Microsoft will retire Skype for Business Online by July 31, 2021. They intend to move all Skype customers over to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is an online collaboration workspace application and service that includes chat, file-sharing, video conferencing and more.

There are several benefits for businesses using Microsoft Teams instead of Skype. The platform manages to bring together files, chats, and apps, all the while providing functionality that allows for faster and seamless collaboration. Thanks to these features, Teams is a better communication tool than Skype as the core communications client for Office 365.

Plus, it integrates across the entire productivity suite of Microsoft 365 apps and hundreds of third-party integrations, making it your one-stop shop for communication and collaboration.

The Phasing out and Move to Teams

Granted, there are numerous benefits of moving your communications from Skype to Teams, but this doesn't mean that migration won't require some time and effort. For this reason, Microsoft has taken several steps to ensure that the transition process will be as easy as possible.

  • Shorter Retention Periods - All new retention period options will allow customers to limit their chat retention periods to a minimum of one day. This will ensure that, when data is deleted, it will also be removed from all storage locations in the Teams service. This feature will be available in Teams by the end of 2019.
  • Dynamic E911 - Being a feature of Microsoft Teams Phone System, Dynamic E911 will automatically take the caller's location and route it to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) call center. This PSAP will be operated by the local government in their region. The E911 feature will be part of Teams in the United States by the end of 2019.
  • Compliance Recording and Contact Center Integration - In addition, Microsoft has been talking with its Teams and Skype for Business certified partners to enable Contact Center and Compliance Recording solutions. This will include, among others, Video, Chat conversations, Conference, PSTN, Remote Agent, Mobile or Federated Voice, Content Share, etc.

Download our Getting Starting with Teams Guide to help make your transition seamless!

How to Prepare for the Skype-To-Teams Migration?

A successful transition from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams will require some degree of planning. Microsoft suggests that you start using Teams as soon as possible. This way, you will allow yourself ample time to complete the transition before Skype's retirement date. Keep in mind that after July 31, 2021, Skype for Business will no longer be accessible or supported.

In terms of actual planning, every organization will have to design their own transition journey, which is no small feat, especially for larger organizations with many users.

Why Microsoft Teams?

Let's see how Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business compare.

Both tools allow for individual and group chats, as well as turning chats into calls. However, while you can send emojis via both, only Teams allows for memes and gifs, which in a remote workforce can make staying connected easier. Plus, unlike Skype, Teams stores your conversation history so if you need to go back and reference something, you can easily scroll up or use the search function to find it.

Teams' biggest advantage is its file-sharing capabilities, making it more than just a communication platform. Now, users (both internally and externally, with the right permissions) can share files and collaborate on documents in real-time. Gone are the days of finding the most recent version of something - the latest and greatest will be up to date and synced in real-time in your Teams app.

When it comes to meetings, Teams also has some new and unique features, too. Just like Skype, you can schedule a meeting via Outlook and use the Scheduling Assistant to find the best time for all attendees. Where it differs, though, is that you can have persistent chat before, during and after the meeting. Meaning, you can continue to use that group chat as long as you see fit - this is especially beneficially for recurring meetings with multiple people. You can also tag people in the group meeting chat and 'like' messages to acknowledge you've seen them.  Lastly, you can add notes to your meetings and easily send them out afterwards for review, which also stay in the meeting history.

Overall, if you're feeling overwhelmed about the transition, try to get excited - there are so many cool and new things you are going to be able to do! And if you need help, Teams is kind of our thing.

Want a firsthand experience with Microsoft Teams? Then join us for Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience all around Teams.

We'll provide a fake environment so you can login and get a true to life experience guided by one of our Microsoft Certified CIE Facilitators - all free of charge. Learn more.

By Jaci Bitner

As we all know, a meeting can go sideways very quickly.

The mute button has moved on Fred again, and we can all hear his three-year-old screaming in the background.

Renee keeps trying to say good morning, but all we can see is her mouthing the words “can anyone hear me”?  But the mute button just won’t unmute.

Karl is always eating on camera, no matter what time of day.

