This article was originally posted on the Microsoft 365 blog.
Two years ago this week, we launched Microsoft 365, an integrated set of apps and services designed to help customers transform workplace collaboration, streamline business processes, and protect critical information. At the center of Microsoft 365 is Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork that combines chat, video meetings, calling, and files into a single, integrated app. More than 13 million people now use Teams on a daily basis—and more than 19 million people use it weekly. With availability in 53 languages across 181 markets, Teams is powering teamwork for customers around the world, including Emirates, FedEx, Lexmark, The Adecco Group, KONE, and McCann Worldgroup.
As part of extending Teams to every worker across all industries, today we’re announcing new capabilities in four areas that make it easier for customers to use Teams to communicate and collaborate.
1. Prioritize time-sensitive communication
Two new features in Teams will ensure that important messages get through.
- Priority notifications alert recipients of time-sensitive messages, pinging a recipient every two minutes on their mobile and desktop until a response is received.
- Read receipts in chat displays an icon to indicate when a message you sent has been read by the recipient.
Priority notifications and read receipts are starting to roll out this month.
2. Easily manage communications within and across teams
- Announcements allow team members to highlight important news in a channel and are a great way to kick off a new project, welcome a new colleague, or share results from a recent marketing campaign.
- Channel cross posting allows you to post a single message in multiple channels at the same time.
- Channel moderation allows moderators to manage what gets posted in a channel and whether a post accepts replies.
Announcements is rolling out now. Channel moderation and channel cross posting are coming soon.
3. Make it easier for Firstline Workers to manage their schedules and receive updates
- The new time clock feature in the Teams Shifts module allows workers to clock in and out of their work shifts and breaks right from their Teams mobile app. Managers have the option to geo-fence a location to ensure team members are at the designated worksite when clocking in or out.
- Targeted communication allows team members to message everyone in a specific role at the same time by @mentioning the role name in a post. For example, you could send a message to all cashiers in a store or all nurses in a hospital.
Time clock is rolling out now. Targeted communication will start rolling out in August 2019.
4. IT administrators: Easily deploy the Teams client and manage policies for everyone in your organization
- The Teams client is now available to existing installations of Office 365 ProPlus on the Monthly Channel.
- Policy packages in the Teams admin center enable IT admins to apply a pre-defined set of policies across Teams functions, such as messaging and meetings, to employees based on the needs of their role.
Policy packages in the Teams admin center is coming soon.
Building a robust partner ecosystem with Teams
Partners play a critical role in helping customers use Teams to streamline business processes, and today we’re announcing four new partner initiatives.
- Contact center solutions—Contact centers are an important part of customer service operations at many companies. We’re working with Five9, Genesys, NICE inContact, and other leading contact center solution providers to enable integration between Teams and contact center solutions.
- Call recording for compliance—Since many industries have regulatory policies that require the recording of calls and meetings, we’re partnering with compliance recording partners, including ASC, NICE, and Verint to add this capability to Teams.
- Workforce management—Microsoft has teamed up with retail IT solutions provider REPL to develop an integration between Teams and JDA’s workforce management solution. The integration enables shift schedule information to be viewed with near real-time accuracy in the Teams Shifts module. This gives Firstline Workers the ability to access and request changes to their existing shift schedules via the Teams app.
- Partner-led Teams trial—To support partners in helping customers realize the power of Teams, we are launching a new Partner-led Teams trial. This new trial will enable Microsoft 365 partners to offer their customers a free six-month trial to provision the full Teams experience for customers with Exchange Online Only or who haven’t yet moved to the cloud. The trial will be available to eligible customers through Microsoft Cloud Service Provider partners starting August 1, 2019. Read Microsoft Partner Guidance for Partner-initiated Microsoft Teams Trial for more details.