En Garde, Slack: Microsoft Groups Is Lastly Right here

Microsoft has introduced basic availability for its chat-based collaboration app.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is now obtainable for Office 365 customers.

The online collaboration app had been obtainable to Workplace 365 Enterprise prospects in preview mode since November 2016. Now, Enterprise Necessities, Enterprise Premium, Enterprise E1, E3, and E5 plan customers can activate the app at no added worth.

Groups is similar to the favored chat-based Slack utility. Each instruments allow companies and basic shoppers to talk in teams or one-on-one and ship recordsdata, both on a desktop or by way of a smartphone. Nonetheless, Groups advantages from its connection to Microsoft’s huge ecosystem of productiveness instruments.

Microsoft Teams Channel

With Groups, customers can entry Microsoft Phrase, Excel, PowerPoint, Conferences, Notes, Planner, SharePoint, and OneNote, amongst different functions, with out having to depart the collaboration app. They’ll collaborate remotely by way of the cloud inside Groups to create, edit, or view any Microsoft utility, a function that is not obtainable in Slack on any doc platform (Google, Zoho, and so forth.).

Moreover, Groups connects to greater than 150 third-party enterprise instruments, corresponding to Zendesk, Asana, and HootSuite, from instantly inside the Groups app. This implies Groups customers can reply customer support requests, delegate duties to exterior consultants, and submit to social media, all with out ever leaving the Groups utility.

Synthetic Intelligence (AI)

Groups depends closely on AI to increase upon the experiences you’d discover in precedent instruments like Slack and Atlassian HipChat. Groups integrates with PollyBot to assist you to take polls inside a channel. So, in the event you’re making an attempt to determine the place to have the corporate vacation occasion, you may checklist three eating places and have your crew vote on which one they’d desire.

Microsoft Teams Threads

T-Bot lets you question the Groups software with the intention to entry automated solutions concerning the Groups utility. Ask the software methods to create memes or GIFs, and the bot surfaces content material that can assist you carry out an motion.

WhoBot sits on the Microsoft graph and pulls in Lively Listing information that can assist you uncover or be taught extra about individuals inside your group. For those who ask WhoBot a query about an individual, or in the event you ask a few particular topic, the bot will floor the individual for whom you are wanting, or material specialists in your group who will help you discover extra data. WhoBot is just not obtainable at launch however shall be rolled out inside the system within the coming months, in accordance with Microsoft.

The Groups Origin Story

Microsoft reportedly thought of paying $eight billion to amass Slack in early 2016. The acquisition was shot down by former Microsoft CEO Invoice Gates and present Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, each of whom felt the cash can be higher invested turning Skype into one thing extra alongside the traces of what Groups would in the end grow to be, in accordance with experiences.

As of late 2016, Slack had an estimated 4 million daily users, 1.25 million of whom pay for the software program. In comparison with the 85 million energetic Microsoft Workplace 365 customers (at the very least a few of whom will in all probability change to Groups from Slack), Slack could have bother preserving its buyer base, by no means thoughts remaining the dominant participant within the area.

When Groups was first introduced, Slack printed a full-page ad in The New York Occasions to declare that the corporate would stay aggressive even after the Groups launch on account of its innovation, third-party integrations, and top-notch customer support.