The veil has been lifted and Microsoft Teams (formerly known as Skype Teams) has now entered Public Preview. This product it’s Microsoft’s response to Slack, similar to Planner is their response to Trello.

A few months ago I wrote about my experiences with Slack, of which my personal opinion was: not for me.

Does this mean I don’t think it has a place? Absolutely not.

Do I think this spells the death of Yammer? Again – absolute not!

The reality is that every organisation, department, group/team and individual work in different modalities. Some of this is driven by age and ability to change, others are driven by way of work, physical locality, nature of work, and so forth.

Microsoft has always been about providing choice. The days of it dictating from the ivory towers of Redmond (which are really only about 3-4 stories high in reality) are gone. We are now faced with the other end of the spectrum: too many choices. In the early days of Office 365 we primarily had two forms of communication modalities: Outlook and Lync (now known as Skype for Business). Then came along Yammer, then Office 365 Groups, and now Microsoft Teams.

So which one is right for you, your team or your organisation? There is no right answer – just what works for you.

The below diagram does a good job of presenting the options available to communicate within Office 365:

Through the Office 365 platform and the Office Graph, Microsoft is integrating a number of different modalities and technologies to work together and focus around the user – not the location of specific technology.

While Yammer is integrated in with Office 365 it is still not integrated with Office 365 Groups and Skype for Business – but that is coming. Microsoft Teams on the other hand does integrate with Office 365 Groups and Skype for Business Online.

Right now there are a lot of people rushing out to set up Teams in their Office 365 tenant and inviting people into them. The problem with this approach is the same that was and still is faced with Yammer. Microsoft Teams presents users with a new communication modality – something they are not necessarily used to or even wanting.

It is important with the adoption of new technologies that they be evaluated and a proper change management strategy with sustained adoption plan created before the implementation takes place.

As a starting point I strongly suggest people look at these two courses available for free on the Microsoft Virtual Academy:

Introduction to Microsoft Teams

This session will explain why Microsoft Teams is the chat-based workspace in Office 365. With Microsoft Teams, all your team conversations and context – all the related files, notes and content – are kept together in one place and easily accessible by everyone on the team, with everything tightly integrated with the other Office 365 apps you use. Learn how Microsoft Teams will help your team to communicate more effectively.

http://aka.ms/microsoft-teams-introduction

and

Deploy and manage Microsoft Teams

This session will go into detail what IT Pros need to consider when enabling Microsoft Teams for their users. We will go walk through the process for rolling out Microsoft Teams and configuring the infrastructure, as well as taking a closer look at the supporting technologies for Microsoft Teams.

http://aka.ms/microsoft-teams-deployment


Also published on Medium.

6 comments

  1. Reply

    Hi,

    Cheers for the thoughts.

    I cant see how yammer is allowed a pass. All articles say yammer is business as usual, but, seriously ? It took forever for yammer to get SSO and there still is no IDP initiated smart link you can use to quick deploy in enterprise. And yammer conversations do not get archived for the compliance center for e-discovery cases.

    I cant see yammer lasting long. And this is very confusing for some customers.

    Rob

    • Loryan Strant

      Reply

      I see your points, but a key difference is that Yammer was an existing product with hundreds of thousands of users and was hosted on a competing platform. So there was a lot of work to do and we’ve seen at Ignite how heavily they are investing in its development and integration into Office 365.
      It could have been better, it is a bit confusing – but that’s our job as partners and MVPs to help guide customers through the ocean. 🙂

  2. Reply

    Just tried Teams today and am impressed so far. A more unified interface across the various tools for end users is certainly a plus. As for Yammer it’s a pity that MS don’t seem to know themselves where it fits. Or if they do they aren’t doing a good job of communicating that out. It always seems to get buried and then we have inevitable ‘Yammer is dead’ articles.

    One of the best uses of Yammer is for communicating with external suppliers, vendors, customers or partners, i.e. people outside your organisation. I think it is a great tool for that and something to be focused on.

  3. Brian

    Reply

    My concern with Groups, Teams, Yammer and other new Microsoft technologies is there’s now way for the business i.e. the IT Department to properly archive, backup, containerize, manage the data in these technologies whether that being user deleted data and/or data retainage for legal requirements. Along those lines Microsoft has historically floated new platforms allowed them to waiver for 2 – 3 years, then decide to pull the plug, how would IT support users with their Groups data when the plug gets pulled?

    • Loryan Strant

      Reply

      You’re right – having multiple places for conversations and content storage does make it more challenging for IT departments to manage and control for compliance purposes. With Groups at least they are separate SharePoint sites so that makes it somewhat easier, but Teams and Yammer are still different from a conversation perspective – and there may be things in there that need to be recorded.
      With Yammer we already have the capability to export messages using the API so no doubt we can use that for backups as well, and with Teams while there is an API I don’t believe it allows for conversation exports.
      In any case we systems integrators and IT departments now need the vendors who build solutions around Microsoft technologies (such as backups) to also innovate as quickly.
      I guess Microsoft is not really the friend of the IT Pro or IT Department as it once was where we have technologies that touch the end users more than ever before, and that’s primarily (I believe) because the IT Pro / Department hasn’t delivered to Microsoft’s vision of IT transformation and also locking users in to their product set – so they have to do it themselves. Kind of like “if they can’t do it right, do it yourself”.
      (That’s not what I’ve been told, just a behaviour that I’m sensing.)

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