Becky’s wifi is “iffy” and no matter how many different places she moves to in the house while we all get motion sickness watching her traipse about, she still cannot locate the right signal.

Roger gets excited for his announcement and completely derails the meeting.  Yes, Roger, there is actually a placeholder for announcements at the END of the meeting which you would know about if you had only read the agenda I sent this morning.  However, I completely forgot to email the agenda to @All Teams and ended up just sending to my direct reports.  Three people are now the only ones who know why this meeting is happening.

What a headache!

The pandemic has changed how we interact, and virtual meetings are now a big part of all of our lives.  Thankfully, they don’t have to be a constant headache.  With a few tips and tricks, the whole team can feel the joy in their hearts that I feel after a productive virtual meeting.

Tools to Host Your Virtual meetings

Microsoft Teams

Pros: My personal favorite because it’s incredibly user-friendly.  I love the different options of viewing all the participants. There are also many backgrounds included to choose from as well.  Most importantly, Teams integrates all my tools in one space.  Simply put, life is easier with Teams.

Cons: I’ve found that sometimes the videos do lag a little and once in a while my status in Teams (available, busy, away, etc..) does not automatically flow from my Outlook calendar as desired. This seems to be getting better though! 


Pros: User friendly and good quality on the camera.

Cons: Zoom isn’t as organized as Teams, especially when sharing files  It doesn’t feel very safe and secure after all the Zoom bomber incidents I’ve seen reported.


Pros: Slack is simple to use in a way that makes it easy for everyone to use.  I also like how it pairs easily with the Google platform.

Cons: Slack is disorganized and is easy to lose track of conversations.  Conversations also get deleted after a period of time, so being able to search old threads is almost impossible.  Emojis are not easy to find and I love a good emoji.

Now that we’ve chosen a platform, productivity here we come!

Tips and tricks to keeping your virtual online meeting on track.

Use an agenda

This allows everyone on the team to know exactly what will be discussed and how we are moving through the meeting. You may have heard this somewhere: Time is money. Some of these meetings are VERY expensive depending on the participants. With an agenda, you can get right to the point instead of wasting valuable time and money on figuring out what the meeting is trying to accomplish.

When should you send an agenda? No less than 24 hours in advance! This gives people ample time to prepare for whatever the topic is at hand.  The agenda should include:

  1. A quick welcome including the Key Objective of the meeting
  2. Topics for Discussion
  3. Session Structure: This includes how and who will be running the meeting and logistics.
  4. Time for Questions/Comments/Concerns

kevin can wait focus GIF by CBS

Get comfortable with your tools

Practice before the meeting with a trusted colleague who is able to assist if you are feeling uncomfortable. Find the mute button. Learn to raise your hand.  Find out how to post a chat to someone directly (and not to the entire group).  I am personally a huge fan of Teams but it took me a little while to get used to when I was only familiar with Zoom and Slack prior to working at Managed Solution.  I took the time to use it and research it before I went to my important meeting.  I love that I can easily change the background whenever I am somewhere that may be distracting to the team.  Which leads into the next point…

Limit distractions

Yes, we all have to eat.

Yes, we all love your pets and want to know their names.

Yes, we want to know about the artwork hanging on your wall.

Yes, that child playing in the background is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

However, in order to have a productive meeting, we need to limit distractions.  All of them.  Eat before or after, not on camera during the meeting.  If you are going to eat, mute yourself and turn the camera off.  We know Fido may jump up and say hi, but if everyone focuses on your dog instead of the topic, we may never get back on track in order to end the meeting on time.  Fido is welcome before or after any business meeting but distracts us from getting to all the points of making our meeting productive.  This is not the time to multi-task.  Stay present in the meeting for optimal productivity. So, for you in the back, just in case you missed it, just one more time: Please turn off the camera if you are not fully engaged.

