Introducing Microsoft Teams—the chat-based workspace in Office 365

www.office.com/setup Blogs: Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

Today, at an event in New York City, we announced Microsoft Teams—the new chat-based workspace in Office 365. Microsoft Teams is an entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations and content—along with the tools that teams need—so they can easily collaborate to achieve more. It’s naturally integrated with the familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on the Office 365 global, secure cloud. Starting today, Microsoft Teams is available in preview in 181 countries and in 18 languages to commercial customers with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans, with general availability expected in the first quarter of 2017.

At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to the mission of helping people and organizations achieve more—and reinventing productivity for the cloud and mobile world is core to our ambition. We built Microsoft Teams because we see both tremendous opportunity and tremendous change in how people and teams get work done. Teams are now more agile and organizational structures more flat to keep communications and information flowing. With Microsoft Teams, we aspire to create a more open, digital environment that makes work visible, integrated and accessible—across the team—so everyone can stay in the know.

Microsoft Teams delivers on four core promises to create a digital workspace for high performing teams.

Chat for today’s teams

First and foremost, Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.

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A hub for teamwork

Second, Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips. Backed by the Microsoft Graph, intelligent services are surfaced throughout the workspace to help with information relevancy, discovery and sharing. Microsoft Teams is also built on Office 365 Groups—our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another, preserve their sense of context and share with others.

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Customizable for each team

Third, since all teams are unique, we’ve invested deeply in ways for people to customize their workspace, with rich extensibility and open APIs available at general availability. For example, Tabs provides quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. Microsoft Teams also shares the same Connector model as Exchange, providing notifications and updates from third-party services like Twitter or GitHub. Further, we are including full support for the Microsoft Bot Framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into your team environment.

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Today, we are also announcing the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview program, allowing developers to extend Microsoft Teams. We will have integrations with over 150 partners at general availability—including our early partners Zendesk, Asana, Hootsuite and Intercom. This is the first step in providing the customization users want and the tools and support our developer community will need to integrate with Microsoft Teams.

Security teams trust

Finally, Microsoft Teams provides the advanced security and compliance capabilities that our Office 365 customers expect. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Like all our commercial services, we have a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Microsoft Teams will support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more. And, as customers would expect, Microsoft Teams is served out of our hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

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Microsoft Teams joins the Office 365 universal toolkit

Microsoft Teams joins the broadest and deepest portfolio of collaboration applications and services to help solve the diverse needs of people and organizations globally. As we’ve learned from our 85 million active monthly users, all groups have a diverse set of needs when it comes to working together. Office 365 is designed for the unique workstyle of every group and includes purpose-built applications, all deeply integrated together.

  • SharePoint provides intranets and content management solutions to more than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people.
  • Yammer is the social network for work, enabling cross-company discussions for 85 percent of the Fortune 500.
  • Skype for Business provides real-time voice, video and conferencing and hosts more than 100 million meetings a month.
  • Office 365 Groups is our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another.

Turn on Microsoft Teams today

Early private preview customers are seeing benefits in using Microsoft Teams. “Based on our early use of Microsoft Teams in Office 365, we believe it is the digital cockpit we’ve been waiting for,” said Andrew Wilson, CIO of Accenture. With the public preview available today, administrators can enable Microsoft Teams through the Office 365 admin center. Ready to get started—see Microsoft Teams in action in our Microsoft Mechanics video.

—Kirk Koenigsbauer

Frequently asked questions

Q. Which Office 365 plans will include Microsoft Teams?

A. Microsoft Teams is available to Office 365 commercial customers with one of the following plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5. Microsoft Teams will also be available to customers who purchased E4 prior to its retirement.

Q. What action do Office 365 IT admins need to take to access the preview of Microsoft Teams?

A. To turn on Microsoft Teams, IT admins should go to their Office 365 admin center, click Settings > Services & Add Ins > Microsoft Teams.

Q. When will Microsoft Teams roll out broadly to all eligible Office 365 customers?

A. Microsoft Teams is available in preview to eligible Office 365 commercial customers beginning November 2, 2016. We expect the service to become generally available in the first quarter of calendar year 2017.

Q. What platforms does Microsoft Teams support?

A. Microsoft Teams runs on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and web platforms.

Q. What level of security and compliance does Microsoft Teams support?

A. Microsoft Teams is expected to be Office 365 Tier C compliant at launch. This broad set of global compliance and data protection requirements includes ISO 27001, ISO 27018, EUMC, SOC 1 Type I & II, SOC 2 Type I and II, HIPAA and FERPA. Microsoft Teams also enforces two-factor authentication, single sign on through Active Directory and encryption of data in transit and at rest.

Q. What trainings are available to help Office 365 admins learn about Microsoft Teams?

A. We have two different trainings currently available for our IT admins. To view the trainings, visit the Microsoft Virtual Academy website. We have a video on Microsoft Mechanics and more information on the Microsoft Teams Tech Community.

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