Microsoft Outlook remains, but as a distant cousin to Microsoft Teams – you can extract an email address from each Teams Channel to be used to communicate with that respective Channel. Emails sent to the Channel’s unique address become part of the persistent (never disappearing) chat. But I hate to say it to anyone who might be so endeared with Outlook (as I am, too) – Teams will soon replace Outlook as the communications client of choice, especially by the growing dominance of millennials in the workplace who have an overall disdain for conventional email. Those of us who grew up in the trenches and have used Outlook for almost 20 years are a diminishing breed.
So Microsoft Teams becomes the ideal *productivity hub* and the latest killer app. Over 200,000 organizations are now using it after only one year in existence. It’s growing so quickly that IT departments are overwhelmed by the number of Teams created by users within the MS Teams application, so care needs to be exercised with ongoing monitoring and by retiring orphaned Teams for the sake of reduced chaos.
According to Microsoft’s roadmap, Teams will eventually replace Skype. A recent improvement allows external guests to a Team (Office 365 Group) and its files, calls, chat and video meetings, although these external users must have their email of choice associated with a Microsoft Online account (Exchange Online) or even just a Microsoft account, such as Outlook.com or Hotmail. Desktop or application sharing is also an option while in a Teams meeting, either 1:1 or 1: many and in either direction – you can share your own screen initially, then switch to your client’s screen during the meeting.
People using Teams today are more likely to be out in the world using a mobile device, so security of the company data becomes a challenge. Microsoft addresses this with Azure Information Protection (formerly RMS), which is part of the Enterprise Mobility & Security suite. And all these devices, including laptops, are monitored using Intune, also included with Enterprise Mobility & Security. As identity can be less easily authenticated by Windows Server Active Directory when users are apart from the confines of their office, its web-based counterpart, Azure Active Directory, solves that issue as yet another inclusion to Enterprise Mobility & Security. And then there is the need for threat protection provided by Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection as an additional security layer in conjunction with Exchange Online Protection. EOP is included with an Exchange Online account. And I almost forgot about OME – Office 365 Message Encryption. Like OME, Teams data is encrypted in transit and at rest. All of the aforementioned are included in the Office 365 E3 plan.
Outlook might be with us for many years, but it will eventually die on the vine.