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Find this Podcast “Microsoft Teams Primer – It’s Kind of a Big Deal” on the ThreeWill Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes.


Danny:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill Podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan. I have Tommy Ryan here with me. How’s it going, Tommy?


Tommy:It’s going well. Back from the Windy City.


Danny:All right. How’s Chicago?


Tommy:It was nice.




Tommy:Nice weather, got to spend some time with some key customers, so good time.


Danny:Nice. Some one-on-one time.


Tommy:Yeah. I actually had Chicago pizza with Bobby last night, or two nights ago.


Danny:Nice. For folks who don’t know, there’s another Ryan brother and that’s Bobby Ryan. What was he … Was he up there selling, I imagine, yes.


Tommy:I guess so.




Tommy:He tends to do that.


Danny:Nice, nice. I see you’ve got your striped socks on, well done.




Danny:Check out mine.


Tommy:Very native of you.


Danny:Yes, yes. Living to Sawnee Mountain I figured I’d wear my native American socks here to work. Today what I would like to do is talk a little bit about Microsoft Teams. Just maybe talk for 10 minutes or so about that. Can you just sort of give me a high level what the heck is it for someone who might be new to it?


Tommy:Well, Microsoft Teams, originally they were calling it Skype for Teams and it’s come out branded as Microsoft Teams. I look it as a visual overlay to the services that are provisioned in an Microsoft 365 group. For those that might not be familiar with Microsoft 365 groups, it is a way to get a piece of each of the Microsoft 365 services bundled in the context of a group of people that you invite. You have this group and let’s say it’s a project team. You want to make sure you have a place to put files, you have a place for conversations, a place for your notes. You want to navigate between those elements of Microsoft 365 without losing that context of which group am I in. Microsoft 365’s groups did that but in a very disjointed way.


With Microsoft Teams we see this visual overlay that keeps the context of being in that team but surfacing different elements and trying to integrate that. You’re in a Microsoft Team and you’re working on a file you still have the chrome of the Microsoft Teams UI and you’ve surfaced within that Word document that you’re editing. Then there’s a panel on the right that can be a conversation around that document and so you have that full experience of, “I’m working on something with the team and I can bring in the team and the history of that content to make decisions and finalize content.” That’s something I’ve been looking for awhile. You start hearing about, “Well, there’s going to be Yammer integration with Microsoft 365.” You look at that it’s very disjointed. It’s very simplistic and it doesn’t bring it into one place. You’re kind of hopping over to the Yammer UI and then inside of Word and then going back to a document library.


I think Teams is trying to give you a slack-like experience, for those who are familiar with a slack, where it’s highly engaging from a user experience. At the end of the day your content is in a secure, Enterprise grade repository. It’s trying to bring those two worlds together of social and good UI, with the reliability and the security, and all those things that you expect in storing Enterprise content.


Danny:When I create a team does that create a group at that point in time?


Tommy:Yeah. If you look at what gets created when you create a team it’s a private group, and the person that creates the team is the owner. Then you have members of that team that, as I’ve been looking, that the owner can see a little bit more and it’s more of trying to structure and control how things are set up. Then members are in there as kind of read/write contributors to all the content that shows up in the team.


Danny:It sounds like it’s trying to address the context switching problem that you have with working with Microsoft 365.




Danny:It’s how many tabs, how many apps do I have to have working, and then jumping to the right place in them sometimes makes your head explode.




Danny:Just being able to pull, to have a right security context, making sure that your sharing the information to the right people. Then, sort of tying together a lot of the applications that you would typically use into one place. I notice it’s got a sort of a thick Client, web based Client, mobile cCient, so all those … It’s the new Microsoft way of creating an app, right?


Tommy:Sure, yeah. Being Cloud friendly, device friendly. They really came out of the gate with multiple apps. Not every app. I know Safari’s going to have the ability to work with teams but Chrome has it and there’s a Mac desktop app, a Windows desktop app, and there’s a mobile app that’s on IOS. I’m not sure about Android but I assume that will come soon if it’s not there already.


Danny:What’s a channel because I’ve run into … We create a team which is somewhat of a security context and then you have channels. Describe what those are.


Tommy:Well channels, if you map it to the Yammer world, you have topics. It’s a way to say, “This information pertains to this topic, or in the world of Slack, in the world of Microsoft Teams it’s called channel. That channel allows you to filter down to specific types of conversations and content that you care about. Let’s say you have a team and as a part of that overall team you have a QA group that’s working on the project. They might have a channel that it’s all QA type conversations and content. If I’m a developer maybe I’m curious about that and I’ll go peek in there and look at it but maybe all my time is in the developer channel versus the QA channel.


Danny:Gotcha, gotcha. Then, you have sort of a kick-the-tires team that you invited us to. You and I, I think half the reason why we started a company was so we can play with new software.


Tommy:Amen to that.


Danny:We’re like a kid in a candy store and it’s been nice with all the stuff coming out. I know for me, I started … My first response was to go ahead and start a marketing team and started playing around with that. It looks like … When I look at it there’s the group that’s created and a site that’s created for us the back end. Then I’m thinking I’m going to need to then migrate my One Note notebooks over into that?


Tommy:What’s interesting is if you look across the top you see conversations, you see file, and then you see notes. Then you see a plus sign. If you click on that plus sign you can actually connect to another document repository.




Tommy:You can go point to where those marketing artifacts are.