Use the mute button

Everyone, and I mean even the CEO (yes, you), needs to mute when they are not speaking.

mute big rich texas GIF by T. Kyle


Don’t forget that your virtual team is now living all over the world!  Time zone synchronization is of utmost importance.  Also, if someone can’t attend, you can easily record the session. I tell the team beforehand while we are in our Microsoft Teams meeting that I am going to record.  If they don’t want to be on camera, this is the time to go off screen. From there, I hit the record button and send it to all those who could not be in attendance after we finish the meeting

Post meeting follow-ups

My favorite part of Microsoft Teams is how it pairs so perfectly with Outlook and One Note.  I create a Teams meeting via Outlook.  I send the invite with an agenda in the email.  I enjoy taking notes for the team and sending them out after the meeting. One Note is perfect for that! I just select Meeting Details and the participants list and agenda show up right in the notes. It's just so easy. After the meeting is over, I select Email Page and the participants are automatically in the addresses ready to go. It’s as easy as one click. At this point the joy is overflowing in my heart.

This has been a challenging year.  We are all in this together.  We can allow ourselves to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

I find the greatest joy in virtual meetings that:

  1. Have a point
  2. Stay on task
  3. Don’t go overschedule
  4. Make me feel part of

It is my hope that by using these simple guidelines, you, too, will be able to find great joy in your hearts the same way I do after virtual meetings.

Interested in what Teams can do for your business?

Click here to learn more about our Teams migration services. Already on Teams? Contact us for an analysis of your Teams environment and see where you might be able to get more organized and improve your security posture!

By Patrick Laffey

Microsoft Teams is a communication and collaboration hub for your team to chat and communicate instantly via IM, voice, and video, as well as share files. Leveraging the power of Microsoft 365, it integrates your people, files, and applications in order to stay connected and be productive. So, how do you create a meeting in Microsoft Teams? In this guide, we'll give you step by step directions on how to create a meeting, whether in the office or remote.

How to Create a Meeting in Outlook with Teams Plugin

You can create and schedule a Teams meeting from Outlook directly. To do this, open Outlook and look in the bottom left corner. You should see a calendar icon. Click it to access your calendar.

If you do not see these icons, you will need to change your “Folder Pane” view to “Normal (see image below). Go to “View” at the top of Outlook, then under “Folder Pane” switch to “Normal”. You should now see the calendar icon in the bottom left part of your screen.

Once you have clicked on the calendar icon, your calendar should appear. If you are in your “Home” menu at the top, you will see a button that says, “New Teams Meeting”. Click on that option and Outlook will open a window that resembles an email.

Fill out the prompts with the appropriate information for your meeting. You should create a title which makes it clear to other attendees what the meeting is about. Below the title field, you enter the attendees. It works like an Outlook email where you can start typing their name, and you will see your contact pop up. Click on the contact to add them to the Teams meeting.

Once you’re done with the title and attendees, you’ll set the meeting time and location. If this is a reoccurring meeting, you can select the “Make Recurring” text and icon next to the meeting date which will open an options window.

In the “Appointment Recurrence” window you will be able to select options for your recurring meetings. For example, if you have a weekly meeting on Mondays at 5:30 you will set up the fields as shown in the image below. You can also tell Teams what day you want the recurring meetings to start and what day you want them to end. When done, select “OK” to save your settings.

When you’re done filling out all the required fields, click the “Send” button. Clicking send will schedule a meeting, put the meeting in everyone’s calendar, and send everyone a link to join the meeting. People can join the meeting by clicking the link in their email or they can join the Teams meeting by clicking the meeting in their calendar.

new-to-or-exploring-teamsHow to Create a Meeting in Teams

Creating a meeting in Teams is very simple! Make sure you are viewing your calendar in Teams by clicking the “Calendar” icon on the left-hand side of the Teams window (see image below).

Once in your calendar, you can click “Meet Now” or you can click “New meeting” on the top right section of the Teams window (see image below).

What is Meet Now in Teams?

“Meet Now” allows you to instantly start an ad hoc meeting. When you click the “Meet Now” button, you will be taken to a meeting settings screen. In the picture below, you can see the different options for your meeting. Make sure you change the title of the meeting at the top, check your audio, video and any other settings that may apply. When ready, click “Join Now” which will take you into a meeting.

