How to implement Microsoft Teams properly in your organization
Is there any benefit that the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown has had on your organization? The answer is yes. Well, that is not to say that the pandemic lockdown has been an awesome experience, but that the aftermath of the lockdown can serve as a boost for your organization- anyway if you would allow it. Your organization should not be caught in the dark, rather, you should be at the forefront of making use of platforms such as Microsoft Teams- a platform of which use has gone through the roof lately. It is estimated that the total number of people that use Microsoft Teams daily has seen an increase from the approximate value of 32 million in March 2019, to about 75 million in April 2020. That is more than double in about a year. And a large part of that increase can be credited to the need for a good platform for communication and collaboration during the lockdown period with COVID-19.
Do you know why you should take the details of this article very important? Well, the usage of the Microsoft Teams features is here to stay – at least for many years to come. Microsoft itself predicts that the usage of Microsoft Teams during COVID 19 has successfully brought a change to the mode of operation of organizations for as many years as we can think of. The features of Microsoft Teams promises a lot of benefits for your organization, and you have no reason not to be making effective use of these features. And this article will teach you all that you need to know to make that happen.
Creating and using Teams
In the use of Microsoft Teams chat, your organization can set up a lot of Teams such as the Sales team, Marketing team, Developers team, Content team, Product team, Technical team, and more. By definition, creating a team is the process by which you can bring a group of people together for work, projects, or to fulfill a common interest. There would be different settings for each channel, such that the teams can have their chats through voice, text, or video. The teams would also have the ability to share and collaborate on files.
To create a team, you can have it done through the Microsoft Teams desktop app or the web app; the steps are quite the same. You should start by selecting the ‘Teams’ tab, located on the left of the page, then click on ‘Join or Create a Team’. Then you should click on ‘Create Team’. Now you can decide to make use of the ‘Search Teams’, which is available in the top-right corner of the page, to find already created teams.
If you want to have a new team created, you should click on ‘Build a Team from Scratch’ and you will have the team creation page displayed. Perhaps you have an existing group, or you have a 365 group, and you want to use it as a template to create the new team, then you should click ‘Create Form’, then select the previous team. Just in case you have an issue, you can make a click on ‘What’s a Team’ to get some help from the Microsoft support website.
You should then assign a name to the team in the ‘Team Name’ column, and you also have the option of adding a team description. You should not place yourself under any pressure to choose a good name for the team since you can always change the name later. After all that is done, you should finish the process by clicking on ‘Create’.
Creating and using Channels
A channel is a part of a team that is dedicated to the organization of conversations on specific topics, projects, or discipline within your organization. In simple words, the channels are where the conversation takes place, and where the actual work happens. On most occasions, the channel is made accessible to every member of the team, but you can make a decision otherwise, depending on the conversation intended to happen in the channel.
You could even decide to have an increase in the value that channels offer to your organization by making use of some Apps, bots, and connectors. You can create a new channel by clicking on the three horizontal dots that are found on the team display page. Similar to the process of creating a team, you are to add a channel name and a channel description, then decide between having the channel members added automatically or manually.
For every created team, the conversation usually starts with a General channel. On this channel, your team members can have ‘general’ discussions with every member of the team. But to have more specific discussions, you will have to create channels for each discussion. For example, you could create a channel to undergo various projects such as the launching of a new product, or to conduct a review on the internal structure of your organization. Although your Team can currently handle a maximum of 200 channels, it would take a while before you exhaust that limit. Likewise, if a channel has not been used in a while, you can choose to delete the channel, but you can rest assured that all the files you have transferred in the channel would remain stored in the SharePoint. By the way, each team can have a maximum of 30 private channels and eacht private channel can have a maximum of 250 members. The 30 private channel limit is in addition to the 200 standard channel limit per team.
Assigning access to Teams and Channels
The reason why you have Teams and channels is so that you can coordinate the communication process and have a good grip on the carrying out of various activities. You should know that the use of Microsoft Teams is more like you carrying out the usual activities of your organization in a virtual space. So the same way you would not have every member of your organization seated at every decision-making table is the same way you cannot have every member of your organization in every team. So if you want to ensure that every team and channel that you create is being maximized, the first thing you should do before creating the team or channel is for you to define your intended purpose for the team or channel. The moment you have the purpose well outlined, you will begin to have a clear perspective of who needs to be in the team.
