On Tuesday March 14th, Microsoft announced Microsoft Teams – a chat-based workspace available in Office 365 that is now fully functional and available to over 85 million Office 365 active users, in 19 languages and 181 markets world-wide. Microsoft Team users can utilize this new powerful collaboration suite of tools for team chats, calls, meetings, and messaging. The Teams are both customizable and extensible, and provide security and standards compliancy to keep your company’s sensitive collaborations private.
Microsoft Teams is built on four primary promises, each of which I’ll expand on in this post:
Chat for today’s teams
Hub for teamwork
Security teams trust
Chat for today’s teams is a powerful robust feature that provides threaded persistent chats, which includes audio calling from mobile devices, emailing a channel (that can include attachments), channel posts notifications, and video on Android, (which will be expanded to iOS and Windows Phone soon.)
Hub for teamwork includes the services and applications the Office 365 users use every day – SharePoint, OneNote, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and even Power BI, (although BI may require an additional subscription.) The meeting functionality includes scheduling capabilities, recurrence configuration, free/busy calendar availability, and an easy transition from a chat conversation to video and voice.
Customizable options allow you to create unique teams, by customizing Connectors, and Bots, and workspaces with tabs, with additional integrations being added constantly. Partnerships with SAP and Trello will allow additional integrations like SAP SuccessFactors to help employees track goals and performance as they work in Microsoft Teams. Trello allows teams to complete projects with boards, lists, and cards from within Microsoft Teams, making these Teams completely customizable for each hub for teamwork.
Security teams trust is achieved with the use of the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, and supports global standards including:
EU Model Clauses
There is also support for audit log searching, eDiscovery, and legal holds on channels, chats, and files have also been added.
Now that you understand a bit more about Microsoft Teams, let’s dig into how they can be used and configured in Office 365. First things first; they do require that you have one of the following Office 365 subscriptions;
Enterprise E1, E3 and E5*
*For those you who purchased E4 prior to its retirement, Microsoft Teams will be available to you too.
Within these subscriptions it’s easy enough to enable Microsoft Teams in the Office 365 Admin Center. Simply click Settings > Services & Add Ins > Microsoft Teams and toggle them on, and you can disable them by toggling them off.
As with most functionality in Office 365 your users have to be licensed to use Microsoft Teams, and you manage licenses the same way you manage any other Office 365 license. Sign in to Office 365, go to the Office 365 Admin Center and, on the Users > Active Users page, assign or remove the Microsoft Teams license.
In addition to using the Office 365 Admin Center you can also use Office 365 PowerShell to assign and remove licenses. For example; to assign a license to a user, use the following syntax:
Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName "<Account>" -AddLicenses "<AccountSkuId>"
To counter this action and remove a user license you can use the following PowerShell command:
Set-MsolUserLicense -UserPrincipalName <Account> -RemoveLicenses "<AccountSkuId1>", "<AccountSkuId2>"
After assigning licenses, your users can begin using this new and exciting feature for collaborating and communicating in Office 365.
One more thing, as the Office 365 administrator you’ll have access to the following configuration interface which allows you to quickly and easily manage your teams.
I’ll be writing another blog post in the near future which addresses each of these Microsoft Team configuration settings, but in the meantime happy chatting!