Once in the new meeting, you will notice you are the only participant. Invite others to join by typing in a name or number on the right-hand side of the screen under the “People” heading. Notice that you can add people directly from Teams here or you can have someone join in via telephone. If you type in a team member’s number, they will receive a phone call and be able to participate as if it were a conference call.

How to Create a New Teams Meeting for the Future

In the “Calendar” tab, you will the “New Meeting” button in the top right of the window. From here you have the option to create a live event or schedule a meeting.

When you select “Schedule Meeting,” you will be prompted to set up the meeting details. Here you will need to add a meeting title, add attendees, schedule the time, specify if you want the meetings to repeat, add a channel, add a location, and add meeting details.

How to Add a Microsoft Teams Channel to Meetings

If you want to invite several people from your team into a meeting, but do not want to add them individually, you can save time by adding a channel in Teams. When you are creating a new meeting, you will see a field that says, “Add channel.” Click in the field and select the channel you want to add. Everyone who is in that channel will be invited to the meeting, plus a post will be sent out to the channel.  This is a great way to save time and know you invited everyone who needs to be invited!

How to Use Teams Schedule Assistant

Notice when you add attendees to your meeting, some people’s names might light up with colors indicating that they are not available. To check availability between all attendees, click the “Scheduling Assistant” tab at the top of the window (see below). Once inside the Scheduling Assistant, you can easily see who is free and when. This makes scheduling a breeze and will help you avoid schedule conflicts!

Add Documents to a Teams Meeting

Once you have created a meeting, it will be visible in your Calendar tab in teams. If you click on the meeting you will have additional options to further enhance meeting productivity. A great feature is being able to attach documents which other attendees can download. This is useful if you need to attach PowerPoint slide shows, business documents, Excel spreadsheets, or just about anything that may be useful to the attendees.

To add a file, click on the meeting in your Calendar tab, then click “Files” at the top of the window. Once in Files, you can share by clicking the “Share” button. You can upload files from your computer or straight from your OneDrive cloud storage (see image below). Once you select a file, it will be available to all attendees by accessing the Files tab.

Interested in learning more about Teams? Check out these resources below:

Download our Getting Started with Teams Guide that goes over all the basics in Teams

Visit our Teams Migration Services page to see how we can help support your business with Teams

By Bryan Timm

While Skype is putting people in touch with their loved ones in a socially distant world; Skype for Business is saying goodbye to companies across the globe. It was announced last summer that Skype for Business Online would be retired on July 31, 2021. This leaves less than a year for companies still utilizing Skype for Business (SFBO) to transition to Microsoft Teams; the replacement product launched in 2017. It is much more than a replacement though, as Microsoft Teams brings together chat, meetings, calling, coloration, app integration, and file storage into a singular product; with an easy to navigate interface.

A Forrester Consulting survey done in 2019 shows us that utilizing Teams has so many benefits including:

  1. “Information workers save 4 hours per week from improved collaboration and information sharing.”
  2. “Companies reported reduced web conferencing, long-distance, mobile phone, and on-premises telephony solutions costs”
  3. “Decision makers improve their time-to-decision by 17.7%.”

What are some of the main advantages of using Microsoft Teams to Skype for Business?

  1. Chat history – Skype for business allowed real-time chat, but with no easily accessible history of the conversation
  2. Team Features – The ability to have private teams built out to have spaces to share, chat, and collaborate together
  3. Meetings – Live captions, whiteboard masking, and easy to access recordings all set Teams apart from its predecessor
  4. Integrations – Choose from hundreds of apps that integrate directly into Microsoft Teams, such as Confluence, Asana, Evernote, SurveyMonkey, and Github.
  5. Guest Access – Need to invite someone outside of the organization? Give them one-time guest access to your meetings or events with Microsoft Teams
  6. Storage – Files used in teams while create a SharePoint site, giving ease of access to a shared storage solution

The countdown has begun to start thinking about your business’ shift to Microsoft Teams. A true Teams deployment is more than just downloading the application, however. You’ll need to review your current configuration, and ensure that all appropriate pieces are moved over to Microsoft Teams. And if you need help, you can rely on technical experts like us!