Since there could be a reason for the whole organization to have a general conversation and share some general data, you can make the team accessible to every member of your organization, then have a constricted access to the channels created in that team. By default, every discipline or department of your organization would need a channel. In that way, every conversation going on within the organization can be well organized and the transfer of files can happen with ease. A lot of confusion will arise if the files meant for the production unit get mixed up with files for the marketing unit.
So depending on the purpose you intend for the team or channel to serve you, should decide between making the team ‘Public’ to everyone in the organization, or you can make it ‘Private’ for some selected members of the organization.
Store data in Microsoft Teams; yes or no? Pros and cons
Do you need to care so much about how Microsoft Teams stores your data? Yes, you should. The information that you would be sharing on your Microsoft Teams channel is not just about the current state of your organization, but also the future of your organization, so if you are not sure of the security measures in place, you should perhaps not be making use of Microsoft Teams file sharing option.
Although you should know that there is currently no software that can guarantee a 100% security form malware or ransomware attacks, however, Microsoft Teams makes use of a lot of technology developments that set it ahead in the cybersecurity game. According to Microsoft, Microsoft Teams operates on a hyper-scale and enterprise-grade cloud system that allows it to deliver advanced security and compliance capabilities. To make the files more secure on Microsoft Teams, the storage is done in Exchange Streams, SharePoint, as well as OneDrive for Business. By using multiple storage locations, Microsoft Teams makes it difficult for external sources to track down your data.
To summarize the positive sides of sharing data on Microsoft Teams, you can prevent the download of files by unmanaged devices, and you can also require multi-factor authentication to access a file. Likewise, you could enforce the least privilege access on Teams and Office 365.
That is not to say that there are no negative sides to sharing data on Microsoft Teams. People often get confused by the structure through which files are arranged in the channels. A lot of users prefer knowing where a file is located, and simply heading there to get it, rather than navigating through the channel root folder where all the files are stored.
This challenge remains for the moment, but you can be sure that Microsoft is working on finding a solution. So Microsoft Teams is still a collaborative software you can trust with your files.
Allow access to non-employees
There is even the possibility of having people that are not a member of the channel take part in a conversation in the channel by adding the person as a ‘Guest’. Although the Guest would not have the same capabilities as the members, they can have a lot done on the channel.
How do you categorize a guest? A guest is a person that is not part of your employees, a student, or in any way part of your organization. That is, the person does not have a school or work account registered with your organization. On a lot of occasions, the guest could be a partner, supplier, or a consultant with your organization.
The use of Guest access will allow your organization to have good control over their company data, while they provide their guest with access to teams, channels, and its contents, resources, and many others. It is a lot safer to make use of this method than giving team membership to people that are not part of your organization.
To define the ability of Guest in a channel, you should select ‘More options’ under the ‘Teams’ dashboard, then click ‘Manage teams’. Then select ‘Settings’, then ‘Guest permissions’, which is where you can limit the activities of Guests in your channels.
Integration; Yes or No, Pros and Cons
The use of Microsoft Teams features can only get better, and that is what is happening with the integration of various apps. For example, the integration of apps such as Skype for Business makes it possible for you to set up a video call without leaving the Teams app. And there is a long list of Apps that can be integrated into Microsoft Teams Channels across various categories such as project management, business intelligence, file sharing, and many more.
Example of Apps that you should consider integrating into your Teams includes SharePoint, Trello, SurveyMonkey, Zoom, RingCentral, Freehand, Adobe Creative Cloud, and more. The integration of these Apps, as well as bots and connectors, helps you achieve a lot more with the use of Microsoft Teams and makes the transition to digital administration of your organization seamless.
Although a lot of the Apps are not managed by Microsoft, you should only install apps that would not pose any threat to the safety of organization data. This is why you should verify the identity of these apps before you integrate them into your Microsoft Teams chat.
The keynote is that integrations are a great way to get the best out of your teams, but you should only integrate Apps that you have well verified.
Keep in mind that they can terminate the support at any time. So don’t create features that your business relies on.