Ready or Not. Here comes Microsoft Teams.

Well, it appears that Microsoft is ready to introduce Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus users to Microsoft Teams. We have heard that users haven’t already been given access to Microsoft Teams can expect to see Microsoft’s collaboration application automatically activated by July 9, 2019.

At Kiefer, we are early adopters of all things Microsoft. So, this news surprised us a bit. It feels like Teams has been around forever and that everyone must be using it! We use Teams internally on several projects and internal initiatives to connect our employees, support collaboration, and to serve as the “front door” to the full-suite of Office 365 applications. Users that are new to Teams will find that once they create a new “team”, Office 365 will work in the background and create collaboration spaces, document repositories, and activate other resources that enable collaboration for all members of the “team.”

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Some organizations have been reluctant to deploy Microsoft Teams. I.T. professionals that we have talked to are concerned about governance and policies. In addition, since Teams is a new application, I.T. leaders are unfamiliar with the impact and implications of introducing Microsoft Teams and are concerned that another collaboration application in the Microsoft suite will confuse users.

Since Teams will be deployed with the next update of Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus (Office version 1906 or later), I.T. organizations that don’t want to deploy Teams will need to manually prevent the automatic install. According to Microsoft, the arrival of Teams is related to the “channel” the organization follows.

Blocking Microsoft Teams

According to a recent technical bulletin from Microsoft,

“Starting in July 2019, if you’re using Monthly Channel, then Teams will be added to existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus (and Office 365 Business) when you update your existing installation to the latest version on devices running Windows.”

I.T. can block the installation of Microsoft Teams using several different methods. Administrators can use Group Policy or the Office Deployment Tool to prevent Teams from being installed. Microsoft provides instructions for using Group Policy if you choose to not have Microsoft Teams added to an existing installation of Office 365. Withing Group Policy , there is a setting called “Don’t install Microsoft Teams with new installations or updates of Office” that can be used. Alternatively, you can let Teams be added, but use Group Policy to prevent Teams from automatically starting when the user signs in to the device. This policy setting can be found under User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Teams.

If you want to use the Office Deployment Tool, it’s important to note that you need to run the Office Deployment Tool in /configure mode on each device before you update to the new version of Office 365 ProPlus.

Updates to Microsoft Teams

According to a document published by Microsoft, “Once installed, Teams gets automatically updated “approximately every two weeks with new features and quality updates,” depending on the update channel that’s followed. The update process for Teams “is different than the update process for the other Offices apps, such as Word and Excel,” the document added.

We’ve seen several significant updates since we started using Microsoft Teams. New features on the horizon include Secure Private Channels and Information barriers. Teams is adapting to the demands of users and supports the vision of collaboration in the modern workplace.

Is Teams the future of collaboration?

We have been following Microsoft Teams very closely since it was introduced in March of 2017. Teams is reflective of Microsoft’s commitment to modernizing the workplace, foster collaboration, and seamlessly integrating the broad set of applications that make up the Office 365 suite.

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We have been working with clients to help them create a plan for deploying Microsoft Teams, addressing concerns related to adoption, usability, governance, and policies. Contact Kiefer and work with our Modern Workplace to understand the benefits and challenges associated with deploying Microsoft Teams.

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