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New Microsoft Teams Capabilities: What You Need to Know

Microsoft Teams was released a little over two years ago as a direct competitor to Slack which, at the time, Microsoft had considered purchasing. Since it’s release, its adoption has skyrocketed to the point where it now boasts more 13 million daily active users. The graph below shows the remarkable growth of this product.

Via the Microsoft Blog


This enormous growth in users is not one that any company, not even Microsoft, can take lightly. Seeing they are onto something with this, Microsoft have been rapidly developing and releasing new capabilities on a monthly basis. By focusing on ease of use and rapidly responding to feedback, they have made the product easier to use and enhanced its abilities in communication and collaboration.

Let’s explore some of these new capabilities.


Time-Sensitive Communication

In order to prioritise time-sensitive communication, Teams is rolling out two new related capabilities. The first is a read receipt – a no-frills chat display icon that will let you know if the person you’ve sent the message to has read it. Yes, this it’s a simple feature but now you’ll know if you need to chase them or simply remind them. It removes some of the mystery from the equation and is useful for both time-sensitive and non-time-sensitive information.

The second will be extremely useful in a time-sensitive situation – it’s a feature is called Priority Notifications and will roll out this month. Priority Notifications will allow you to flag a message as time-sensitive.  As a result, it will ping the recipient every two minutes on their mobile and desktop until they respond.

Intense? Yes. Necessary? Very.

Rather than waste your time chasing for something that is extremely time-sensitive, Teams will do it for you. User beware, however, you do not want to overuse this feature, lest you become the scourge of your workplace.


Manage Communication Within and Across Teams

Have you ever had an important message that faded into the obscurity of your vibrant channel chat? If so, Teams is currently rolling out a solution for you called Announcements. Now you can highlight important messages (new client announcement, welcoming a new team member, project kickoff, etc.)

Here’s how this will look:

Via the Microsoft Blog


Speaking of important announcements, Microsoft is also working on a cross-channel posting capability, which will allow you to post the same message to multiple channels at once. This is great for announcements, projects, or reports that affect multiple teams, but not enough to combine those teams moving forward. Rather than posting the same message multiple times in different channels, you will be able to post it once across the channels of your choice, like so:

Via the Microsoft Blog

Another feature that will soon be available is channel moderation, which will allow you to manage what gets posted in a channel, and whether or not certain posts can get replies. This is helpful for larger announcements that are not up for discussion (i.e. “We will no longer be serving free smoothies on Friday), or to cut down on unnecessary noise within a larger channel.


Features that make it easier to target messaging and manage schedules

Another added feature will be Targeted Communication, ideal for larger companies that need to communicate with everyone that has the same role at the same time. This is ideal for larger companies that need to get a targeted message out fast. A use case for this could be to @helpdesk – “Our LiveChat is down!”

Here’s how this will look:

Via the Microsoft Blog

Another added feature that is rolling out now is Time Clocks, where employees can clock in for their shifts, and clock in and out for their breaks directly within teams. While this sounds fairly simple, it also had an added layer of complexity with a geo-fencing option, which allows managers to geo-fence clocking in to ensure that their employees are at the work site when clocking in, and not just on their commute.

Via the Microsoft Blog


Final Thoughts


One of the reasons we love Microsoft is their dedication to their customers and partners. They have a mindset of constantly improving and evolve their products, or reverse direction when its needed. Additionally, Microsoft’s vision of strong integration within their product range and increasingly a more platform-agnostic approach allows their software to work on almost any platform of your choosing.

A final thought is that with the rapidly evolving calling capability where Teams can now realistically replace your traditional phone system. Delivered in partnership with Telstra, we recommend you consider moving your calling entirely to the Teams app as well.

Learn more here: Telstra Calling for Office 365

If you’re not yet using the Teams app, we recommend you  seriously consider doing so.

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