30 blogs in 30 days is tough. When I bet Yannick Reekmans on Twitter back on the 17th of March it's fair to say I had no idea what I was letting myself in for even though I write a blog pretty much every single week. I have a full time job, and through MVP Summit, running TeamsFest, family commitments and the surge in Tech Community it's been a hell of a ride. Good thing I love Teams and keeping promises then isn't it! So coming to the end of this series I thought I would cap it all with a few helpful things I can think of and which can set you on your way. I haven't covered everything in this series - far from it. Yet I had to make a choice, since I am not blessed with infinite time, the ability to warp space time, or defer my responsibilities as a husband and father, to focus on core workloads and the fundamentals. When I think of Teams as a user I think of chat, and files, and meetings, and calling and apps. I chose Deskop and Web on Windows purely because in the current situation I haven't got access to a Mac and mobile takes ages to take pictures and get them onto a site. Maybe one day I'll do a series on that. In the meantime I wish you the very best in your experience with Teams. Since Teams is rapidly evolving the content in this series will no doubt age. I'll review and amend for a while, but one of the key things about Teams is that change is constant. The cadence of new functionality is unbelievable - and I already know that within the past 30 days I'll have to go back and amend the article on background blur as today they released background effects to general availability. Blink, and you may miss a serious good add.
Having looked at personal apps, tabs and messaging apps, the penultimate blog - and the final one on Apps - is on Bots, Connectors and Custom apps. In my personal experience, most people are used to using apps - whether this is on their mobile phones, or on their operating systems such as Windows or MacOS - they understand the concept of apps which gives them a head start in terms of installing them when beginning to use Teams. However - and again from my own personal experience - they typically have far less experience of Bots, Connectors and Custom Apps. Bots are automated programs that respond to queries or give updates and notifications. Connectors connect content and updates from external services directly into a Teams channel or chat. They can both be amazingly useful if you spend a bit of time getting to know them and getting hands on with them. With custom apps - the world really is your oyster - if you have the skills to package an app via App Studio or make the app through the Power Platform, then you can start tailoring what each and every Team needs. This is when we start thinking about Teams as a platform for our communication and collaboration needs not simply an application in-itself
As we approach the end of this series, the next two blogs will focus on Apps. Apps let you bring content from your favorite services right into Teams. There is, for example, an app for Planner, and one for Stream, and one for Forms and one for YouTube and one for Jira. Apps can be Microsoft apps or Third Party apps. You can even create and add your own! By adding Apps we can go way beyond core workloads such as chat and files, and enrich both our own experience, as well as our collaborative spaces with a deep set of tools for every one of our Teams
The last blog looked at what you needed to know about files if you were using Teams for the very first time. How to create them. How to upload your existing files from your local machine. How to sync Teams files and personal files to your desktop and how to share files with others outside of your Team and outside of your organisation. This one is all about accessing and finding files. Most people use certain files more than others. We don't want to have to trawl through all our files in order to be able to find specific ones every time. A good file experience allows us to find them quickly and have them to hand
Files are at the centre of the collaborative experience. Whether it is a business report in word, an excel spreadsheet, or a PowerPoint presentation - we are increasingly working together to produce content. We can share with the team. We can share outside the team. We can work in real time from anywhere, on almost any device all in one space without having to spend time on emailing the file to each other with multiple copies laying around in your local documents folder. Teams brings it all together, and through Teams we leverage the power of SharePoint and OneDrive. In understanding how to use Files in Teams, I am absolutely certain you will never go back to a solution such as a File Server. Let's start with the basics - there is a lot of ground to cover
We have looked at how to call - both a VOIP call over the internet and a PSTN call to a mobile or landline. We've looked at ways to forward calls and the configuration of voicemail. After examining simultaneous ring and secondary ringer we then went into call contacts and speed dialling. To wrap up this introduction to calling in Teams, we will cap it with looking at putting a call on hold, transfering it or parking it. Hold and transfer are self-explanatory. Call parking, or officially call park and retrieve, is a feature that lets you place a call on hold. When parked, the service generates a unique code for call retrieval. You or someone else can then use that code and a supported app or device to retrieve the call. This may be useful if switching out devices or pushing the call into a department without a dedicated pickup
Now we have covered the calling fundamentals with regards to making a call, fowarding and voicemail, let's look at some more useful ways to manage calls. Simultaneous ring is when you want your incoming calls to ring you and someone else at the same time. This can also be done with a group of people and typically used in sales and support scenarios. Secondary ringer allows the inbound call to ring on a second device. For example you might wish to have calls ring both your laptop and headphones. Imagine your headset is plugged in and all sound goes through the headset. You have the option to set a secondary ringer in case you take your headset off throughout the day. This ensures that you still hear your phone ringing even if you have your headset connected to the laptop, but you are not wearing it