Redmond View

Microsoft Teams: Angst and Opportunity

While millennials in the workforce should flock to the new service, raised governance issues might sink it in the end.

It’s too early to say how quickly enterprises will embrace Microsoft Teams now available with business and enterprise editions of Office 365 but it comes with aspirations that it will disrupt workplace collaboration and communication, just as e-mail and IM have in the past. While various collaboration tools have appeared with similar promise only to flame out or find more marginal niches, there is pent-up demand for tools like this, Slack and others.

The reason Microsoft Teams has so much promise is that its threaded chat-based interface is tied to Office Groups and makes data searchable through Microsoft Graph. When implemented, Microsoft Teams becomes omnipresent throughout the Office platform, including Outlook, Word, Excel, OneNote PowerPoint and the rest of the tools in the suite. It also supports integration with Skype for Business and SharePoint, making threaded discussions in Microsoft Teams persistent. Further boosting its appeal is third-party support that brings the chat interface to other popular apps.

Those most likely to welcome Microsoft Teams are millennials, accustomed to chat in their personal interactions. Less certain is the extent to which Generation X and Baby Boomers will embrace or resist Microsoft Teams. However, in today’s environment where the focus is on business transformation and agility, it will all come down to outcomes. If Microsoft Teams (and competing tools) boost workplace productivity as e-mail had when it arrived, chat-based collaboration will become a way of life, like it or not.

While administrators can apply enterprise security controls to Microsoft Teams through the Office 365 console, early testers have raised questions about various governance and navigation issues. We’ll keep you apprised and share how to work through the rollout and management of these new tools.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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