For many, SharePoint was the best thing since sliced bread for so long that it became stale, so often an answer without a problem. Then Teams along came to confuse Microsoft’s collaboration story still further before it was rescued by Lockdown. Alongside Zoom, Teams was the video-conferencing tool of choice for many businesses and suddenly its other virtues came into sharp relief. Its simple, fresh-looking interface is backed up with the power of SharePoint but cleverly avoids the need to dive into a myriad of libraries, settings and lists that can beset the best of intentions with the latter.
At 3Kites, we have recent experience of moving from Azure-based file shares to Teams over 2020’s Lockdown summer. Our new workspaces, made up of teams (libraries), channels and folders, allow us to present client documents alongside related chat threads, video recordings (eg from calls) and other related materials. It provides us with options for versioning, simultaneous editing, powerful search and client access without the need for add-on products, whilst the separation of libraries helps with access control. There are shortcomings here as with all IT tools (eg emails cannot be dragged into Teams natively) but the ubiquitous nature of the beast means that work-rounds are often just a Google search away… and most functionality is available on phones and other mobile devices too.
For small law firms, in-house legal teams or accountancy practices currently operating without document management, Teams is worthy of consideration not least as it is included with Microsoft’s E3 Office licensing so may already be available to your business at no extra cost. However, make sure that any such implementation is planned carefully (and centrally) to avoid a proliferation of un-coordinated libraries and channels which may breed confusion and duplication. In our experience, so much that is good about Teams comes from providing users with a clear and concise structure to work with. Finally, it is important to note that some suppliers provide full document, team and channel management (along with integration to other data sources) on top of Teams for those wanting more functionality, whilst established suppliers such as iManage and NetDocuments continue to lead the way with proprietary document management for larger organisations including Teams integration.