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Microsoft 365

April 14, 2023

Microsoft Teams 101 – What? How? Why?

With an estimated 75 million daily users Teams is now more essential as part of our daily working lives than it ever has been. Ntegra’s Business Analyst Andy Palphreyman, talks us through the top functions all of us need to know about when using this platform whilst working, communicating and collaborating.

What is Microsoft Teams?

In 3 words, Microsoft Teams is “one centralised hub”.

It is a sum of its parts – bringing together functionality previously spread across many Microsoft tools and services.

If you were to break down the core functionality of Teams into those separate services, it would look something a bit like this:

  • Calendars and meetings (Outlook)
  • Create, share, edit and find content (SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote)
  • Call and meet team members (Skype)
  • Chat and instant messaging (Skype)

The core functionality of Teams revolves around the navigation bar found on the left, but don’t forget – Teams is integrated with O365, so you can access far more than just Chat, Teams, Calendars and Calls – you’ll also be able to access other services such as Stream, OneNote and Planner.

Simply click the ellipses at the bottom, and then on the desired MS service to have it appear on the navigation bar.

Teams is designed as a ‘hub’ for these applications, not in competition!

Understanding Teams & Channels

The core functionality of Microsoft Teams, and the area which we’re all most familiar with, is the structure of ‘Teams’, ‘Channels’ and ‘Tabs’.

These are all areas, categories, and sub-categories, which help you to manage:

  • Who is able to see the file structure (and documents)
  • How those file structures and documents are managed

Think of Teams as the core groups of members, Channels being each key ‘area’, and tabs as functionality. Teams automatically gives you core functionality via the tabs as default, such as Posts and Files – but it’s quick and easy to add more by pressing the ‘plus’ icon.

Managing Teams is simple – just click the ellipses next to the required team, and you’ll see the range of options available to you.

Top Tip: Don’t forget that you can hide Teams and Channels, making your own personal views more organised and easy-to-use!

Files and Collaboration

When using Microsoft Teams, the emphasis is always on collaborating. It’s the best place to practice good version control and collaborating on one master document means that Teams handles all of that for you. So you and the rest of your team can dip in and out of documents making required changes as and when needed. Similarly, to other Microsoft online services, you’ll be able to access a document at the same time as others – and be able to see what one another are doing.

In this way; it provides an environment where documents are backed up, you can work in parallel with other users within a document, and easily share it whilst maintaining one central file.

Top Tip: Don’t forget – every time you create a new Team, this also creates a subsequent SharePoint site. You can access your files on this site, as well as Teams if preferred. All files are saved here, even if files are added via Conversations rather than manually.

Chats and Calls

Each Team has its own ‘Conversation’, which is a chat that is always available to those Team members only. You can see this under ‘Posts’.

Conversations are one of the key features of Teams, allowing each Team to have a centralised discussion that is saved and easily searchable. Conversations are the central component where all teamwork is recorded—from file sharing to video calls.

The use of @mentions allows you to tag participants or even whole teams to notify others. Users that look at Conversations will easily see where they have been mentioned through the red @ symbol to highlight areas of importance to them.

Conversations are also a great place to add files, calendar events and Forms – as a means of drawing attention to current activities related to that Team.

Don’t forget – files added to the conversation will be added to the Files area which makes them easy to quickly access.

Instant Messaging is also available – and is not limited in the same way that Team Conversations are. Users may be manually added or removed. But – remember that these are not saved in the same way as Conversations!

To discover how Ntegra can help your organisation make the most of the tools already in place, contact us.

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