microsoft teams hub for teamwork

From Microsoft Teams, you can access almost every resource from apps to data.

 

SharePoint: Open Teams and go to the Channel of a Team to find the Files tab, which is a reflection of the Channel’s folder, which resides within that Team’s SharePoint document library.

 

OneDrive: While in a private chat, share a document with a colleague. When you do, then that document stays in your OneDrive with sharing permissions for the colleague.

 

PowerApps: Create a PowerApps app for your mobile team to input data. View that app and its corresponding data on the web, within the mobile PowerApps app, or within a Teams tab as a connected app.

 

Kaizala: Very soon, we’ll see Kaizala as a new addition to Teams. The two will interop especially in terms of chat messages.

 

OneNote: The digital filing cabinet, OneNote, can also become an app for collaboration, especially when OneNote is added to a tab within a Teams Channel.

 

Flow: Microsoft Flow creates workflows that automate repetitive work tasks triggered by your Microsoft Teams data.

 

Planner: Work on your task-related project from within Teams or in Planner on the web, remove or delete your plan, and get notified in Teams when a task is assigned to you in Planner.

 

Scott Abbotts | Resolute IT | (727) 300-4940

 


From Wikipedia: “Form follows function is a principle associated with 20th-century modernist architecture and industrial design which says that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose.”

The form that your IT infrastructure takes on or manifests also relates to the functions of your business. Your company might have frontline workers that share a computer, or you might have people that have a dedicated workstation, as well as they have a mobile device or two.

An aspect to consider here is the trend for organizations to extend their presence beyond the four walls of their primary HQ building, perhaps in the form of branch offices, home offices, or co-working spaces such as WeWork and other office sharing locations offer.

Just like in architecture, many business structures are cookie-cutter in nature, but these generic plans fail to address the unique needs of every business. Likewise, IT managed services are often offered as generic Bronze, Silver, and Gold packages, but not every organization fits perfectly into one slot of the other. And certainly, not every company fits into a one-size-fits-all scenario, such as where your IT provider multiplies the number of your users or devices by a certain amount to determine a monthly fee.

In architecture, before a building is designed there must be a site plan developed to understand the landscape and how a structure might best fit. Similarly, in businesses we see a wide terrain of varying operating systems, differing machine vintages, line-of-business applications that are respective to your industry, and unique end-user abilities. And as email hosting, identity management, and file storage are all moving to the cloud, then less on-premises servers will determine the size and cost of your telco closet.

Culture is another consideration in both architecture and technical solutions. Societal culture can be defined as an evolving set of collective beliefs, values, and attitudes, while business culture is related to behavior, ethics, etiquette, etc. For example, a current trend in new office spaces is for architects to include ‘huddle rooms’ for teams of 3-6 enthusiastic people rather than traditional conference rooms fit for a dozen staid board members. Huddle rooms must be outfitted with technology to fit the smaller collaborative group with WiFi, digital whiteboards, webcams, and multiple or side-by-side displays.

Before you choose a metal-colored package, please consider that your firm is a unique entity and environment. Design your technology to harmonize with your business’s own culture, its own spirit, and its own purpose.

 

Business Agility with Teams
One of the buzzwords heard often in business circles is ‘agile’ or more specifically, ‘business agility’.

Its origins lie in a group of software developers from the early 2000’s that strived to innovate with a more dynamic approach. They formed a manifesto that is described by the following concept and quoted here in its entirety:

“We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Manuel Palachuk describes business agility in today’s world as “highly accountable teams [with] more action than mantra.” He says, “It is managing the work, not the people.” He promises to cover this more in his upcoming book: Agile Service Delivery – The Secret To Making Work Flow

This modality screams of Microsoft Teams to me. What better way to dynamically accomplish tasks for the greater good than when sharing the fun within Teams? As a Teams member of a team, you can collaborate with colleagues on projects by co-authoring Word or Excel documents simultaneously. Communication happens anytime from anywhere by either chat, voice, or video calls. And it’s not just about working within the confines of the organization as Teams allows guest users. As Microsoft describes it, “Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork.”

A paradigm shift within the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem has been the adoption of Microsoft Teams as the new voice platform; Teams is taking over where Skype for Business will eventually leave off. I’m currently using the Phone System and Calling Plan from Office 365 as my business telephone system. I run Teams constantly on my computer, however, I keep it running as an app on my mobile phone, too. When a call comes in, I hear it ringing through my Bluetooth headset that’s connected to my iPhone. But aside from mobile devices, the new IP desktop phones from Poly and AudioCodes are sporting large displays without a physical touchpad – the screen *is* the touchpad, as well as it displays your colleagues’ smiling faces during an online meeting. Put any of these telephony devices in the hands or on the desks of your home-based end-users and they’ll become virtually down the hall, not only to you as the leader, but to other Teams members and yet reachable by the outside world.

