Microsoft has announced its Teams software now works as a complete, one-stop workplace communications tool that can be used to replace Skype for Business Online. The proclamation comes almost a year after the company put forward its wide-ranging vision for the Office 365 integrated platform.
In the past few weeks, Microsoft has been making several key feature additions to Teams to bring it in line with the goals set down by Microsoft General Manager for Microsoft 365 Collaborations Apps Lori Wright in September 2017. These include in-line translation of messages which allows team members to communicate with one another in their native language. According to the latest official blog post on the subject, the changes make Teams:
“…the primary client for Intelligent Communications in Office 365.”
Other benefits new to Teams include cloud-based recording of meetings of up to 250 people, with the ability to host them across different organisations and smooth telephone dial-in redundancies in the case of network failure. Companies can bring their own telephone service into Teams via a feature called Direct Routing. Conferences can be conducted with closed captioning, voice and face recognition that detects who is present, and the ability for them to be automatically transcribed and time coded.
Skype Rooms Systems has also been updated to allow users of the older software to join meetings in Teams. Those still running Skype may have noticed the recent release of several new resources to help ease the transition to Teams. An online tool can walk admins through the steps to migrate users from Skype to Teams, while special tools are starting to be rolled out to Office 365 customers in the Microsoft Teams & Skype Admin Centre. Companies without dedicated IT departments can soon expect to receive an email offering an automated upgrade process from Microsoft.
Microsoft has been hoping to transition business customers away from Skype for the past couple of years. The personal version of Skype now encompasses many SnapChat like features and integrates with popular online social services such as YouTube and Gfycat – additions that would bring few productivity benefits to most organisations.
With the Skype brand diverging away from business use, it follows that Microsoft Teams would be upgraded to fill the space for Office 365 subscribers. Originally developed as a competitor to Slack, the company has been building Teams into a smart tool that can be customised for use in schools as well as businesses.
Microsoft says Teams is now used by over 200,000 organisations, a number expected to grow after a free version with a few limitations was announced in July. Over 70% of users are enterprise customers already using Skype for Business Online. The company has acknowledged some Skype features such as Surface Hub 2 support have not yet been implemented in Teams, but it aims to do so by 2019.
To find out more about how Office 365 and Teams can be help improve the productivity and performance of your organisation, get in touch with our friendly customer service team at WM Reply .