One of the biggest questions asked: What’s the difference between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams? Microsoft breaks this down:

What is the best feature of Microsoft Teams?


Channels allow your departments, teams, or sometimes your whole organization a single place to communicate, store files, and integrate apps; without cluttering up the view of other departments or teams who do not necessarily need it (ie: the Marketing team vs the Finance team).

You'll still be able to communicate 1:1 or in any sized group with chats as well. You can A Forrester Consulting survey done in 2019 and take the conversation wherever you go!

What are some Microsoft Teams use cases?

Microsoft Teams is in use at one of the most recognizable names in the sky, Air France. Prior to utilizing Teams, frontline employees struggled to communicate effectively with each other. After its implementation, it allowed them to utilize Teams to collaborate in real-time on a OneNote; to share a summary of daily activities, schedules, and notes that are shared effectively through the cloud.

CenturyLink, a telecommunications company, is going through a strategic growth into a technology leader. Microsoft Teams is helping the company fit it’s new vision “One Company, One Culture” by helping employees stay connected. Cristi Robb, Manager of Information Technology, states that everyone now “works together on one platform to solve corporate problems and achieve our goal to serve customers better”.

Li & Fung, a global supply chain orchestrator, has leveraged Microsoft products & services, including Microsoft Teams, to help serve as a communication platform for their digital product development (DPD) solution. This DPD has helped saved them thousands of dollars and weeks of design time; keeping their business efficient and lean.

What are the main differences between Skype and Microsoft Teams?

Download our Getting Started with Teams Guide to learn more.

How can Microsoft Teams help my team stay connected while working remotely?

Here at Managed Solution, we use Microsoft Teams for nearly everything. It allows us to call and stay connected through 1:1 calls, group calls, meetings, and Live Events; as well as serving as a document management solution that is accessible by only members of that Channel. Our team is located across North America and by utilizing Microsoft Teams we stay connected to each other 24/7 (when we aren’t out volunteering our time in the community).

What are some of the most frequently asked questions about upgrading from Skype to Teams?

  1. Is there a deadline to upgrade for Skype for Business Online customers? Yes. Skype for business online will be retired on July 31, 2021; at which point it will no longer be accessible or supported.
  2. How long does it take to upgrade? That depends on your wants and needs; but it is typically is a 4-6 week process.
  3. My organization is running both; can I just disable Skype for Business? No. You will want to switch to Teams only mode to complete the upgrade.
  4. Will Skype for Business continue to receive upgrades until retirement? No. There will be no more updates to the application before it’s retirement on July 31, 2021.
  5. What does this mean from a licensing perspective? Microsoft Teams is included with Microsoft/Office 365 suites (including the E# products).
  6. Will this work as my phone system? Microsoft 365 provides features to run a 100% cloud-based PBX system. No need for physical devices or on-site equipment!

What are some of the steps involved in setting up Microsoft Teams? 

  1. Identify the teams you will be utilizing in Microsoft Teams (Sales, Admin, Finance, IT, etc). Teams can be rolled out to a single group or department for testing and early adoption. This is best to plan ahead.
  2. Build out the Channels based on the identified teams, projects, or other subsets of your organization. Then set the appropriate permissions for channel admins and end users.
  3. (Optional) Integrate phone system into Microsoft Teams.
  4. Disable Skype for Business on end user machines.
  5. Schedule training with end users throughout the organization for Microsoft Teams

The most important question is: Are you ready for Teams?



When it comes to office collaboration and communication tools, Microsoft Teams and Slack are the significant competitors that come to mind. Slack is best known around start-ups and digital agencies circles. It has been the first such collaboration tool of its kind, providing companies and organizations with chat and file-sharing capabilities.

With so many businesses now partially or fully remote, these tools are more important than ever, and even have benefits for teams in the same building. In this article, we'll compare the two and look at both similarities and differences so you can make a well-informed decision on what's best for your business.

