Microsoft Teams is a platform that combines workplace chat, meetings, notes, and attachments. The service integrates with the company's Office 365subscription office productivity suite, including Microsoft Office and Skype, and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products.
Microsoft Teams is the ultimate messaging app for your organization—a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, file and app sharing, and even the occasional emoji! All in one place, all in the open, all accessible to everyone.
- Teams are a collection of people, content, and tools surrounding different projects and outcomes within an organization.
- Teams can be created to be private to only invited users.
- Teams can also be created to be public and open and anyone within the organization can join (up to 10,000 members).
A team is designed to bring together a group of people who work closely to get things done. Teams can be dynamic for project-based work (for example, launching a product, creating a digital ship room), as well as ongoing, to reflect the internal structure of your organization (for example, departments and office locations). Conversations, files and notes across team channels are only visible to members of the team.
- Channels are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics, projects, disciplines—-whatever works for your team! Files that you share in a channel (on the Files tab) are stored in SharePoint. To learn more, read How SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business interact with Teams.
- Channels are places where conversations happen and where the work actually gets done. Channels can be open to all team members or, if you need a more select audience, they can be private. Standard channels are for conversations that everyone in a team can participate in and private channels limit communication to a subset of people in a team.
- Channels are most valuable when extended with apps that include tabs, connectors, and bots that increase their value to the members of the team. To learn more, see Apps, bots, & connectors in Teams.
Membership, roles, and settings
When Teams is activated for your entire organization, team owners can invite anyone at your organization they work with to join their team. Teams makes it easy for team owners to add people in the organization based on their name. Depending on your organization's settings people from outside of your organization can be added to your teams as guests. See Guest Access in Microsoft Teams for more information.
Team owners can also create a team based on an existing Microsoft 365 group. Any changes made to the group membership will be synced with Teams automatically.
There are two main roles in Teams:
- Team owner - The person who creates the team. Team owners can make any member of their team a co-owner when they invite them to the team or at any point after they’ve joined the team. Having multiple team owners lets you share the responsibilities of managing settings and membership, including invitations.
- Team members - The people who the owners invite to join their team.
In addition, if moderation is set up, team owners and members can have moderator capabilities for a channel. Moderators can start new posts in the channel and control whether team members can reply to existing channel messages. Team owners can assign moderators within a channel. (Team owners have moderator capabilities by default.) Moderators within a channel can add or remove other moderators within that channel. For more information, see Set up and manage channel moderation in Microsoft Teams.
When you add a team owner, they are also added as a member, except when the team is created in the Teams admin center or when a team is added to a new or existing Microsoft 365 group.
Team owners can manage team-wide settings directly in Teams. Settings include the ability to add a team picture, set permissions across team members for creating standard and private channels, adding tabs and connectors, @mentioning the entire team or channel, and the usage of GIFs, stickers, and memes.
If you are a Teams administrator in Microsoft 365, you have access to system-wide settings in the Teams admin center. These settings can impact the options and defaults team owners see under team settings. For example, you can enable a default channel, “General”, for team-wide announcements, discussions, and resources, which will appear across all teams.
By default, all users have permissions to create a team. To modify this, see Assign roles and permissions in Teams.
One key early planning activity to engage users with Teams is to help people think and understand how Teams can enhance collaboration in their day to day lives. Talk with people and help them select business scenarios where they are currently collaborating in fragmented ways. Bring them together in a channel with the relevant tabs that will help them get their work done. One of the most powerful use cases of Teams is any cross-organizational process.
Teams is built on Microsoft 365 groups, Microsoft Graph, and the same enterprise-level security, compliance, and manageability as the rest of Microsoft 365 and Office 365. Teams leverages identities stored in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Teams keeps working even when you're offline or experiencing spotty network conditions.
To see where Teams fits in the context of Microsoft 365, check out this architecture poster: Teams as part of Microsoft 365
When you create a team, here's what gets created:
- A new Microsoft 365 group
- A SharePoint Online site and document library to store team files
- An Exchange Online shared mailbox and calendar
- A OneNote notebook
- Ties into other Microsoft 365 and Office 365 apps such as Planner and Power BI
When you create a team from an existing group, that group's membership, site, mailbox, and notebook are surfaced in Teams. To learn more, check out this poster: Groups in Microsoft 365 for IT Architects
To customize and extend Teams, add third-party apps through apps, bots, and connectors. With Teams, you can include people from outside your organization by adding them as a guest to a team or channel. As part of Microsoft 365 and Office 365, Teams offers a robust development platform so you can build the teamwork hub you need for your organization.
For a deep dive into Teams architecture, watch the videos on the Teams Platform Academy.
As the admin, you'll manage Teams through the Microsoft Teams admin center. For a quick orientation, watch the Manage Teams using the Teams admin center video (3:03 min):
To learn more:
- Use Teams admin roles to manage Teams
- Manage Teams in the Teams admin center
- Manage Teams during the transition to the new Teams admin center
- Manage Teams features in your Microsoft 365 or Office 365
To stay on top of what's coming for Teams and all other Microsoft 365 or Office 365 products and services in your organization, be sure to check Message center and the Teams roadmap. You'll get announcements about new and updated features, planned changes, and issues to help keep you informed and prepared.
Upgrade from Skype for Business to Teams
Teams is the primary client for intelligent communications in Microsoft 365 and Office 365, and it'll eventually replace Skype for Business Online. To stay on top of new features coming to Teams, see the Microsoft 365 Roadmap. To complement persistent chat and messaging capabilities, Teams offers a comprehensive meeting and calling experience, with built in, fully integrated voice and video. Check out Teams is now a complete meeting and calling solution in the Microsoft Teams Blog.
If you're running Skype for Business and are ready to upgrade to Teams, or if you're running Skype for Business and Teams side-by-side and are ready to fully move to Teams, we have the tools, tips, and guidance to help make your transition successful. To learn more, see Upgrade to Teams.
Every team is different; there's no one-size-fits-all approach to collaboration. Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are designed to meet the unique needs of every team, empowering people to communicate, collaborate, and achieve more with purpose-built, integrated applications.
When deciding which Microsoft 365 or Office 365 apps and services to use, think about the work your organization does and the types of conversations your teams need to have.
- Teams, as the hub for teamwork, is where people - including people outside your organization - can actively connect and collaborate in real time to get things done. Have a conversation right where the work is happening, whether coauthoring a document, having a meeting, or working together in other apps and services. Teams is the place to have informal chats, iterate quickly on a project, work with team files, and collaborate on shared deliverables.
- Outlook for collaborating in the familiar environment of email and in a more formal, structured manner or when targeted and direct communication is required.
- SharePoint for sites, portals, intelligent content services, business process automation, and enterprise search. SharePoint keeps content at the center of teamwork, making all types of content easily shareable and accessible across teams. Tight integration with Outlook, Yammer, and Teams enables seamless content collaboration across conversation experiences.
- OneDrive for Business for storing files and sharing them with people that a user invites. Content that a user saves to OneDrive for Business is private until the user shares it with others, making it the best option for storing personal and draft documents that are not intended to be shared or not ready to be shared.
- Yammer to connect people across the organization. Drive company-wide initiatives, share best practices, and build communities around common topics of interest or areas of practice. Crowdsource ideas to foster open discussions with people across the company.
- Office apps are all the familiar tools that people know and use regularly, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.