Microsoft Teams as a Platform
This is part 2 in my Top 5 Emerging Trends in the Microsoft 365 Cloud Adoption Journey Blog Series
It has been over 9 months since many us (myself included) started working from home full time. During this time we have embraced solutions such as Microsoft Teams to stay connected with our peers, customers, partners, family, friends, teachers, students, and many others.
In October 2020, Microsoft reported that Teams now has more than 115 million daily active users. With Skype for Business Online being retired on July 31, 2021, the usage and adoption of Teams will continue to increase.
The Microsoft Teams product team has done a great job providing resources to help with the migration, training, and adoption of Teams such as the Success with Teams site.
The goal of this blog post is to discuss some of the common trends and patterns that my peers and I have been working with customers and partners to move beyond using Teams “just” for basic meetings and chat.
Existing Apps in Teams
One common pattern is leveraging tabs in Teams to bring in common Microsoft applications and services such as your SharePoint Online Intranet, Power BI dashboards, and Planner boards. This has the benefit of integrating existing solutions plus adding a centralized chat for ongoing questions and conversations.
Not only can you add Microsoft applications, you can also embed existing 3rd party services and custom developed solutions that your organization may already be using via tabs, bots, and connectors.
Simplification and Modernization
Many customers have been embracing Teams integration with the Power Platform (e.g. Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents), Microsoft Lists, and Microsoft Forms to automate and improve existing business processes. Some examples have included:
- Replacing existing paper based, manual, or legacy processes for collecting employee information (e.g. onboarding forms, orders, time off requests), quizzes, polls, and surveys
- Adding automation for regular (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) reminders, approvals, and tasks
- Planning for returning to the office post-COVID including the return to the workplace solution and the building access application solution accelerator
- Building a chat bot to handle frequently asked questions
- Using any of the 35+ open source Microsoft Teams app templates to quickly customize and deploy solutions to common business challenges
- Pinning apps in Teams via setup policies
- Leveraging the new Dataverse for Teams capabilities and Power Platform apps in Teams to make it easier to build, publish, and access these solutions and tables from directly within Teams
My next 2 blog posts will explore more examples of how we are working with customers to build their own solutions with the Power Platform and how other Microsoft offerings, such as SharePoint Syntex, are building finished solutions on top of these foundational services and building blocks.