What Do Microsoft Teams and Slack Have in Common?

Since both Slack and Teams are communication tools, there is some similar functionality between the two. The major commonalities include:

  • Quick Commands - In both cases, quick commands allow users to take certain actions easily. These include things like status changes or adding to team members, among others. With Slack, you type "/" into the message bar and the full list of quick commands appears. With Teams, "/" or "@" in the search bar will generate a similar result.
  • The Search Bar - Both tools present a search bar at the top, allowing users to search through files and chats with ease.
  • Conversation Threads - Another useful feature that both tools have in common is conversation threads. These help users quickly understand which messages are part of which conversation, as well as who is talking to who.
  • Channels - Each tool has channels, which are groups that are specific to different topics. This helps users stay organized and focused on the topic of the channel when conversing in said channel.

The Differences between Teams and Slack

Slack’s strength is that it was built for startups so it's easy to get started - plus it integrates with ~800 third party applications.  Microsoft Teams' strength is its built-in security features and strong integration with Office 365.

Truth be told, these two tools share a lot of the same features but the differences are in the details. Let's dive in and take a closer look.

Third-Party App Integrations

With over 800 third-party apps that it can integrate with, Slack beats Teams, which can integrate with over 200 apps. That said, Teams can integrate with all Office 365 apps (Skype, Outlook, etc.), making it the ultimate collaboration hub on top of its communication features. Teams is constantly adding new third party app integrations to try and keep up.  If you're an Office 365 user, Teams is definitely the way to go when it comes to integrations. If you use Google or otherwise, Slack might be better suited for you.

Sharing Files and Content

If your primary collaboration source is Google Drive, Slack allows you to create and share these kinds of documents easily while Teams operates on the Office 365 package. You can view, collaborate on, and edit files within Teams, without having to leave the platform, which is not possible in Slack. This is a game-changer when it comes to productivity. Teams users can access, share and edit files with just a few clicks and within one single application. It also allows for co-authoring documents and simultaneously working on a document with your colleagues in real-time.

Communication Options

Both tools are built for communication and therefore instant messaging, calls, meetings and video conferencing are built into both tools. However, with Slack you can only video conference with up to 15 users at a time. Within Teams, you can have up to 250 users in the most basic plan. So again, if you're a startup or small business, Slack will work, but if you have an organization with more than 15 people, then you should look at Teams. Both have features within their video conferencing to change the background, share screens, and more, but this does depend on the plan you have.


Both tools provide users with security measures to encrypt files, data, and messages. They both offer two-factor authentication, channel controls, and data loss prevention, but Teams has the edge over Slack thanks to its integration with the Microsoft Admin Center and Slack only provides some of these features at the Enterprise plan level. Microsoft is known to bake security into every product and because of its integration with Office 365 the security policies spread across platforms making it extra secure. Additionally, Microsoft has Advanced Threat Protection, communication compliance, secure guest access, cloud app security, sensitivity labels and more. If you’re in a highly-regulated industry or are concerned about compliance and security (as all businesses should be), then Teams has the advantage here.



Both systems are fairly easy to deploy, though due to some of its security and accessibility layers, Microsoft Teams takes a bit longer to add a new user. Depending on how sophisticated you want your Teams to be, it may require someone with technical skills to set up and deploy Teams, where as with Slack, you can get set up pretty quickly. However, once Teams is set up by your admin, it's quite user friendly and easy for new users to set up new Teams, channels, and start sharing files. If you're a startup or without a technical resource, then Slack is the way to go.


Regarding cost-effectiveness, both platforms have a free version, making them available for small companies that don't need the extra features. The open Teams version offers more capabilities than Slack. Also, companies that have an Office 365, Teams is available in many different licensing SKUs or is an easy add-on. Slack's plans start at $6.67/user/month and Microsoft Teams starts at $5/user/month.


In Conclusion

In summary, both tools are great options for communication in the office. If you're a startup or small business that is simply looking for a communication tool, Slack should solve your needs.