But back to agility – I see a trend. I see businesses leaving the concept of even having a building or headquarters any longer. Workers can remain productive from home or they can stake out some co-working space such as offered by WeWork and many others. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear of a fellow IT consultant who has been tasked with the challenge to accommodate remote workers due to the downsizing of a company’s workspace. More often than not, I listen to them agonize as they attempt to bring legacy ways to the modern world. But again and with the fundamental need to feel the presence of fellow collaborators, what better way to keep connected with the rest of the team than with Teams?

I might not describe ‘business agility’ with the insight and clarity as Mr. Palachuk might within his upcoming book, but it’s become overwhelmingly evident that Teams will be there as the ideal platform when you want to become an agile company.

policy as change

 

Over the past few years, Microsoft has been conducting a marketing campaign that proposes the “Modern Workplace”. The premise is described as working within teams, but as geographically dispersed groups from anywhere at any time. But it seems that there’s been a bit of metamorphosis as they now refer to this movement by the generic term, “intelligent workplace”, especially with the advent of AI. The Microsoft 365 General Manager, Lori Wright, used this term in her recent blog post in celebration of the two-year anniversary of Microsoft Teams.

The article cites eight new features coming to Microsoft Teams, including:

1.    Customized backgrounds

2.    Content cameras and Intelligent Capture

3.    Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams meetings

4.    Live captions & subtitles

5.    Secure private channels

6.    Information barriers

7.    Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in chats and conversations

8.    Live events in Microsoft 365

 

But no matter the terms or the latest features, I’ve developed a passionate affirmation that Microsoft Teams is rightfully experiencing exponential growth and success as the new platform for collaborative teams. As a matter of fact, I now use Microsoft Teams as my support platform – end-users can break into a one-to-one chat with me at any time (from any device), which might become a 1:1 meeting, which might also include bringing on an additional meeting member whose presence we would find as available within Microsoft Teams by a green presence checkmark within their avatar; and I might share my desktop or an application with both of them to illustrate a point

Unfortunately, there are some organizations that refuse to embrace such pioneering changes as they are truly happening already in today’s intelligent workplaces. So I stand by a new policy – I cannot support any backward notions or static protocols – it goes against my impassioned principles to accept the old ways until the end of time. Without change, there would be no butterflies, only fossils.

And I repeat from my LinkedIn profile:

“To work with me means that you’ve decided to take your business to the next level. You don’t want to purchase, support, or worry about another on-premises server. But keeping your employees securely connected and productive regardless of location is invaluable to you.”

Even Satya Nadella’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” vision has evolved. He recently said, “It’s no longer about being device-first, it’s about putting the human first and it includes all the devices in their lives.” He goes on, “Computing is embedded in our world in every place and in everything,” he said. “There’s computing in every industry – oil and gas, retail, agriculture, financial services. And there’s computing in everything from connected cars to connected refrigerators, smart surgical tools, and even smart coffee machines.” Not a word about the Windows 7 machine on your desk because the computers in our lives have transformed.

 

microsoft 365 businessThe Microsoft 365 Business subscription is a bundle of three core technologies: Windows 10 Pro upgrade licenses; Office 365 Business Premium features; and the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite.

  • The first part mentioned includes upgrades to Windows 10 Pro from earlier Pro versions of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. With the approach of Windows 7’s end-of-life, this is now critical.
  • A key component of Microsoft 365 Business is the inclusion of Office 365 Business Premium features, such as: desktop, web, and mobile versions of Office software; document storage; business-class email; and Microsoft Teams chat-based workspace.
  • And it includes Enterprise Mobility + Security, including: remote device deployment and remote wipe of devices; message encryption; multi-factor authentication; Safe Links and Safe Attachments; data loss prevention policies; document and message archiving; and controls like “Do not forward” and “Do not copy”, as well as the ability to classify documents as confidential.

Beyond Microsoft 365 Business are the Enterprise and Education bundles. Enterprise plans, for example, allow for Phone System and Calling Plans to enable public calling within Microsoft Teams on the desktop, from the mobile app, or from IP phones and other devices designed for Teams.

