Microsoft Teams is back in the news.

This time the chatter is around the tech giant actively working on a Teams client for Linux, the most-used open-source operating system in the market. For SMBs with users on Linux, this is big news.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Teams, you’re not alone. Many SMBs are running their daily operations without collaboration software, but they’re not doing themselves any favors.

Slack, Teams’ top competitor in the space, released a study on collaboration in the workplace. The report, titled “2018 International Work Perceptions,” is based on the data gathered from 7,000 knowledge workers in 17 countries. It revealed the following about collaboration in the workplace: Nearly 14 percent believe communicating easily with colleagues is what makes “good” collaboration.

The study revealed that the inability to express certain emotions via modern means of communication, including emails and texts, is standing in the way of effective collaboration among team members.

To overcome these internal communication challenges, respondents suggested businesses increase investments in building trust and boosting visibility. They suggest coworkers spread kindness throughout their teams so that business goals are apparent to everyone within the company.

Bringing team members together, collaboration project management solutions — including Slack and Teams — are designed to enable employees to share their ideas and manage the workflow of projects.

Teams does just that.

What exactly is Microsoft Teams?

The tech giant markets Microsoft Teams simply as a “chat-based workspace in Office 365.”

Launched in March 2017, Teams (which integrates with Office 365) is made up of several features designed to enhance workplace collaboration within organizations — including meetings, calls, devices, app integration and more.

Even though Microsoft Teams provides its comprehensive approach to collaborative project management for businesses, its developer admits, “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to collaboration.”

Businesses are more inclined to test the solution’s features to determine the right mix for their team members. For them, it’s about effectively leveraging the benefits Teams has to offer.

Why Microsoft Teams over other collaborative solutions?

Some businesses are selective when using Microsoft Teams — carefully choosing what they need — while others incorporate all the solution’s features into its collaborative management strategies.

Here are some of the benefits to businesses of using Microsoft Teams:

  • With Microsoft Teams, end users have built-in access to SharePoint, OneNote, and Planner.
  • Every document shared in Microsoft Teams is saved to the cloud, which ensures team members are always working from the latest version.
  • Teams is built on four core promises: chat for today’s teams, a hub for teamwork, customization options and security teams trust.
  • Microsoft also offers a free ebook on unblocking workplace collaboration.

Before investing in any solution, it’s important to understand where it’s headed.

What you should know about the solution’s future

While there are many moving parts in the collaboration solution space right now, there’s a plan for Teams already in the works.

Teams is Microsoft’s primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, which means it will ultimately replace Skype for Business, an instant messaging enterprise solution that displaced Microsoft Lync in 2015. The software giant will retire Skype for Business on July 31, 2021.

If you’re running Skype for Business and are ready to upgrade to Teams, contact your service provider for assistance.

From now until Skype’s End of Service, expect to see Microsoft focusing more on Teams if you haven’t already seen this.

For example, there’s now integration between Oracle Digital Assistant and Microsoft Teams. Enterprise customers can now access Oracle Cloud Applications through an AI-powered voice experience in Teams.

Something else to look forward to, something highlighted at the beginning of this blog post, is the Teams client for Linux, which has been highly requested by many IT professionals.

Even though there’s no timetable for when this product will become available, this move by Microsoft is a clear sign of its commitment to expand Teams.

Using collaboration management software assists SMBs with improving collaboration among employees and assists with communication difficulties. While there are many collaboration management solutions on the market, Teams’ popularity is growing — and it’s worth giving a shot.

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