However, if you're looking for something secure with more features (even in its free plan) that not only has many communication avenues, but acts as a collaboration hub for your business, then Teams is your answer.


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about voice and internal communications is Skype for Business. For years, Skype has been the go-to tool for business communications, be it internally, externally, or globally. To date, Skype has around 300 million active users. Nevertheless, it's popularity is slipping. Other tools are starting to replace Skype, one of the most popular being Microsoft Teams.

What Is Microsoft Teams and How Does It Relate to Communication?

Microsoft Teams is a relatively new offering as part of the MS Office platform. It is a unified communications platform that combines several features such as chat, video meeting, phone calls, file storage, and application integration. The service can integrate with all other Office 365 suites and extensions, as well as non-Microsoft products.

In broad terms, it's similar to Skype for Business but with several additions. Besides, Microsoft is planning on steadily phasing out Skype in favor of Teams. The main reason for this, as we've mentioned, is the Teams' capability to be fully integrated into the Office 365 environment. As such, team members can exchange files, edit and write notes in shared documents, and collaborate more efficiently with each other.

Also, Microsoft Teams provides a series of easy-to-use communication channels to better organize inter or cross-departmental processes. Team members can choose to communicate with the entire team or one-on-one by using text, voice, or video chat. The added benefit is that both voice and video can be used within the platform, itself, supporting a large number of individuals at the same time.

Moving Your Business Phone Into the Cloud

Businesses that already have Office 365 and groups know that they can use Microsoft Teams to make voice calls over IP (VoIP) to other team members using desktops, laptops, or mobile devices running the Teams app.

Nevertheless, this Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls act more of an intercom system within an organization since Team apps don't connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Because of this, the Team app cannot be assigned a dedicated phone number, which means that nobody outside of the organization can use this feature to connect.

Something like this is only possible when a business connects to the PSTN by using Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hardware installed somewhere on the premises. The Phone System feature, part of Office 365, provides businesses with a cloud-based PBX system. Instead of having that PBX hardware installed in the office, companies can subscribe to this cloud-based service. The Phone System makes it possible to use Teams to make calls precisely as you would a regular telephone. You can make and receive calls from anywhere in the world and from any device that runs Teams, as long as there is an internet connection.

Furthermore, you can also add Calling Plans to better fit with your business needs. You can, for instance, have your finance team only make domestic calls while the sales department does both local and international. Some of the other features of Calling Plans are things like call answering and initiating based on name and number, call holding and retrieving, simultaneous ringing, call forwarding, voicemail, call history, emergency calls, etc.

Most importantly, however, you can do all of this from the Teams app that's on your phone, tablet, or laptop, as well as a range of other Teams-compatible devices and hardware such as conference room speakerphones, or headsets, among others.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][grve_single_image image_type="image-link" image="31471" link="|||"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

For those of us that don't know, SharePoint is a web-based system used for collaboration. It makes use of list databases, workflow applications, and other features as a means of enabling teams to work better together. SharePoint also gives businesses the ability to control access to information and automate various workflow processes.

SharePoint can increase productivity and visibility for IT workers across all levels of the organization. Features center around the company's private network, allowing for secure sharing, workflow collaboration, and content management, among other such features.

Due to its easy maintenance and use, SharePoint is a favorite with many businesses, big and small. Similarly, the platform also offers a high degree of flexibility and scalability, allowing companies to increase productivity and get a high ROI, based on their individual needs.

Also, SharePoint Online, which is the Microsoft Cloud version of the platform, has additional integration capabilities with other cloud applications such as Microsoft 365 or Office 365.

SharePoint truly shines when employees work together on ad-hoc projects or when they want to establish standard business processes regarding data sharing, data recording, or document publishing. It's many features that also include co-authoring, versioning, or security controls, allow users to do more work on only a fraction of the time, all the while maintaining the quality of their product.

SharePoint and Content Management

On a similar note, SharePoint makes it easy to add metadata so that users can quickly and easily understand the origins and purpose of a document without having to open it. Likewise, it also allows for the easy creation of custom databases, as well as the recording of numerous documents, which can them be integrated into business processes and workflows.

