Most businesses have probably heard by now the changes that Microsoft made at the start of the year in regards to a new licensing program, called NCE licensing (new commerce experience). Simply put, Microsoft is changing its licensing structure to annual or monthly licensing options. Annual licenses can only be decreased at the annual renewal time, where monthly licenses can be decreased every month. The monthly licenses come with a 20% cost premium for that flexibility.
Microsoft has also rolled Audio Conference licensing, which used to be a separate license, into any license that has access to Teams, including Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, Premium, E3, E5, F1, F3, and Office 365 E1, E3 and E5. Companies that have been using other products for virtual meetings can save a lot of money by switching over to Teams, since it’s probably already part of their Office 365 licenses today.
That said, however, Microsoft Teams offers a lot more than just audio conferencing, which means businesses are getting far more for their money over other virtual meeting software.
Teams Over SharePoint for File Storage
SharePoint is a cloud-based service from Microsoft that businesses often use as an intranet or service for file storage for company files. However, many businesses don’t want to deal with SharePoint maintenance, and its interface is less than intuitive.
Enter Microsoft Teams. Teams is built on SharePoint technology with a far cleaner and easier user interface. In addition, Teams does not require the management that SharePoint does. No one has to figure out how to create SharePoint websites and make them look nice and pretty, because Teams already provides that website aesthetic for you. It already has a simple folder structure for storing files, similar to as if users had a network drive accessible from their workstations.
Office Collaboration in Microsoft Teams
Another feature that Teams has from SharePoint is document collaboration. It’s similar to the true document collaboration that Google Docs offers, in that all collaborators can see one another “in” the document at the same time and their changes to the document in real time. However, collaborating in Teams or SharePoint has the added benefits of incorporating your company security policies automatically.
One feature that SharePoint has but Teams does not is the ability to see all of the different versions of the document and restore any version you wish. With SharePoint, it’s easy to see all of the different versions, who modified them, and when they modified them, but with one click in Teams you can drop into SharePoint to access the versioning feature.
Another feature that Teams does have from SharePoint is the Checkout feature. If you’re working on a document that you don’t want anyone else to edit for the time being, you can “check out” the document. Teams will then lock the document from anyone else accessing it for editing.
Can’t really talk about Microsoft Teams without discussing its audio and video conferencing functionality. One feature that most people probably don’t know about is the Teams Rooms feature for actual audio\video conferencing. With Teams Rooms, it’s easy to have a hybrid meeting with in-office personnel, remote workers, and/or external people calling in to the meeting remotely.
Basically, the conference rooms get their own Office 365 account so that the room can be invited into a Teams meeting. With a simple press of a button from the conference room touch screen, everyone in the room is now part of a video conference meeting via Teams.
Teams as Your Work Phone
Most people and businesses know Teams for its video conferencing and virtual meeting capabilities, but Teams also has robust instant messaging features and, perhaps more importantly, the ability to function as a business phone system.
Teams Phone takes the audio conferencing concept a step further by assigning users a unique phone number. So not only can coworkers internally call one another via their PCs, but external people can make phone calls directly to a user’s direct number or the main corporate phone number. This does require an extra licensing plan at $180 per year per user, but when you take into consideration that this phone plan is meant to replace a traditional PBX, or even other VOIP solutions, it can save companies a lot of money while providing the flexibility that office and remote workers require today.
Making Your Office a Teams Office
We offer a pilot program that makes it quick and easy for companies to test these technologies such as audio conferencing, file collaboration, and Teams Phone. None of these pilot programs require a lot of time to set up. All that is needed are the licenses and a group of people willing to test the products.
Our pilot programs also include end user training for any users participating in the pilot as well as admin training.
Ready to consolidate your remote workforce apps, file storage, and office phone system into the Microsoft Teams app? Please contact us at any time!