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    Backstage
    Microsoft Teams – the new form of collaboration in a team
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    02. March 2020
    5:40 min.
    Silke Riedl explains which features the software Microsoft Teams has at Krones – from chatting and telephony to collaborative working.
    • Microsoft Teams is particularly helpful for mobile working.

    We have recently started using Microsoft Teams as a new communication channel here at Krones. Teams is particularly important for us when it comes to mobile working. But my colleagues – and perhaps staff in other companies as well – are already preoccupied with some questions regarding the new software: what exactly is Teams? Just another additional software package that I now use somehow? What about the other programs? When should I be using which communication channel? I hope I can shed a bit of light on this.

    Teams is the central platform when it comes to collaborative working. Teamwork is a familiar concept: people are pursuing the same goal and are working together on a particular project or issue. The next step up is collaborative working, which means that a project can be tackled not only jointly, but simultaneously. For example, digital documents can all be processed at the same time. Collaborative working is gaining steadily in perceived importance, since the team of the future will be maximally diverse in its composition, in order to better harness the strengths of the individual staff involved and to cancel out any weaknesses – even though the individual team members are not often in the same location. What’s more, it’s immaterial whether the team is taken from inside the company or includes outside associates and service providers.

     

    Here’s a brief overview covering the three cornerstones of Teams:

    Chat

    I think the chat function is something that everyone can use immediately without much in the way of explanation. The major advantage in comparison with Skype for Business is that the chat is now permanent, like in WhatsApp, and that a chat history is stored in memory. Another convenient function is the presence display, where I can see immediately whether the chat partner I want is available, in a meeting, briefly absent, or not in the building.

    Article 25017
    The chat function in Microsoft Teams Microsoft

     

    Meeting/telephony

    The telephony capabilities currently subsume Teams-to-Teams telephone calls, plus audio and video conferences with internal or external participants. Here, too, operation and log-in are simple, and the speech and image quality is very good. I no longer have to know my colleagues’ phone numbers by heart or look them up in the directory; I just click on the telephone receiver in the chat function, and it rings immediately. For anyone on a business trip abroad and with an opportunity to use a WLAN, this kind of telephony is completely free of charge – in contrast to conventional phone calls, where often roaming charges are incurred. Now, too, it’s child’s play to issue invitations to a telephone or video conference with external participants. When I dispatch the Outlook date, I simply use the “Plan Teams meeting” function, and a link is embedded automatically, through which the participants can then access the Teams meeting. If I want to share my screen with the person I’m talking to, then all it takes is a mouse-click.

    In the telephony function, as from the year’s second quarter the next improvement will take effect: we are integrating our telephony (landline and mobile) in Teams. At present, I often find myself on the phone with Teams, and at the same time a call arrives on my landline number. I can then solve this satisfactorily by asking my colleague to take the call on the landline number. Sometimes, however, the opposite happens, and a call arrives through Teams while I’m talking on my landline phone. At present, unfortunately, I can’t accept the call through Teams. These scenarios, however, will soon be history. Every employee can decide whether Avaya – our telephony solution – or Teams is the leading system for them, and the existing telephone number is also retained. But Krones’ staff will in any case be learning even more about this soon.

    Article 25089
    Telephoning via Teams Microsoft

     

    Teams work areas

    The third and perhaps most revolutionary cornerstone is the Teams work areas. This is where the actual collaborative working takes place. All team-relevant documents are shared here, instead of being dispatched by email, for example. This means the team is always working with the latest version, and simultaneous processing is likewise possible, since all documents are stored at a sharepoint in the background. It’s in the Teams work areas that the app’s greatest potential lies – but also, of course, the biggest change in working methodology. In order to demonstrate some specific application cases, I shall be publishing some separate articles in the months ahead.

    So when do I use Teams? Primarily when collaboration is involved, i.e. thematically or team-relevant communication, for Teams-to-Teams telephone calls, audio and video conferences, and for personal chats and group chats. The Teams app can also be used on a smartphone at any time while you’re on the road. This means I’m always up-to-date, since the app is synchronised on all terminals.

    At Krones, Outlook will remain the leading tool for our calendar management. Emails are used for subjects that concern more than one person, and for which there is no work area in Teams. Conversely, 1-to-1 conversations can often be better conducted in Teams than by email, since there you can at any time access the course of the conversations and view shared documents. It is also generally accepted that in the case of chat messages the urgency or priority of a message is normally higher compared to an email, and accordingly a response is expected more quickly.

    Article 25091
    Particularly important at Krones: collaborative working with the help of teams Microsoft

    Well, I hope that has proved to be tolerably illuminating, and some of your questions are answered. As you may have noticed: we never get bored at Krones – so let's see which communication processes we will optimise in the future.   

    02. March 2020
    5:40 min.

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