It is well-established that Microsoft Teams will ultimately replace Skype for Business. Microsoft itself has made this explicitly clear, and it is obvious that Teams takes Skype for Business’s core functionality and adds a whole lot more. Where Skype for Business is an instant messaging tool, Microsoft Teams is a well-rounded collaboration and group working platform.
But will Teams replace Outlook, too?
It is common knowledge that workers the world over are becoming swamped by email. Every other article about workplace anxiety references fear of the ever-growing inbox, whereby workers across multiple sectors simply receive more emails than they can manage. Various companies claim to have banned email, whether out of hours or even altogether, in an effort to maximise productivity and reduce anxiety.
Still, this can all too easily sound like a gimmick. After all, email is still the cornerstone of corporate communication. Phone calls might be quicker, more immediate, but they rely on the person at the other end of the line being available at exactly the right time, and they are very difficult to record and access later. For sharing documents, providing detailed feedback on a project and arranging next steps, email is often the easiest channel.
Collaboration and cooperation
Or at least, so this has been the case in the past. What is so transformative about Microsoft Teams is its ability to support a range of communicative and co-working functions so that it becomes a more efficient and streamlined platform for getting work done. It facilitates quickfire conversation, concurrent file editing, the sharing of websites and apps – everything required by groups of users, whether internal or external, who work together on projects on a regular basis.
Used properly, Microsoft Teams does, therefore, replace a hefty amount of email communication, and specifically the kind of email communication which is most likely to be inefficient. Who hasn’t sat drumming their fingers on a desk whilst waiting for a one-line reply to a particular message? Or struggled to scroll back through a complicated email chain looking for one particular comment or attachment? Found it difficult to organise groups of email messages according to the project they are associated with, or to manage multiple pieces of feedback on a single document in a group email? Microsoft Teams solves all these problems, offering a far more streamlined, intuitive and centralised platform for carrying out group work.
All this frees up email to be used for what it is genuinely good at – concrete and formal lines of communication, mostly with people outside of the organisation – so that it stops getting cluttered up with endless back-and-forths or attempts at collaborative communication inside the organisation.
In short, then, Microsoft Teams should not be thought of a silver bullet that is magically going to replace all email. Rather, it should be thought of as something that can improve on processes that are ungainly, cumbersome and complicated on email, from having a quick conversation with a colleague to providing group feedback on a document.
Teams does not need to replace Outlook – but it can enable you to use it in a much better way.
If you'd like to discuss implementing Teams then Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
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