The top 4 features to be excited about in the new version of Microsoft Teams

On 12th April 2024, Microsoft retired Microsoft Teams (classic), the legacy Teams app for business as part of its ongoing development. What are the benefits of the new Microsoft Teams app for you?

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As part of Microsoft 365, Teams has become a central communications and collaboration hub for many businesses that have remotely based teams which need to work together closely from any geographic location. Figures from Microsoft suggest the free version of Microsoft Teams has 11.7 million active recipients in Europe alone (as of 31st December 2023). The changes therefore impact a considerable number of people and businesses.

Users that have Microsoft Teams as part of their Microsoft 365 subscription can simply move to the new version and enjoy the benefits. However, users that have previously used the free version have the option to switch to using the new free version of Teams, however, if you choose to do this you will have access to a different set of features than you did with Microsoft Teams Free (classic), and your data won’t be retained (including data for existing channels, chats, and recurring meetings). These users who want to keep their data and continue using Teams can upgrade to a paid Teams license. This means upgrading to either a fully featured Microsoft 365 subscription or (for a simpler and more affordable option), Microsoft Teams Essentials. 

Overall, there are considerable benefits to be enjoyed from the new Microsoft Teams app. It is designed to be faster, simpler, and more flexible, featuring a wealth of new features that will be of interest to businesses and individuals. In this blog article, we will explore these exciting new benefits and examine what they will mean to you as a Microsoft Teams user or business leader. 

Key features of the new version of Microsoft Teams 

1. Faster and more efficient 

Increased speed is a noticeable benefit. The app launches twice as fast as before and you can join meetings twice as fast too, whilst switching between chat and channels is 1.7 times faster. The new version also uses 50% less memory consumption, which quantified the performance gains with new Microsoft Teams in March 2023). 

2. Simpler to use 

The new version of Microsoft Teams is designed to require fewer clicks and be easier to operate. Actions have also been streamlined. For instance, there is less clutter for notifications, searches, and messages. Threaded conversations and interactive emojis now give a more personalised experience and expressive collaboration. 

The meetings interface has also been streamlined to simplify meetings using the Meet app, meeting stage, and presenter views. Updated notification tracking features include a 'mark all as read' feature in activity (with a similar function available in chats and channels in due course). 

Enhaned personalisation options include light or dark mode, along with improved support for users with colour sensitivity, with Windows 11 contrast themes. This enables users to select specific colour palettes based on their individual preferences and needs. Keyboard shortcuts are also easier to use for things such as navigating between list items, including the activity feed and chat threads. 

3. Smarter technology for next-generation AI 

The new version of Microsoft Teams delivers greater AI assistance. For instance, if you opt to buy a licence for Copilot in Microsoft Teams, it helps you stay organised and on top of chats, meetings, and calls (with AI-powered summaries). The Teams Intelligent Recap feature uses AI to provide a personalised summary of a meeting, including meeting notes, tasks, highlights, and timeline markers. Microsoft 365 Chat in Microsoft Teams also uses cross-app data intelligence with suggested prompts, to help you make the most of potential opportunities. 

4. Greater flexibility 

To make collaboration easier, the new version of Microsoft Teams provides seamless cross-tenant communication and collaboration across organisations with multiple tenants and multiple accounts. Side-by-side cross-tenant collaboration delivers seamless chat and meet with users inside and outside of your home tenant.  

On top of this, users can connect and collaborate with the right colleague with improved people search results across multiple tenants, whilst enhanced collaboration across organisational boundaries means users stay signed into multiple accounts simultaneously and receive real-time notifications. 

New Microsoft Teams also now has full feature parity for almost all features, including custom line-of-business (LOB) apps, third-party apps, breakout rooms, call queues, PSTN calling (to connect PBX phone lines to Teams), contextual search in chats and channels, and cross-post a channel conversation. 

For an overview of the benefits please see the Microsoft Infographics here

How new Microsoft Teams can help your business 

Rather than just being nice additions to the new version of Microsoft Teams, the new improved features translate into real-world business benefits.  

For example, better performance and usability will make it easier for your business’s people to use and rely upon Teams as a key communication and collaboration tool. Support for multi-tenant organisations (MTO) and multi-tenant, multi-account (MTMA), enables seamless cross-tenant communication and collaboration beyond organisational boundaries and across multiple tenants and accounts. This makes it easier than ever to securely collaborate and work closely with partners and customers, or indeed for divisions/companies within a larger group.  

Operationally there are also considerable benefits too. By running faster and using fewer resources, the new Teams will help to alleviate the demands on your IT resources and support team (be that in-house or outsourced). Ultimately, these enhancements will help to boost the productivity of your team and therefore your business as a whole. 

How to switch to new Microsoft Teams 

Because the older version has now ceased operating, when you log in to Microsoft Teams it will prompt you to switch to the new version automatically. You can simply toggle to the new version with minimal technical knowledge. As before, the new version of Teams is available across Windows, Mac OS, and mobile platforms. 

Further help and advice on using and making the most of Microsoft Teams 

Whilst many of the functions and features of the new Microsoft Teams are straightforward to use, as an Accredited Microsoft Partner Konica Minolta’s expert team can help your business fully utilise all its features - such as better organisation of your internal communications. You can read more about these opportunities in this further blog article.  

For further help and advice on how to make the most of Microsoft Teams and the broader Microsoft 365 suite, please visit Do more with less | KONICA MINOLTA.
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