Tommy:I was thinking the same vein of sales, while we’ve got a lot of this structure already available for sales, do I need to move this content? I think if there’s content already they’re giving you a way to tie that back in. I like the whole … That tab idea because I’m going to put my marketing KPIs or dashboard and an Excel spreadsheet and just sort of call attention to it in that marketing group. Having it very easy to access.


Danny:Yeah. In that same vein there is a Power BI capability on that tab and so you can go point to a workspace and Power BI which you’ve always wanted to do that in Share Point, there hasn’t been a good integration. You had to go over to Power BI to go look at the dashboards. Now you can pull that dashboard into the right place for the team that cares about it.


Tommy:Couple more things. The whole connectors thing, what is that about?


Danny:You know, Slack has that, IFTTT has that. It’s way to bring in things outside of Microsoft 365 so it’s a third party integration.


Tommy:When I think, like of marketing, I started hooking it up to … I used Pingdom, that it lets me know if our website’s ever down and thought that would be a cool sort of thing to tie into. Then, like our Twitter feed and started playing around with a couple different things there.


Danny:Right. Teams is a place that you can consume all that content. It’s kind of like a mini-portal for that team. Not all your information is going to be in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft recognizes that so they want to connect to all the different Cloud services and be able to bring that into the right place.


Tommy:How far off are we from … I know we just started using this and are going to investigate using this. I’m from the South. We’re going to look at using this for projects I assume because we’ve been using Slack recently … We’ll talk more about Slack next week, but I think we’ll probably look at using this for projects?


Danny:That’s what I anticipate. Right now I’m not trying to give people whiplash and get right into it. We’re busy around here if you haven’t noticed.


Tommy:Yeah, I think we need to kick the tires for awhile and get a sense of where it’s settling in. There’s some buggy things in it. It’s probably less buggy than the typical launch of a new concept but I think we need to give it a little bit of time and understand where the edges are before we commit to anything.


Danny:Is there a long term hope that this is our extra-net? That we start including people from outside of ThreeWill on this?


Tommy:Well, Microsoft 365 Groups has external access. I think the underpinnings are there for that. Yeah, potentially. I don’t think we’ve thought that far. I think it’s more of it’s use it for projects, which is our extra-net within the day. Does that make it better for our customers? We’ve always been thinking about how can we simplify it for them. At one point we were thinking about creating a Yammer group and having them use Yammer just so they don’t have to navigate around all the structure that’s in Share Point. That they have just a place that they can converse with us. Teams might be that way to bring kind of that chattiness with the customer to have conversations, but also visibility to any content they need. I think that’s a natural progression and, I don’t know, that’s probably months away before we do that.


Danny:What does this mean to … I know this is pure conjecture which you love to do, right?


Tommy:Closure, closure.


Danny:What if, Tommy … It seems to me that, first off, there’s a little of, when I first started using it I was like, “I don’t want another inbox, I don’t want another place I have to go check.” It looks like it’s trying to, it could be another one of the core apps that I have running. Right now I would consider that to be Outlook and One Note are always up. Then Skype Business is typically there, but this seems like another one that’s typically running if I’ve got the Thick Client. I don’t even know what I’m about to ask you. What does this mean to Yammer and …


Tommy:Who am I? Where am I?


Danny:Come over here so I can kick you.


Tommy:Well, I think where you’re trying to go with this is, is this just giving me another thing I need to have open or is there any promise of simplification? I think the promise or the hope is that Yammer folds into this, Skype folds into this, Microsoft 365 Groups comes into this. It really is that one place to consume content when I’m dealing with things outside of just my personal inbox. I’m consuming One Note from there so why have One Note open if I go into my marketing group and I can go to One Note from there? It gives us that social layer to kind of tie in conversations with content. I don’t think Microsoft has nailed that yet. The graph is a great underpinning for that, a great piece of infrastructure but consuming that graph in a way that a UI can tie content and conversations. That’s where Microsoft’s playing catch up. Hopefully, this will be a key part of that.


Danny:Anything else before we put a button on this?


Tommy:I think that’s good.


Danny:That pretty good?


Tommy:That’s a good start. That’s a good primer, I think.


Danny:I’m going to have to pull in one sound quote from a movie so, and I’ll have a question with it.


Speaker 1:I don’t know how to put this but I’m kind of a big deal.


Speaker 2:Really?


Danny:My question is, is this kind of a big deal or a big deal or what do you think? Where does this weigh within?


Tommy:I think this is kind of a big deal.


Danny:I don’t know how to tell you this, Tommy, but I’m kind of a big deal, and I love her response to it. “Really?”


Tommy:We will see, time will tell.


Danny:Time will tell, yes, yes. Yep. Sometimes you got to try new things and see if they work. Yeah. I’m all for the … I think the groups I’m not sure if I have taken off and run with it yet but to have something that actually supports that whole concept that’s good to see.


Tommy:Yeah, Groups was kind of a dry attempt of tying together multiple services. Structurally it’s solid but I think from a user experience it was lacking something and so I think Teams is a big step forward with it.


Danny:Great, great. Thanks for taking the time to do this, Tommy.


Tommy:Sure, Danny.


Danny:We’ll chat next week. I know in the Morning Brew you’re going to cover this again, Microsoft Teams again next week. Maybe if we could focus in on comparing teams to Slack.


Tommy:Sure, can do.


Danny:Great. Join us next week for that. Everybody have a wonderful day. Thank you. Bye bye.


Tommy:Bye bye.



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