I must admit to being frustrated when Teams was first introduced. It automatically started at Windows login, sometimes before I’d even connected to wifi (and then would error out due to the lack of an Internet connection) and the disconnection between some of the Office 365 services Teams uses and the main apps for those services, e.g. Skype for Business, was hard to explain to customers.
The gap is closing however and Redmond are putting some thought into Teams now that it’s gaining momentum. There is a healthy roadmap, some good product management and top level buy-in from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
There is still a gap between some of the native clients and functionality in Teams. For example, you can do more in online meetings through Skype for Business currently than you can in a Teams meeting despite both apps using the Skype for Business online services. Teams is now bringing in functionality for meetings that isn’t available in Skype for Business so we find ourselves in the familiar place where we have two apps with an overlap of features but which individually might not meet all our needs; we need to choose which tool to use and accept some sacrifices in functionality. Check out this brief post from Satya introducing the updated features and the new, free edition of Teams. We’ll blog about the differences over the next week or so.
The thing to bear in mind is Teams is a presentation layer; an app. It connects to the existing backend Office 365 online services and enhances them with integration and connectivity to other services, including 3rd party services and apps. This is the strength of Teams – it is a hub where we can perform 60-70% of our collaborative tasks before we might need to go into another app to continue or access deeper features.
We would like to see Teams become an Office 365 service in itself and have service definitions just like Exchange online, SharePoint online, Yammer and Skype for Business online. It would need to find it’s own place for that to happen though, or displace Skype for Business completely.