What exactly is Microsoft Teams and what are its key features?

If your organisation is using Office 365 or considering a move to it, or you just happen to take an interest in the digital workplace, youll have undoubtedly heard about Microsoft Teams. If you havent heard about it, its likely you will soon!

Even though Teams seems to be everywhere there are still many people who havent experienced using it.  If you dont know about Microsoft Teams this article is designed for you. Were going to walk through the tools and cover some of its core features. If you know people who also might benefit from an introduction to Microsoft Teams, then please share this article with them.


What is Microsoft Teams?

Teams is a tool designed for secure team collaboration and communication. It allows employees to have conversations in real-time either via video, voice or by text. You can also share documents and have discussion threads.  Microsoft refers to Teams as group chat software and a place that brings everything together in a shared workspace where you can chat, meet, share files, and work with business apps.

Teams is part of the Office 365 suite but can also be downloaded by individuals for free.  Teams was formally launched in 2017 and has proved to be one of Microsofts most popular and fastest growing business apps. Its success is partly because Microsoft has continued to invest in and evolve the product. Originally designed as a rival to collaboration tool Slack, Teams has continued to expand with an increasing range of capabilities.

Most organisations who are on Office 365 have already implemented Teams and are usually working on driving adoption.


What are the core features of Microsoft Teams?

Teams has a number of core features which are explored below.

Spaces and channels

Microsoft Teams has separate secure spaces, where designated team members can view documents and interact within the space. Within an organisation its likely one employee will be a member of a number of different Teams spaces. Currently in Office 365 when you set up a Group, a Teams space is automatically created for that group.

Within each space there are also separate channels which are usually dedicated to different topics, themes, or sub-teams. Generally, within a channel a  smaller subset of people may view specific documents and follow discussions. You can also set permissions at the channel level so, for example, you might want to invite someone externally to view the contents of one particular channel.

Web conferencing, chat and calls

One of the most powerful capabilities of Teams is its evolution as a unified communications platform allowing for web conferencing, chat and video call capability. Much of this functionality was available as Skype for Business (previously called Lync) but this has now been wrapped into Teams. This means that you can use Teams for sophisticated online meetings using either audio or video. Teams also incorporates useful features like the ability to schedule multiple video chats, share screens and record meetings. Note that you can also call people outside your organisation so Teams can handle both smaller one-to-one calls and much larger team calls.

Documents and discussions

A core part of Teams used by employees are document libraries. The ability to organise documents into folders and share them is powerful, but you can also collaborate on documents in real-time together with your colleagues online. Discussions, which can also be held in real time, also help to eliminate the need for email which is often highly inefficient.


Although not available for every version of Teams you can actually use the tool to live stream events, town halls, conferences and other key broadcasts up to 10,000 people within your organisation. This is great for leadership communications to your whole organisation, or within a division. This capability for Teams is an effective alternative to platforms like Workplace by Facebook where the live streaming capability has proved to be very popular.


Planner is an app within the Office 365 suite which helps with light project and task management, allowing you to create plans, assign tasks and check on progress. This can be a useful addition to help co-ordinate your teamwork, or for specific small -scale projects, although Planner is not a fully-blown project management tool.

Integrations with other apps

One of the greatest things about Teams is that you can integrate other apps within it, not only across Office 365, but also popular platforms and apps. There is an extensive store of ready-made apps, add-ons and connectors that allow integrations that can let users complete simple tasks, view information, get updates and alerts and even integrate chatbots. You can also create your own custom integrations, meaning Teams can become a convenient platform to  carry out your everyday work and interact with the wider digital workplace.

Teams customisation

As well as integrating your own apps into Teams you can also customise Teams to make it work in ways specific for your organisation. For example, weve done some work with our clients to automate business processes by customising Teams and SharePoint Onlne.

And lots more!

There lots of thing about Teams we havent covered including private discussions, notifications, search, two-factor authentication and more. And as weve already said, these capabilities are only set to expand.


Want to discuss Teams?

We hope youve found our summary of Teams and its key features helpful. Its an exciting and extensive tool that is a key feature of many organisations digital workplaces. Of course, its not perfect and it can seem complex at first, but many users grow to find it very useful.

If youd like to discuss how you can use Teams in your organisation, then why not get in touch? Wed love to hear from you!

