Question Time: Teams Turns 2 – What would you like to see before it turns 3?

My son is two and a quarter years old – two and a quarter already! I feel a bit like the subject in The Scream by Edvard Munch – where the hell did time actually go? And as any parent well knows, they grow up so fast. If you are a parent, I hope you experience the sheer joy of always being incredibly proud and biased of them; that every single day you find yourself waxing lyrical on what they have achieved – however small – and of all their possibilities and potential.

Microsoft Teams is practically the same age as my son. It has come a long way in those two years and we see that explosive growth in the numbers – more than 500,000 organisations use it and 91% of the Fortune 100 companies. Microsoft are incredibly proud, and rightly so – not only is Teams the fastest growing app in its history, it has also become the apex of its whole modern workplace narrative – breathing new life into apps such as SharePoint and exposing organisations to others such as Flow.

And for all its successes, it still has so much potential, there are still so many possibilities.

Microsoft announced some of these recently at EC19. As Teams continues to mature which will inevitably lead to further adoption and advocacy, we find ourselves both celebrating Teams 2nd birthday whilst asking what we would like to see before it turns 3!

We ask a panel of IT Pro’s their opinions!

This Weeks Panel

TwitterAdamDeltingerJuanCarlosTwitterChrisHoardTwitterVesaNopanenChrisWebb

Adam Deltinger (@Deltanr1): MCSE, Sweden

Juan Carlos González Martin (@jcgm1978): MVP, Spain

Chris Hoard (@Microsoft365Pro): MCT/MCSE, UK

Vesa Nopanen (@VesaNopanen): MVP, Finland

Chris Webb (@ChrisWebbTech): MVP, United States

1/ Microsoft Teams has recently turned 2 – and it’s gone very quickly! Were you an early adopter of Teams when it was released? Or did it take you some time to embrace it?

AD: I started playing with Teams a short while after preview! It wasn’t a lot since my job role was different back then! But I guess this was the start of me getting into the “modern workplace” – and collaboration and have since then more and more focused on this! Today, basically all I do is Teams 🙂

JCGM: Early adopter for sure! I started to use before it was publicly released. 

CH: I came to use Teams much later than most – not until it was well into GA. My day to day role was more involved in Exchange migrations, Office and Intune deployments and I tended to skirt around it, engaging only with its base functionality such as conversations, files and a bit of audio conferencing. I became so self conscious of it after attending Inspire 2018 I threw myself into using it for everything possible – and it was one of the main reasons I joined the Teams Community on the Microsoft Tech Community in order to get up to speed. I’m happy to say today that I have caught up and there isn’t a single day I’m not using it or teaching on it.

VN: We were Proof of Concepting Teams very early when it came out and was still in a preview state. While it lacked a lots of features it has today it proved itself to be a great tool during our pilot projects and collaboration initiatives

CW: Once it went Public preview I was all over getting Teams into my IT Ops group. We longed for persistent chat since we used it with SfB on-Prem and were not happy when it was not present with SfB Online. Being able to have that persistent chat and a great mobile app from the beginning made us realize the entire organization would benefit from it and started planning a long term deployment strategy for the next six months where we went on to get very successful adoption.

2/ Tell us about a particularly notable experience of deploying Teams. Is there a particular successful experience which sticks in your mind?

AD: I have lot’s! What unifies them are when you connect the customers day to day business with the features in Teams and make them more efficient and enhances the communication and collaboration! Some other experiences are when you challenge the customer and the way they work, and make them try other ways of working with the help of Teams

JCGM: Best Experience deploying and using teams has always been the company I work for where we try to extensively use teams

CH: There was a time, not so long back, where we deployed it for a customer in a consolidation scenario and proceeded to get rid of all of their local file servers, their audio conferencing solution (BT), their existing hosted PBX (8×8), their analytics solution (crystal labs) and Slack. They now experience all of this through Teams and as a result we have really simplified how they do business. The lowest TCO and rise in productivity have had such an impact they love Teams and are now looking at other ways to use it such as DevOps and Adobe Sign. This typifies the Teams experience for me.

