Microsoft Teams for Office 365 is the new chat-based workspace so everyone can stay in the know

Yesterday, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams for Office 365. This is the new chat-based work area within Office 365 that brings together people, conversations, content and the tools needed to do more and collaborate more together.

YouTube Introducing MS Teams Screenshot

It’s naturally integrated with the familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on the Office 365 global, secure cloud. As of Wednesday, Microsoft Teams for Office 365 is available in preview in 181 countries and in 18 languages to commercial customers with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans (Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5). General availability is anticipated in the first quarter of 2017.

With the evolution in how people and teams get work done (teams are now more nimble and organizational structures more flat to keep communications and information flowing), Microsoft developed Teams to create a more open, digital environment that makes work visible, integrated and accessible—across the team—so everyone can stay in the know.

Chat for today’s teams

First and most importantly, Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everybody engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Please note, that 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.

MS Teams Interface

A central hub for teamwork

Second, Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true centralized hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so the users 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.

Fully Customizable for each team

Third, since all teams are unique, Microsoft has 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.

MS Teams Interface

Yesterday Microsoft also announced the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview program, allowing developers to extend Microsoft Teams. They will have integration’s with over 150 partners at general availability. This is the first step in providing the customization users want and the tools and support the developer community will need to integrate with Microsoft Teams.

Security teams trust

Lastly, Microsoft Teams for Office 365 does provide 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 Microsoft’s  hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

Frequently asked questions

Which Office 365 plans will include Microsoft Teams?

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.

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

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

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

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.

What platforms does Microsoft Teams support?

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

What level of security and compliance does Microsoft Teams support?

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.

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