Microsoft Teams has taken the business communications world by storm – recently reaching 20 million users. Touted to be replacing Skype for Business in the coming years, Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming the go-to for instant comms. At Business Agility we’d be the first to encourage a new way of communicating and collaborating; especially within the realms of Office 365. However, we’d also say this… Microsoft Teams is a lot of things; but it’s certainly NOT your intranet. Here’s why:
Microsoft Teams is designed differently
Yes, you can create Microsoft Teams team Sites – but that sounds strange and frankly it may be a bit cumbersome for managing long-term communications. SharePoint sites have fantastic functionality behind them; they’re great for document collaboration and other management, sharing information and governing your documents properly. When too many of these sites are created, you may end up at square one with your internal comms problems: too many communications happening, things being difficult to find and good communications habits going to pot. it’s a good idea to start small with SharePoint sites. Microsoft Teams is setup for short, sharp communication; day to day dealings with no hassle!
Intranets are more than just chit chat
Microsoft Teams is also more than just chit chat – it’s brilliant for file sharing, conferencing and organising workloads – to an extent. Intranets of course have a strong communication element to them, but they’re needed in organisations for much more than that. A good SharePoint Intranet will:
- Organise people for long-term projects
- Have proper workflows in place to manage the creation and deletion of documents
- Potentially have functionality as a solid internal e-leaning platform
- Be able to push out important company notifications without them getting lost
- Have a document library where everything is easy to locate and share (if allowed)
- Be branded to you organisation’s look and feel
Microsoft Teams isn’t a publishing platform
Microsoft Teams has lots of great sharing functionality; and could greatly improve a company’s internal communications. However, Microsoft Teams isn’t designed to have dedicated areas where targeted content belongs (and stays put). The navigation in Microsoft simply works differently. You don’t navigate on content, you navigate on people. For example – if you’re trying to find an expenses form to fill out, you’d likely find it in the “Accounts/Finance Team” and navigate through the channels and files tabs within. In an intranet, you’d go into the documents area and find it there – in both you’d be able to search for it, but an intranet will yield better results. In Teams, you’ll likely get a lot of results where you’ve mentioned the phrase “expenses”. (And that’s just confusing.)
You can’t monitor content in the best way
An intranet should have solid workflows underpinning your content. What this means is reminders for evaluation of content, approval processes before publishing, deletion of inactive pages and so on. Microsoft Teams doesn’t have the capacity to monitor your content from a governance point of view. Sure, there are permissions for particular Teams which is super helpful to stop rogue sharing – but tracking that content is more difficult.
It could be a nightmare for complex organisations…unless good governance is in place!
Big organisations with numerous subsidiaries may struggle to use solely Microsoft Teams as their entire intranet. The complexity of the organisation would likely be reflected in the navigation process of its intranet, and difficulty shouldn’t be a factor. Having said that, there are indeed methods in which large organisations can utilise Microsoft Teams to leverage their SharePoint and Office 365 experience (just ask us!) – there is so much functionality within Office 365 to tie into Microsoft Teams (you can’t do that in Slack!)
Not to mention look and feel of things – as mentioned previously, an intranet will be branded to reflect the organisation’s culture. Microsoft Teams doesn’t have this functionality.
When it comes to Microsoft Teams governance, there should be a process around how Teams and Channels are created and destroyed (otherwise you end up with teams sprawling everywhere and no way of managing it, and teams being created for the wrong reasons)
Microsoft Teams is good for a lot of other stuff though
Microsoft Teams is brilliant for quick and painless, day to day communication. It works well in small organisations as the main channel for comms – especially if you have SharePoint running in the background for the longer term stuff and document management. Teams is great for internal conferencing and keeping track of smaller projects – you can integrate Office 365 apps within it such as Planner – fab for task organisation! The screen-share adds to Office 365’s collaborative MO and allows users to have a more informal experience when communicating. We’d certainly recommend the use of Microsoft Teams – perhaps though, not as a full-blown intranet.