Microsoft Teams – Not only but also…

For those who have arrived here from the SharePoint page – this article will show you how to gain all of the advantages of SharePoint with very little effort.

What is Teams?

Chat, Meetings, Calling, Collaboration | Microsoft Teams

That’s the legend that Microsoft uses to head their Google listing.

And it does those things really well. But –

There’s more. Teams also delivers a gateway to the fabulous world of SharePoint file storage, SharePoint and Office 365 index and search and Office 365 file security. All without the need for technical knowledge or extensive configuration.
All well and good…

What exactly does that mean?
When you create a new team, simply click the ‘Join or Create a Team’ box at the lower left of the Teams window, you launch a new team that has all the necessary attributes. This includes a mailbox, chat, call and video meeting area and a SharePoint file space with a basic library.

Move shared documents, of any type, into the library and they are shared with other team members (the share facility is configurable to exclude individuals in the team who do not have sufficient rights and include non-team members who need collaboration access).

Open the Team Files area in SharePoint and create SharePoint Lists (multi-user database structures) for shared data and additional libraries for associated document storage.

Add file links to other corporate SharePoint libraries and file stores for rapid access by team members.

All you need to do then is invite other users to the team.

Within any SharePoint environment a document author (creator) has rights of control over the file. If the file is not shared, no other user can see it. If the file is shared with read-only rights, the file can be viewed, but not edited. If the file is shared with editing rights, the file can be edited by everyone in the team. In the latter case SharePoint maintains a record of who made changes. It also retains earlier versions of the file so that changes made in error can be rolled back.

Pretty secure then? But it gets better, any individual document can be locked down to a share with individual team members, other team members will not be able to access it.

Operational Performance
Teams comes in browser application form and client application form. You can use both on the same PC, but the client application is not available for all computer types.
The browser application will run on almost any browser from Chrome to Edge and Safari. Having said that, there are some functions that are not available on the browser application.

Launching a file from Teams reads and writes to the file directly in the cloud SharePoint storage, so there is no replication requirement from SharePoint to the device. You can choose to launch the file in a native client application, such as Word or Excel, you can choose to launch the file in a browser version of Word, Excel or Powerpoint or can launch the file to run within the Teams application.

There will always be a degree of latency, very dependent on Internet access speed, but files launched to run in the Teams application are generally faster to load, edit and save than the same file launched in the browser. Both Teams and browser performance is better than using a local client application.

Please Note. Some complex Word and Excel documents (those with Macros, VBA and some highly configured templates) will not run in a browser, or in the Teams window. These file types must be run in a locally installed client.

The default on SharePoint rollout is that users can create and manage Teams.

Yes, you read that correctly, any user with a full license can create a Team, configure it and invite others to join and collaborate. SharePoint administrators retain the right to access and regulate all teams in the tenancy.

Additionally, all files imported, created, or uploaded to any Team will be governed by the SharePoint tenancy governance policies. This prevents data considered sensitive by the corporate body from being externally shared.

Standard SharePoint compliance rules would prevent sharing with external users such things as National Insurance Numbers or bank Swift Codes. SharePoint administrators usually configure the compliance and governance rules in line with corporate information strategy.

Teams in Practice
A new Team takes only seconds to create and can have as many, or as few, members as it takes to fulfil the purpose of the Team.

An individual can create a Team and be its only member. This could be for the control of a project or complex task. You can add a task list to the team storage area that displays as a Gantt chart and add a library for communications specific to the project.

A Team can be created for collaboration of individuals with a specific interest. Say a Well Being Team within a larger group.

On creation a Team is allocated its own exchange mailbox. This can be added to the Outlook of any Team member and relevant mail can be moved by drag and drop to the Team inbox, email attachments can be saved to the team attachments folder.

Remote Working
For remote workers the use of Teams has the added advantage of requiring lower bandwidth than the use of locally installed clients accessing, via VPN, files and documents stored on a corporate server.

All in all, a very powerful application…