Launched in beta in November 2016, Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool that is part of the Office 365 suite of services. Teams enables remote, global and dispersed teams to work together and collaborate through a common workspace, team chat, one-on-one chat, document collaboration and more. Teams is integrated with a variety of other Office 365 services, including SharePoint, Skype, Yammer and Exchange.
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Teams offers three clusters of functionality and is poised to compete with services like Slack, Jive, HipChat, Salesforce Chatter and others. It touts itself as a native chat tool for Microsoft shops using other Office 365 services. While the core of the tool is real-time chat among teams, Teams enables other core collaboration platform functions by using APIs to integrate document management, video and other applications.
Teams includes the following core capabilities:
Chat. While conversations are visible to the entire team, they can also be made private. Skype video is deeply integrated into the application, and team members can add emojis and custom memes to discussions.
Hub. Microsoft Teams provides a consolidated space for various Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve. It enables teams to work natively and collaboratively, without having to toggle between applications as they collaborate.
Easy customization of teams. The tool features APIs that plug into various cloud-based documents and cloud services. Microsoft Teams utilizes the same Connector model as Exchange, which enables notifications and updates from Twitter and other third-party applications.
Microsoft Teams is due for general availability in 2017.