Your Worst Critics could be your Best Intranet Engagements Friends

Help engage intranet users with these 5 tips

User engagement is only extremely rarely won by a sole intranet team. It just takes more to engage an entire organization of users users of different age, gender, job and interests. In this post we give you 5+ tips to get this more by tapping into the energy of your organization and engage your users in engaging themselves and your joint colleagues. And, yes, part of this involves your worst critics.


1. Let Users Recognize Themselves in the Intranet

To be truly engaged, users will need to see a bit of themselves in the intranet solution. Offer
intranet tools that make it easy for staff to upload content, add comments, setup personalized content etc. Also, welcome intranet feedback and let employees know how (and when) their feedback will change the intranet.


2. Make your Worst Critics Fight for you

Identify colleagues that own a passion for the intranet and are able to spread the good vibes to coworkers. Sometimes these are to find amongst the worst critics of your intranet solution. Use this energy for something positive by making these enthusiastic people responsible for your common intranet success. When you have your task force ready: Train them, give them the resources they need, and publicly reward them when they succeed.


3. Cultivate a Debate Culture

Engagement needs to be backed up by a company culture that explicitly welcome staff to take part in the debate and voice their opinion. Offer a space for debate and dialogue on the intranet and make sure someone takes the first step and initiate a dialogue or take part in one. Also, make sure involvement is publicly rewarded ideally by a figure of authority.


4. Make your Intranet Mobile

More than 50% access internet home pages from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Intranet users dont wish to act any different. Enable staff to access the intranet from the field and on the run. An intranet that is present whenever and wherever users need it is much easier to engage with.


5. Develop an Intranet Roadmap

An engaging intranet needs continuous nourishment. Make sure your intranet keeps offering fresh content, relevant functionality and continuous business value. And keep reminding users of this value gamification can be a help here! Have an intranet roadmap in place that involves functionality as well as editorial work and make sure you have sufficient resources to follow the roadmap.


+ the Essential Intranet Engagement Fuel

Even the most perfectly designed car needs fuel in order to drive and to be continuously refueled in order to keep driving. We find the fuel of intranet engagement being support from management. Not only does your intranet need resources provided by management to succeed, it also needs management to show intranet engagement by example. Show management that intranet engagement is an investment worth. You can do this by providing numbers proving your case e.g. by measuring intranet engagement.


The original article was published here


How intranet and digital workplace governance is hard-baked into Wizdom

Intranet and digital workplace governance might be a dry topic, but it is an essential ingredient for a successful intranet or digital workplace. Governance can loosely be defined as the collection of structures, roles, processes, policies, rules, standards and other elements which make your intranet and digital workplace run successfully  every day. It also gives your platform strategic direction. Without some form of governance framework in place, an intranet or digital workplace will become chaotic, messy, unadopted and untrusted by employees.

At Wizdom we know how important governance is for true intranet success. Because weve consistently worked in partnership with our clients and evolved our platform based on real client feedback, governance is very much part of our products DNA. In fact, weve hard-baked several governance features into the platform, many of which add an essential governance layer to SharePoint or to Office 365.

In short: A good strategy and successful implementation ensures business value from the first day. A successful governance approach ensures that business value persists over time.

Different shades of governance

There are usually different flavours of governance which support any one intranet or digital workplace:

  • Technical: supporting excellent performance, security, compatibility etc.
  • Content: ensuring your content meets standards, is up-to-date and is findable
  • Collaboration: ensuring collaboration runs smoothly and optimally following organizational recommended practices and rules
  • Strategic: supporting the strategic direction and decision-making on your intranet

Lets look at how each of these governance areas is supported by Wizdom.

Technical governance

While how Wizdom supports technical governance is not the focus of this article, it is an incredibly important consideration in how we code the product. When you invest in Wizdom you know it will be performing optimally, is as secure as possible and fits seamlessly into your digital workplace. We want your IT department to be happy!

We also work in parallel  to align our product roadmap with the SharePoint and Office 365 roadmap; for example, we can integrate SharePoint modern sites into Wizdom. Our extensibility framework also means it is possible for you to perform some customisations on your intranet without impacting your ability to upgrade in the future. SharePoint content also remains in SharePoint and so it utilizes SharePoint security mechanisms should you wish to choose a different product to Wizdom in the future.

We ensure technical governance is a core part of the product, to help your IT department sleep more soundly at night.

Content governance

A classic problem with intranets is that content does not meet editorial standards or is not kept up-to-date, despite the best intentions of intranet teams and content owners. An intranet without good content is not a good intranet.

