Typically, a product is merely defined by the code it stands on. For instance, Word allows you to type your work product (like I’m doing now), Excel helps you compute, PowerPoint provides you with a platform to tell a story (hopefully without bullet points), and Outlook is our source for an overly-flooded electronic mailbox (for better or for worse). But sometimes, there comes along a product that helps to not just redefine a category, but actually makes our always-on, always-connected and highly saturated digital life easier – something that allows people to work better together across offices, buildings, state lines and across the world. That product is Microsoft Teams.

What is Microsoft Teams?

The easiest way to describe Microsoft Teams is like this: imagine Slack, Skype, Office, SharePoint, Groups, OneDrive, your todo application, and your team websites all got together and had a party. Yes, that is Teams (minus Slack of course).

Like Slack, Teams allows you to set up different teams, and within each team are various channels you create. Like Skype, you can also have one-off chats with one, or multiple people and even do a Skype call or video chat. In its easy-to-use interface, you can then create tabs for OneDrive files, OneNote, PDF’s, Word, Excel, PowerPoint files, Power BI, websites, SharePoint, and there’s even a wiki. You want someone’s attention? Mention them with the “@” symbol, no differently than you would in LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Now that you have a pretty solid understand of what it is, let’s get to the more important substance here.

Let me tell you about three reasons why you want to have Microsoft Teams setup for your teams today.

(1) Microsoft Teams is real-time communication outside your inbox

Just about everyone on my team knows that I can’t stand e-mail.

Think of it – how many e-mails have you received that go like this: “Hey, can you provide that info to me?” Reply: “Sure, I can do that in a few minutes.” Reply: “Great, thanks.” Reply: “Talk to you soon.” Reply: “Ya, no problem!” Reply: “Awesome, you rock!” Reply: “Right? You too!” Reply: “Okay, thanks again.” Reply: “You bet!”

You get the idea. It’s annoying and these types of e-mail exchanges attack your inbox like a spider monkey. With Teams, you get real-time communication categorized by topics and sub-topics.

For instance, I’ve got a Team setup for my Service Desk, Security and Networking team, my Apps/OS support team, for my Implementation team, and for every client we onboard as a managed services client. Sub-topics or channels would include all of the various projects we are working on together and even a random channel for all those great GIFs to break up the day (because who doesn’t want a GIF of a cat playing with yarn to make you laugh at 3pm?!).

(2) It’s a cliché, but it’s a single pane of glass…

One of the other pet peeves I have is having to go and open multiple applications, have multiple windows open with various documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or always trying to find the right SharePoint site.

With Teams, all I need to do is click the Files tab and I got what I need. Best yet, with built-in O365 web viewing, I can see my document right there inside of Teams. If I wanted to, I could click the button and open the document within the desktop application as well.

If I have a meeting come up, I just need to click on meetings, and I can click “join” if it is a Skype meeting, or have access to the phone number or location just like within Outlook.

If I want to chat with someone outside the channel, great I can do that, too.

Finally, with the search feature, I can find chats, team conversations, files, and even people.

Yes, Teams is definitely the proverbial single pane of glass cliché – and it is great!

(3) You lose the noise, and gain the substance with Microsoft Teams

If you read my last blog post, you recall that Satya Nadella said that Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person on the planet to achieve more. I truly believe that Teams allows everyone within my team to achieve more, to do more, and to be more productive and more successful. By staying inside of one application to talk through work product, share our expertise, and our best practices, and keep everyone apprised as to the status of a project we are working on together, we are doing much more that we ever would in email. It’s not getting lost in that cesspool we call an Inbox. Your conversations are segmented by the topic at hand and not lost in a digital hoarder’s dream come true.

With Teams, there is no learning curve. The only curve to getting up and running in Teams is your team’s ability to see that there is a better and far more productive way of achieving more. While Outlook is a necessary tool for communicating, see how Teams can help you abolish internal e-mail, communicate more, and get more done today!