 

SharePoint Description
I’d like to call SharePoint the ‘mother of all file storage’, but that might technically be Azure – we won’t go there. Within SharePoint are hidden document libraries that we know as our personal OneDrive repositories, primarily for ‘works in progress’ by individuals within the organization. But the files kept in SharePoint have been published by individuals from their OneDrive location, and now reside within the shared SharePoint space as commonly available to all members of that particular SharePoint team site.

 

What is a ‘team site’?: A ‘team site’ can be created as opposed to a ‘communications site’ in SharePoint. A ‘communication site’ would be where a company might post news or relevant information for the greater good. A ‘team site’ is more of a collaborative workspace with many features, one of which is a ‘document library’, which is the common document library that we might have synced to our computers for published items.

 

When you create a team in Microsoft Teams, a SharePoint team site is automatically created for members of the team to share their files. So now you would have another team site in SharePoint named after the Team’s name. You can jump to that SharePoint team site while within Teams by going to the Files tab in Teams and clicking on Open in SharePoint.

 

If we have communicated and agreed upon the best Office 365 services plan for you going forward and the option is available below, then please choose the respective PURCHASE button. Otherwise, a customized invoice will be sent to you as it’s considered appropriate for the given scope of services to be provided. If we haven’t spoken yet, then please either contact us by the form below, email, text, or schedulea free 15-30 minute meeting to initiate a preliminary plan.

Professional Services – $120 Per Hour Pre-Paid

  • Hourly Remediation and Professional Consulting Services:
    • Per request and approved proposal.
    • Minimum one hour required to initiate Monthly HelpDesk.
    • Same rate for remote and onsite.
      • Minimum 1 hour for remote control.
      • Minimum 4 hours for on-site visit.

Complete Cloud Backup – $10 Per End-User Per Month ($100 Per User)

  • One User License:
    • 1 year of cloud-to-cloud, unlimited backup with lightning-fast search and one-click restore of Office 365 data:
      • SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange, Office 365 Groups, and Microsoft Teams.
        • Microsoft Teams conversations, calendar, files, and notebook.
    • Six daily snapshots.

Managed IT Services – $120 Per End-User Per Month

  • All-inclusive and proactive IT services (per user per month):
    • 24/7 remote included.
    • Vendor liaison and purchasing agent roles.
    • Network documentation.
    • Network health reporting.
    • Customer support ticketing portal and knowledge base.
    • Security hardening with best practices.
    • Microsoft 365 Business subscription included!
    • Complete Cloud Backup included.
    • One license for one user and *all* of their devices to enjoy on-demand support throughout the year.
    • Unlimited support incidents (tickets) per month.
    • Covers Windows 10 Pro, MacOS, iOS, Android, all Office 365 plans (software and services), and cloud-to-cloud backup offered by RIT.
    • Support of Line of Business (LOB) applications included.
      • Must have current maintenance or service plan
      • Must have proper & complete licensing for every user
    • Infrastructure ramp-up project required prior to start of agreement.
      • Computers and servers fully updated and running optimally
      • Printers under service plan
      • Mobile devices (phones and tablets) updated to recent model and current OS
        • Only iOS and Android
      • Internet service(s)
        • Two for failover and load-balancing
      • Local Area Network (wired and secured wireless)
        • Gigabit certification
        • Clean and orderly communications closet
        • Separate guest WiFi network
      • Billed as an hourly project under Professional Services
    • Ongoing training & coaching.
    • Servers and network-attached devices not included.

Documents and Mailbox Migration – $250 Per End-User One-Time Fee

  • One Seat – covers all of the following:
    • Automatically discover email environment and configure a migration plan that’s right for you.
    • Identify the impact of migrating your file server to SharePoint Online with Office 365.
    • Perform identity mapping by scanning SharePoint, Active Directory, and Azure Active Directory.
    • Monitor progress and output files into the Logs directory showing the summary and more detailed insights into the scenarios that could be impacted by migration.
    • Data automatically synced before, during and after migration cutover.
    • Full fidelity sync technology ensures no data loss on final data sync post-cutover.
    • Account provisioning and DNS updates take place during Migration Sync.
    • Desktop readiness and remediation:
      • Outlook configured to work with Office 365.
      • Local data moved as required.
      • User’s previous Outlook experience recreated as closely as possible post-migration.
    • Seat defined:
      • For billing purposes, any migrating top-level Public Folder or Mailbox (Individual, Shared, or Resource Room/Equipment) is considered a seat.

 

Too many equate Office 365 with the old Office suite of software and that they now have to pay for it on a constant basis. It is so much more than desktop software – it’s a bundle of software and services meant to enable productivity anywhere and at any time.

