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Microsoft Teams for Office 365 Available Worldwide

Collaboration

Introduced in November as a new, chat-based workspace designed to boost the collaboration capabilities in Office 365, Microsoft Teams is now available worldwide with the addition of more than 100 new features.

General availability of Microsoft Teams rolls out to 181 markets in 19 languages. Up to now, a preview version of Teams was available and in use by more than 50,000 organizations.

Microsoft's Kirk KoenigsbauerMicrosoft Teams is a digital workspace built on four core promises: chat for today’s teams, a hub for teamwork, customization options and security that teams trust, Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team wrote in a blog.

“We’ve rolled out many new communication features since preview, including audio calling from mobile devices, plus video on Android, which is coming soon to iOS and Windows Phone. And we’ve addressed numerous customer requests, adding the ability to email a channel, including attachments, send messages with markdown-based formatting, and receive notifications about all posts in a channel,” he wrote.

Koenigsbauer also noted that an additional 150 integrations are currently available or will be in the near future, such as Bots from hipmunk, Growbot and ModuleQ. A partnership with SAP and Trello is expected to produce new integrations.

Expect to see ongoing enhancements for Teams as the product evolves.{ad}

Microsoft, the goliath in the marketplace, is bound to impact the other group chat and collaboration vendors — so what should partners know?

According to  BroadSoft, its Team-One product delivers where Microsoft doesn’t. Tony Lopresti, vice president and general manager, BroadSoft Team Collaboration, wrote, “While Microsoft Teams enters the market with a ready-made base of prospective Office 365 users and Slack has gained traction as a standalone messaging app, neither [is] built to meet the communication and collaboration needs of the modern workforce.”

Yes, but … don’t discount Google in this team collaboration race — a modified version of Google Hangouts is lurking around the corner, Anurag Agrawal, CEO and analyst at Techaisle, points out.

Microsoft’s effort, he notes, is one more climb to the pinnacle of team collaboration and team productivity improvement and tighter integration with Office365 and Skype for business. “Channel partners should view this as another opportunity for integration between Teams with other communication, collaboration and line of business applications that are being used by businesses,” he said.

As a word of caution, Agrawal said that the key for the channel partners is to begin investing in code-development skills or at least begin with data and application integration —without which the traditional channel partners will be out-maneuvered by IT consultants.

“Solutions like Teams are the precursors of virtual workspaces and channel partners are in a great position for implementation, but my fear is that for most this is a completely new line of business. SMBs especially have experienced the benefits of collaboration solutions and can envision the usefulness of virtual workspaces,” Agrawal added.


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