Technology that was once the latest and greatest can quickly become yesterday’s news as developments take devices and their programs to new heights. The business world is no stranger to rapid change, and company leaders are always looking for new ways to surpass the competition.
Owners can protect their business by investing in the collaboration tools that best suit the requirements of their employees and workplace. Regardless of whether they’re using PCs or Macs, phones or tablets, colleagues need to communicate with each other and work together on assignments.
Microsoft’s solution to this was previously Skype for Business, but is now Microsoft Teams.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Released in 2017, Microsoft Teams (casually known as Teams) is a cost-effective, integrated collaboration tool offered in most Microsoft 365 subscriptions. With it, employees on all rungs of the corporate ladder can easily converse with each other via team channels in real-time.
It combines several communicative features with project management software to bring your office’s team-based activities to devices.
Some of the collaborative and communicative features Teams contains include:
- Instant messaging – send text-based messages to co-workers at any time, using one-on-one chatrooms and group chats.
- Video calls – organise, host, and conduct online meetings for up to 1000 people, complete with background effects, mute buttons, and other functions.
- Meeting notes – allows you to take notes during meetings to record important information for later access.
- Audio calls – make and receive phone calls via the internet. You may know this as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
- File sharing and management – create, upload, and organise documents in folders or in conversation channels. This also supports co-authoring capabilities to allow multiple employees to work on the same document in real-time.
- Planner – assign tasks and create to-do lists that can be used to provide an overview of a project.
- Wiki – a space for the drafting of documents and the storing of business-critical information.
- Calendar – another way to access the same calendar system present on the most up-to-date versions of Outlook and Exchange.
In today’s market, people work in environments that value open communication for better problem-solving. 28% of workers credit poor communication as the reason for workplace delays. As a business owner, you know there are times when less-than-ideal things happen – they cannot be helped.
However, products like Microsoft Teams are capable of minimising the risks associated with miscommunication and encourage more-productive collaborations. They can help make your business run seamlessly and optimise it for current and emerging climates.
What was Skype for Business?
Skype for Business was an enterprise-grade communication platform that used to be included within Microsoft Office 365 business premium solutions and other plans. First released in 2015, Skype for Business Online and its on-premise version, Skype for Business, combined audio, video, and text-based communication with the applications of the M365 suite.
At the time, installing Skype for Business meant that companies adopted an innovative communication tool that was reason enough not to cancel their Microsoft 365 subscription. With that being said, Skype for Business Online was phased out, officially closing on July 31, 2021.
Differences between Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business
Like when glancing between a Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan and a Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan, it can be easy to mistake Teams and Skype for Business as being the same solution.
However, there are key differences between the two platforms. As a business owner, knowing and understanding these distinctions can make all the difference for you, your employees, and the culture you want to cultivate within your workplace.
Collaboration versus communication
Skype for Business was used primarily for calls, messaging, and to a lesser degree, file sharing. Teams supports all the aforementioned and lets you manage and edit documents in real-time to ensure that you and your staff only deal with data that satisfies your common goals.
Since it was restricted to primarily being a communication tool, Skype for Business focused predominantly on telecommunications apps. While it could work with Microsoft 365 Business Standard solutions and related plans, it was leagues under Teams.
Microsoft Teams integrates with hundreds of applications. From additional communication features to project management tools and translation software, the initial features Microsoft Teams gives users are only the tip of a customisable, user-focused iceberg.
Current standard for business
After the July deadline, Microsoft stopped supporting Skype for Business Online and began actively encouraging users to upgrade to its more powerful successor – Teams. While the onsite version of Skype for Business’s server is still supported, companies that continue to rely on it may be missing out on critical features that can allow them to grow.
Microsoft Teams is the current standard and is hosted in today’s cloud infrastructure. This means that additional upgrades and policy changes are automatically implemented and maintained by off-site cloud technology. It may also be safer for your business as your main communication channel cannot be completely destroyed if tragedy strikes – essential for your organisation’s disaster recovery and general safety.
Business is fast, and learning how to set your organisation up for effective collaboration in the workplace starts with installing the right collaborative software.
The Microsoft experts at Itopia can help you adopt the Microsoft Teams app. Contact the team today to see how they can offer your small business IT support that enhances your collaborative efforts.