 

I’m going to assume that you already know about the legacy apps, such as Outlook, Word, and Excel. But do you use OneNote, OneDrive, Planner, To-Do, Teams or SharePoint? What about Bookings, Flow, Power BI, or Forms?

 

Of these that I’ve listed above, the most productivity might be realized by the adoption of just two: OneNote and Microsoft Teams. And these two apps go hand-in-hand as OneNote can reside within Teams as an integrated app within one of the navigational tabs found across the top of the Teams app.

 

Other Team members can co-author the OneNote Notebook – that is, they can edit the same content at the same time, no matter whether they’re working from the same office space or not. And if they wish to communicate in regard to the content, then members can instantly engage in a one-to-one or one-to-many chat. And that chat can be converted to an audio or audio/video meeting at any time.

 

In truth, OneDrive and SharePoint can be considered part of this mix because when a person shares a document in Microsoft Teams, that document is shared with another Team member from the sharing member’s OneDrive location. And when that document is published to the Files tab in Microsoft Teams, then that file becomes a common item in the document library of the Team in SharePoint. OneNote notebooks are also stored in OneDrive.

 

Microsoft Teams is part of a paradigm shift in the way that we think about online collaboration. The old method of emailing documents as an attachment is wrong on many fronts and warrants another conversation. The modern workplace is mobile and it’s dynamic. And in terms of productivity, there is no comparison to the ability to collaborate in real time from anywhere as we can do in Microsoft Teams.

 

We’re very careful about choosing our affiliations. Only the highest quality vendors become part of our offerings.

A case in point would be AppRiver, our Microsoft licensing provider for Office 365 and associated services. AppRiver not only provides the software licensing, but they support the product with their award-winning ‘Phenomenal Care’ helpdesk solution, as well.

When you call into AppRiver, they answer within 3 rings and present themselves in a friendly, polite and clear manner. 

This is your second line of support – your first call would be to our primary helpdesk line, but we can scale according to demand by leveraging AppRiver as an option.

Microsoft
Intel
Apple
Cisco Meraki
Dell EMC
HP Enterprise
Lenovo
Android
Plantronics
Polycom
Logitech
BitTitan
SkyKick
Sennheiser
D&H Distributing
AppRiver

 

 

Microsoft Teams Collaboration
The Non-Flat Earth

During periods in our human history, some believed that the Earth was flat. And evidently, some still do! But as Pythagoras and others have proved otherwise, we have experienced a paradigm shift in how we perceive our world. We’ve reluctantly let go of long-held myths and adopted a new mode of thought.

In 1992, a group of about 100 scientists sent the first email attachment. Some were aghast, exclaiming what an obscene waste of bandwidth it was. Twenty-six years later, we think nothing of sending a massive file attached to an Outlook message.

But aside from file size and bandwidth concerns, we should consider other worries today. As we’ve adopted email as the primary collaboration vehicle, we continue to swap versions of files back and forth creating dozens, perhaps hundreds, of versions of the file with most iterations slightly different than the other. And of course, we have to find the corresponding message buried within our Inbox and then open that attached file to know how they differ, which is a blatant waste of time and productivity.

 

Now comes along came SharePoint. And OneDrive, too, which is actually a hidden SharePoint library. We can now share a link to a file as it remains in its place. The single file resides in its single location, yet it lives a dynamically unique life. When a link is used to access that file, we will open and view the most current version, sometimes so current that we are viewing a colleague co-author that document in real time right there on the computer screen.

This real-time scenario and unique document sharing is never more evident than when collaborating within Microsoft Teams. If we’ve shared a file while in a 1-to-1 Teams chat, then that file resides within the OneDrive document library of the person that shared the file. If we share a file to a Team or rather to a Teams’ Channel, then the file resides within the SharePoint document library and the sub-folder that corresponds to that particular Channel.

But when an Office document is opened while in Microsoft Teams, the document appears right there within the Teams environment. We can chat with co-workers in the right-hand rail alongside the document. And we can create an impromptu meeting to discuss edits without ever leaving the Teams interface.

Aside from the mechanics of what goes where within SharePoint, files need to remain in their designated online location and not be copied as disparate versions within various emails as attachments. Also, when a file is stored in this manner, then a history of the file remains available – if needs must, then you can revert to a previous iteration.

We have to step outside of our box and look at collaboration from a new perspective. Just because we did it one way for so many years does not make it right today.

Scott Abbotts | https://resolute-it.com | https://office365techguy.com