This week sees the launch of Microsoft’s latest collaboration and productivity app, which fully integrates with Office 365 – it’s called ‘Microsoft Teams’.

This is an interesting development, not only from the point of view of those that have adopted Microsoft’s cloud-based platform, but from a product strategy pov too.

The world of ‘productivity apps’ is large and varied. One particular rising star in this world is Slack. It’s a self-confessed ‘email killer’, with a mandate to improve communication, sharing and efficiency on projects and team-based work groups.

The uptake and adoption of this team collaboration software has been huge, which isn’t exactly music to Microsoft’s ears.

Microsoft would like to think they revolutionised productivity with its Office tools, and to a large extent it absolutely did. However, a slower pace to push these tools through much more mobile and pure digital channels had left it on the back-foot. Until now, it seems.

Microsoft Teams is an extension of Office 365 Groups, combining subject-threaded chat Skype, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, SharePoint and many other Microsoft products integrated with options for plug-ins from third parties, such as Twitter and Dropbox.

Microsoft Graph is integrated also, to aid search and find the data you need in context-aware situations. 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.

Microsoft commented; “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 organisational 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.”