Microsoft: Communication and social networking
Microsoft Teams is a communications tool that enables the growth of interaction and collaboration by enabling text and video chat between team members. In teams, users can participate in group chat room threads, send and receive instant private messages and video call with two or more users. However, Team is more than just a messaging tool, uses can also view, edit and share documents on OneDrive without leaving the application. Users with Enterprise, Business Essentials or Business premium can access Teams.
Team is available through an internet browser, desktop application and mobile app.
It is possible to use to use teams externally as well as internally. Meetings can be set up and held with people who are external to a company, simply by sending through Team Meeting link. Attendees can then connect to the meeting through whichever device they prefer, or can call in from a phone (in which case there won’t be any option for video).
Native integration with Microsoft Office services include Word and Excel, but also SharePoint, OneNote, PowerPoint, Planner, Power BI, Delve and cloud storage. Among the benefits of the latter is that all team members can view the latest version of data, as content is synced and stored instantly. This can allow members of a team to instantly view and collaborate on documents together – this can also be done whilst on a Team meeting call.
Key benefits of Teams:
- One centralised hub
- Office 365 integration
- Customise Teams through APIs and bot frameworks
- Enterprise security & compliance
- Azure Active Directory integration
- No extra cost to Office 365 users
It was announced that from October 2019, Teams would absorb the capabilities of StaffHub, which will be discontinued. StaffHub is a scheduling and work planning application which helps organisations with the onboarding of new staff, deliver training and assign tasks.
Yammer is an enterprise social network which allows social networking and communication within organisations. It present a less-formal alternative to email communication, and it creates a space for engagement where employees can respond to the announcements made by management.
Whereas Teams is used for instant messaging in relatively small teams, Yammer can be used for engaging with organisations or departments as a whole. Yammer can be used to send out task reminders, announce recent successes or changes to the business, praise employees and introduce new joiners, for example. Another key feature is that external individuals can be added to the organisation’s Yammer, aiding greater collaboration and engagement with external stakeholders.
Yammer can be described as an organic knowledge repository of information and idea sharing. It’s not uncommon for people to send emails (this is how we traditionally conducted business) but it is also not uncommon for things to get lost in email.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business is a communications enterprise software that can be used on the cloud, known as Skype for Business Online, or on premise, known as Skype for Business Server. It enables users to communicate via instant messaging, as well as audio and video calling.
In September 2017, Microsoft announced that Skype for Business would be replaced by Teams.