Once the metadata and content are on the platform, SharePoint can automate specific workflows such as the processing of end-user information, enabling record disposition through content lifecycle tools, and the disposal of data based on various business policies.

SharePoint and Team Collaboration

When it comes to uploading documents, users can either share it with other users or utilize OneDrive as personal storage where nobody else has access to. They can later share that document with others by granting them access. These workflow features, as well as others, can control how documents are being shared between them, as well as how they use that information within the organization.

Learning SharePoint

When you start using SharePoint, it's always better to learn a few basic tasks that will help you familiarize yourself with the platform and form some foundational skills. It's essential to remember that SharePoint holds a central role in a Microsoft-dominated environment, streamlining operations for everyone from the C-suite, all the way to customer service.

The best way to learn SharePoint is to start using it simply. The more practice you have with its essential features, the easier it will be to navigate. Some training courses will help you solidify the platform's fundamental principles and tasks. Even though the platform is intuitive and easy to use, it's numerous features that allow for more flexibility also increase its complexity. It means that, after you've mastered the basics, there remain many other ways to utilize it. Only with practice and use, will you take full advantage of what it has to offer.

Don't let this discourage you, however, since the benefits are well worth the effort. Most Fortune 500 companies have used SharePoint and for a good reason. If you want to learn more about SharePoint and how to use it, feel free to visit our website or contact us directly.

Traditionally, collaboration tools divide into numerous silos, based mostly on the type of communication which they are involved. When it comes to the Microsoft environment, for instance, Skype for Business is for real-time communication; Outlook is for messaging; SharePoint is for document and data sharing. All of these tools provide for all the communication an organization needs to function correctly.

The problem, however, is that all of them are separate programs that need to run independently and you continually have to flip between them. Likewise, the information is organized differently with each of them. Emails, for instance, are arranged by date, Skype messages are by person, while SharePoint is by teams or projects.

Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, manages to align all of these tools under one roof. It becomes particularly useful when it comes to team communication.

Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Working Together

When it comes to SharePoint and Teams, they both organize team sites based on project, topic, or organization. Microsoft Teams has SharePoint team sites associated with it. It means that every channel in Teams is related to a folder in the SharePoint document library. Also, every document sent outside of Teams is also stored in the sender's OneDrive business folder.

Storing Teams Documents in SharePoint

There are several advantages to storing your Teams documents in SharePoint and OneDrive. For starters, it's easy to sync all files for a Team on OneDrive since it works for both Windows and Mac. Also, SharePoint allows previews for more than 300 file types, which can also display in the Teams file tab.

SharePoint has a series of comprehensive data governance and compliance features such as automatic classification and labeling, data loss prevention, document retention policies, etc. These are also transferred to Teams documents when used together. What's more, users don't necessarily have to leave Teams to work on their SharePoint files since these will appear in their Files tab.

Adding SharePoint Pages as Tabs in Teams

When you add SharePoint pages as tabs in Teams, you will have a much easier time when building a custom website than you would with your typical approach. It is because all of the information that's on a team site home page will also appear here, making it the best of both SharePoint and Teams on the same interface.

You can also put an entire document in a tab, which can prove useful when you share a presentation or want to track information in a spreadsheet that available to the whole team. Similarly, you can use SharePoint Framework web parts as tabs in Teams. It allows for their seamless reuse and allows SharePoint developers to be in easy reach of Teams tab development.

Highlighting News and Conversations

Say, you are at a new stage of a project, or you want to emphasize a particular piece of news. Most often, this type of information will be misplaced in the Teams conversation thread, and people will lose track of them. To counteract this, you can use the News web part on a SharePoint page to make sure that this doesn't happen. SharePoint sites will include a publishing system for news pages. These appear on the web parts, Hub sites, the home page, the SharePoint app, and in Teams.


These are some of the best practices when leveraging SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. If, however, you need help, our consulting services team is at the ready. Sign up for our webinar to learn hands-on how you can best leverage these tools.

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