email isn’t always the best way to send messages. Overly aggressive spam filters and cluttered inboxes can lead to important messages being hidden or overlooked. Even when there aren’t any problems with delivery, email chains – especially between multiple participants – have an unpleasant tendency to grow in length, becoming convoluted and difficult to follow.
Teams streamlines in-house discussions with instant messaging, allowing team members to exchange ideas and share files in real time. Chat threads can be between two or more people, accommodating both private and team-wide conversations; usefully, they also have a search function, so you can find old messages without too much effort.
Because Teams can be installed on smartphones, computers and tablets, your staff have access to everything they need to work, no matter where they are. This is a huge advantage for mobile team members, especially those who are often in the field.
2. Video Conferencing
Video conferencing has become a mainstay of remote communication, to the extent that finding the right platform has become the biggest challenge for companies.
Teams simplifies this process by making video conferencing a built-in feature. You can conduct virtual meetings and hold multi-person conferences, and do so with handy tools like background replacement, in-conference messaging, and live captions.
You can also record meetings, which can be especially useful for interactions between your staff and external organisations. Teams lets you record both video and voice calls, and automatically records any screen-sharing activity. All recorded files can be stored locally or in the Microsoft Stream cloud, allowing you and other authorised team members to easily access and download the recordings at a later date.
3. Cloud-based Phone System
Not every communication hub boasts the features that Teams does. The platform comes standard with instant messaging, file-sharing, and video calls, making it simple for your team members to talk and exchange ideas.
One of the biggest advantages of Microsoft Teams versus other communication platforms is Teams Calling. Teams Calling is a VoIP telephony solution that allows your team members to make and receive calls to and from any device, anywhere in the world, replacing legacy PBX and ISDN/PSTN systems with a completely cloud-based solution.
You can easily expand your teams or move to new offices without having to invest in new hardware, making rapid, budget-sensitive business scaling more practical than ever.
Interested in learning more about Teams Calling? Get in touch with one of our Teams Calling experts, and find out how moving to the cloud can improve your business’s communications.
4. Document Collaboration in Real Time
Unlike email, where files are attached to specific emails, files sent through Teams chat are accessible through both the thread itself and the Files tab on each chat. This makes it easier to find, edit and download files. Compared to competitors, Teams also has a very generous storage capacity, with the free version allowing individual users to store up to 2 GB of files in the Teams chat (up to 10 GB across all teams).
Both features are overshadowed, though, by the ability to collaborate on documents in real time. Through the Files tab, documents can be edited directly in Teams, eliminating the need for multiple versions and streamlining approval processes. Individual users can even be tagged in Teams documents – they’ll receive a notification in the Activities tab.
5. Scalability For Video
Teams is unparalleled in its scalability. The free Teams subscription permits up to 100 participants per meeting, with up to 500,000 overall users – no matter how large and complicated your organisation, Teams can step up to the challenge of helping your staff communicate more effectively.
6. Easier Scheduling
Teams makes managing your schedule easier with automatic calendar synchronisation.
Your Teams calendar is connected to your Outlook calendar, which means meeting that are scheduled or accepted in one app automatically show up in the other. This can be especially helpful when interacting with external users who aren’t able to arrange meetings within Teams.
Front-facing teams will also find value in the excellent Shifts tool, which allows managers to schedule and change work shifts from within Teams. Users can view shift details, request assigned shifts, and even clock in and out remotely from their phones. Shifts even has a section for PTO requests and shift swaps.
7. Excellent Cyber-security
Developed by the world’s largest software company, Teams’ exceptional security and compliance gives it a huge advantage over competitors. With features like two-factor authentication and encryption of at-rest and in-transit data, messages and files exchanged via Teams are extremely secure.
Files are stored and shared via SharePoint, messages are stored in a group mailbox in Exchange Online, and team data is stored and managed by Azure Active Directory. This leveraging of existing security frameworks means Teams is substantially more secure than many of its competitors.
8. Activity Feed
Teams’ Activity tab makes keeping track of task updates and conversations easy, especially in the context of the platform’s massive suite of integrations and apps. If something happens on your Team – regardless of whether it’s a changed shift, a document edit that needs your attention, or a new chat message – you’ll get a notification in Activity.
For busy managers, the ability to automatically collate items that need attention into a single, chronological feed is invaluable.
9. Access to Microsoft Planner
Project management is arguably one of the biggest management headaches. Keeping tasks on schedule, managing different teams in different offices or time zones, keeping track of multiple deadlines … it can get confusing.
Teams can be integrated with Microsoft Planner, a task management app that makes monitoring support issues, tracking campaigns, and managing processes simpler. Although variants like Asana and Trello exist, Planner stands out with a streamlined interface and gentle learning curve. Its features include multiple task layouts, automatic email updates on tasks, and a Planner Hub, which provides detailed reports on tasks.
10. Access to apps, bots and connectors
In addition to Planner, Teams can be used with a range of Microsoft and third-party apps. Teams’ built-in apps include Lists, Tasks, Praise and Approvals, while third-party apps like Trello, Asana and SurveyMonkey are also available.
Custom bots, apps, and connectors also work with Teams, allowing your staff to automate communications and receive regular updates from services like Twitter, GitHub and Yammer.
As cloud-based communication hubs gain dominance as the preferred method of business communication, choosing the right platform can make the difference between improved efficiency and a confusing, complicated user experience.
A well-rounded, well-supported platform, Microsoft Teams is the best choice for professional teams, with superior functions offering clear differentiation from competitors. Its scalability, cohesion with other Microsoft offerings, and ability to replace traditional phones with full voice calling functionality makes it an excellent option for businesses wanting to future-proof their communications.