Microsoft is cunningly pushing Teams as part of its COVID-19 preparedness recommendations. But Teams isn’t the best option for everyone, far from it. Promoting Teams is good for Microsoft and their sales partners but not necessarily their customers.
At Microsoft.com there are now special banner ads promoting Teams as the solution for ‘working remotely’, clearly an effort to promote Teams at a time when many people and organizations are focusing on remote collaboration, working from home etc.
From Microsoft.com – just one example of Microsoft’s promotion of Teams during the COVID-19 troubles.
If you just took advice from Microsoft, you’d think the only way to ‘work remotely’ was Microsoft Teams. That’s not true, even just looking at other Microsoft services, let alone offerings from other companies.
That’s unashamedly opportunistic, taking advantage of a global emergency to push one of their new products and take market share from a rival.
Teams is a big step to take at short notice. It’s not the sort of thing to introduce to an organization already coping with a lot of remote working.
It’s even more blatant in their long email to Office 365 users headed “Microsoft 365 preparedness for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and guidance regarding best practices for Microsoft Teams”. The email mentions Teams many times while ignoring other useful Microsoft services which might be more appropriate.
It’s opportunistic because Microsoft is ignoring other MS services that can also be useful and used independently (Skype, OneDrive etc).
Teams is OK but requires a considerable commitment to setup and training that’s not necessary or justified for occasional use. Microsoft would like organizations to pay for Teams either separately or as part of an Office 365 business plan.
The company will justify these promotions as ‘helping’ customers dealing with the effects of the coronavirus precautions. However the ‘help’ is blatantly self-serving to Microsoft’s sales rather than genuinely informing customers about the range of options available.
Microsoft deserves some credit for parts of their response. Encouraging staff to work from home while still paying support staff (cleaners, drivers etc) is laudable. A pity those efforts aren’t reflected elsewhere in the organization.
Use OneDrive instead
The free version of Teams is not properly integrated into Office for Windows/Mac. Documents have to be downloaded/checked out to edit in the full Office software.
For many people it’s easier to use Microsoft OneDrive. Share a document or folder with others. Anyone with Office 365/2019/2016 can directly open the shared document, edit and comment within the doc.
Communication about the document can be done via comments inside the doc or a messaging service like Signal, Whatsapp or whatever people are already familiar with.
It’s much easier and faster than what’s possible in the free Teams, especially if you and your group aren’t already familiar with Teams.
By all means, use Teams features if it’s already setup but there are alternatives to all those features that can be used by everyone without a Team membership.