When Microsoft launched Teams, they made some bold statements around what the service should be in their eyes. The boldest one, in my opinion, was the HUB for teamwork. What Microsoft was saying, is that no matter what you needed or what service you are using, you would have some way of interacting with it. The first step, immediately available at release time, were tabs. Even though they were a good first step, tabs are tabs. Even Google Chrome, with all due respect for Google Chrome, has tabs but I wouldn’t call it my HUB for teamwork.
Now Microsoft Teams introduced the concept of Apps. And this is where, in my opinion, things get interesting. People love apps, people need apps, people are controlled by apps. We have apps today that start your car remotely by using your phone. Too cold for you to get out and start your car, no worries, we have an app. You want to change the color of your living room lights based on your mood, we have an app for that. So apps within Microsoft Teams. I am impressed, to be honest. But let’s dig a bit deeper into what type of apps we have available. So here is where it becomes apparent again that Microsoft for a large part is still lead by developers but I guess that is nothing new. Apps = Apps + Tabs + Bots + Connectors + Messaging. Let’s dissect!
Apps, the applications that you can make available for a team or for you personally. When you make applications available to you or your team, you will find them under the ellipsis (…)
Some applications can be added as a Tab, not all of them. E.g. as it is today, you can add Twitter as an App but not as a Tab. HootSuite, however, can be added as both. So as expected, not all apps are created equally. When you install an application that can be added as a tab you can do that immediately when you activate the app or later on in the channel. However, you can only for one Team, the rest needs to be done within the team itself.
If you want to activate a tab from within a Team, just go into the right channel and click the + sign on top. Select the tab you want to add and follow the instructions. Each app/tab will have different requirements, depending if you need have an account for the service you are trying to access or not.
The next one is Bots. I love bots, Alexa, Google Home, they are all bots to me, I ask them something, they give me the answer, amazing. The only bot I have tested so far is the default Who bot. You can find it under the ellipsis. The Who bot knows a lot about you, like who you messaged, emailed, the topics of those conversations, your organizational structure, etc. So instead of searching through your mailbox, conversation, files, etc, you can just ask the Who bot. Of course, at this point, the Who bot only knows what it has connectors for and has only access data of data within Office 365.
Connectors, if I am being honest, I am a huge fan of integrations. Connecting multiple systems together so people only have to be at one place to get updates is huge if you want to be the HUB for teamwork. So in this example, I created a connector to a Facebook Page I own, called Office 365 Tip of The Day. In my environment, my marketing team needs to keep track of any updates on those pages, any unanswered messages, etc. So I set up my connector to pull updates directly into my conversation feed in Microsoft Teams. Refresh rate can be configured as you see fit.
When somebody posts a message on your page, you get this notification.
The last one is messaging. Apps related to messaging allow you to create rich content in your conversation. Two examples, I am going to add News content to my posts. While I was getting the latest News, I saw that Dow Jones was taking some hits. I wanted to share that article with my team, but more importantly, I also wanted to see what the effect was of that drop on one specific Stock, e.g. Chipotle, which is a $4.51 drop or 1.50%.
So apps make absolutely an improvement on Microsoft Teams claim to be the HUB Transport in team collaboration. I love what I am seeing so far … keep it coming