Multiple features within Wizdom help to establish content governance for your intranet pages. For example, when a piece of content is created there is always a set owner and a revision date for when it must be reviewed, supporting accuracy and relevancy. A dashboard helps individual content owners  view which pieces of content are due for revision, and workflow allows review to be carried out with less effort. Meanwhile, the central intranet team has a dashboard of who owns which piece of content and what is due for revision, again allowing for central oversight and stewardship.  Different page templates also help your publishers to create pages based on formats which align with your editorial standards.

Certain types of content will also need to be more tightly controlled and Wizdom adds extra content governance for these; there are approval workflows for central news and there is also a library for policies and procedures where you can also establish and follow up on mandatory reading for targeted audiences.  We help to establish governance across the lifecycle for all your different content types.

Collaboration governance

Just like your content, collaboration sites need some governance too. A common scenario is for collaboration platforms and tools like Teams to grow out of control, creating poor findability and confusion, resulting in a poor user experience and low adoption. Collaboration governance helps to avoid this scenario, while also giving you some control over which tools employees use.

Office 365 and SharePoint Online comes packed with a stack of different options for collaboration including team sites, Yammer, Teams or Office 365 groups, and Wizdom adds further options! Within any organisation there are going to be different types of collaboration use case for example project teams, department sites or Communities of Practice.  How can you help your users know which is the best tool to use for which use case, and how it should be configured?

Wizdom delivers robust collaboration governance by adding some control to the site provisioning process. You can create a portal which allows you to define which type of tool should be used for what use and defines a specific template for each type of site. Users select their preferred type of collaboration space (e.g. project site) and Wizdom then creates a site (Teams, team sites etc.) with  all the right features. It also establishes the roles such as a site owner which are needed to make sure a collaboration space is sustainable.  This means that a user needs to select to create the relevant type of business workspace and then the solution will create the organizationally defined type of collaboration workspace (i. e. a Microsoft Teams or a SharePoint Project site etc.).

You can also add approval workflows to stop the duplication and proliferation of unwanted sites, keeping some control and order over your collaboration platform.  To help central teams keep on top of governance, there are also views which show all the collaboration sites created and the associated site owners.

Strategic governance

At the heart of strategic governance is clear ownership and sponsorship of your platform, and associated processes to ensure that strategic decisions can be made. While most of the strategic governance you have in place may centre  around a cross-functional steering committee and its activities,  Wizdom can support decision-makers through:

  • robust reporting built into the platform
  • a transparent roadmap for whats coming up
  • close alignment to the Microsoft and Office 365 roadmap
  • and a clear value proposition for the platform which focuses on both an intranet and the wider digital workplace.

You need a platform which supports governance

You really do need governance for your intranet and digital workplace to be sustainable and successful. Having a product which supports your efforts to establish governance rather than making it more difficult is important.

Whether ensuring the concerns of your IT department are met, allowing users to pick the right collaboration site, helping content owners to review their pages or producing reports for your senior leaders, Wizdoms governance features are there to help central teams manage their platform in the best way possible.

If you would like to know more, feel free to request a product demo.


The original article was published here

Video – Simple process workflows in SharePoint Online

When employees don’t follow the right process it can cause compliance issues with regulatory bodies and land your organisation in trouble. In this video we show you a simple process workflow tool we built in SharePoint Online that helps our customer to ensure that they remain compliant, and also highly efficient.

There are a number of workflow tools for SharePoint, but they tend to be overly complicated and require a lot of technical skill to be used effectively.

Our tool simplified the experience for process owners and allowed them to create straightforward linear processes that employees find easy to understand and follow.

If you are interested in getting help with Office 365 including Teams and SharePoint then get in touch.

Webinar Video – Driving business productivity with PowerApps, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint

Microsoft Teams has become very popular with our customers and there is a lot of interest in getting the greatest possible value out of it. As companies begin to get to grips with the basic features, a natural next step is to integrate Teams with SharePoint and other systems and provide a seamless digital employee experience the kind that really drives adoption.

Teams is well positioned to take advantage of integrations because it has a tabs area that can be used to embed other apps. There are apps for all of the Office 365 features like Stream and Power BI, but also popular non Microsoft products like Confluence and Asana.

Where there is no off-the-shelf solution, you can create bespoke apps using PowerApps and embed them within Teams. This could be something as simple as collecting information using a form, or a sophisticated piece of software.

In this webinar we covered:

  • How to add apps to Teams
  • Some examples of PowerApps embedded in Teams that drive business process
  • Answer your questions about how Teams can be extended with apps
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