VN: Whenever a customer is happy that is a successful experience. Usually the door for more opens when customer takes the first steps with Teams and that leads to better transparency and less internal emails. I think this sticks in my mind mostly: don’t take a long leap but go forward with little steps to achieve success. Don’t try to change everything at once

CW: Getting each business unit or departments managers together ahead of deployment and getting them to see the benefits of Teams really helped with each groups adoption

3/ Teams recently won Best in Show at EC19 and announced a lot of new features coming this year. Which is the new feature you are most looking forward to and why?

AD: I have to say the private channels feature!! I’m not convinced this will be a great idea most times to implement, but I’m very curious how Microsoft make this work with all the different workloads a channel may consist of! Of course I’m excited for most coming features but can’t wait for the whiteboard in meetings and customizable backgrounds

JCGM: Private Channels definitvely! This has been the highest requested feature in Teams and I’m really curious to know how the Team has finally implemented it and also I would love to test it asap

CH: I love that Microsoft are all about bringing a quality Teams experience to users of other platforms so I was really impressed that they are pushing forward with enhancing the Chrome Meeting Experience with app and desktop sharing. I also think that the introduction of app policies and supervision is a big win for security and compliance reasons because administrators often ask what is at their disposal to regulate its use

VN: What Teams does extremely well it is a combination of features that constantly improve. Personally I find the new video meeting background change (instead of just blur) and content camera + Intelligent Capture Whiteboard the most exciting ones but I also know many customers are awaiting for private channels

CW: As much as I want to go with the popular vote of private channels I’m most looking forward to the app control policies. These could be very powerful if it allows you to install the apps and Pin them simultaneously. This will open up all kinds of bot and custom app scenarios without having to hope they manually get installed by users

4/ Microsoft are reporting that Teams is now used by over 500,000 organisations. That’s quite a jump from 329,000 reported at Inspire in September 2018. What do you think is driving such massive adoption?

AD: I believe there are many reasons! First and foremost this is because Teams is a great product! It would never gain this much attention and adoption without being a product that actually works great to enhance productivity, communication and collaboration for businesses! Second, I believe people have gained more and more confidence and trust in Microsoft over the last years! There’s definitely an advantage with having a broad audience using Skype for business as well! And with Microsoft pushing forward with Teams as the replacement for Skype, organizations want to make sure to adopt to Teams early on!

JCGM: Well, Officce 365 is massively used Today so It seems the same is going to happen with Teams

CH: It’s a whole combination of factors: it’s included in Office 365 at no additional cost, it’s replacing Skype for Business, organisations have wanted to see something like Slack in Office 365 for some time prior to it’s introduction, it integrates a massive amount of third party applications, it’s central to the modern workplace narrative and it makes it very easy for users to collaborate effectively. Take all this into account with the fact that there is a very strong community following and that success breeds success and its pretty easy to see why adoption is exploding.

VN: Teams is a unique tool that answers the needs people have for collaboration. Teams combines state-of-the-art meetings to SharePoint backed files and to chat + calls. Teams allows many to change the way they work. And it is a platform that can be customized to different needs. In short: Teams is a modern tool.

CW: Simple. It’s included with all licenses and over that time if I recall Teams was enabled by default and also SFB to Teams upgrades (some force) are really starting to take off as most of Sfb final features finish lighting up

5/ What would you like to see in Teams before it turns 3?

AD: I want to see a lot of things of course including all the announced features discussed earlier! But I’d also want to see that Microsoft make sure to enhance existing features also! Make search better, improve the wiki, improve the tenant switching experience along with many other things! Many of these are on the roadmap already or as user voices ready to be picked up! I’ll never expect Microsoft to do them all but it would be nice to see Teams as an even more robust and improved experience when it’s turning 3

JCGM: More integration between SPO and Teams, more Apps in the Teams Store

CH: I would like to see an improvement on the tenant switching ability and using multiple tenants. Making the Wiki more like OneNote. Some experience refinements such as being able to use Stream videos in conversations and Stream URL previews. Also, Spoke and Hub groups like Kaizala. As an MCT I would love the ability to pin and come in/out of PowerPoints during presentations without going back to Slide 1. I would love to see Teams do the triple at EC20.

VN: Teams would be used by over 1,000,000 organizations. It would be the de-facto tool for collaboration and as a platform it would be extremely versatile, performing and the first choice for all companies

CW: Team groupings or Shared Channels, Ignore/mute (unsubscribe) from a Team conversation, Jump to last read in activity feed instead of latest message in the thread.