Does Microsoft Teams Replace your Company Intranet?

Max McNamara

An experienced consultant in the Modern Workplace, Max focuses on helping our customers through their digital transformation journeys. As a leader at Antares, Max works with our internal teams and customers to deploy technology solutions to solve unique business problems. Max specialises in the Microsoft Modern Workplace and Applications technology stack that includes SharePoint, Teams, the Power Platform, O365, Bots & AI, Nintex, Promapp and the AvePoint suite. Max has worked across a wide range of industries with customers from 50 – 18,000 staff.

May 7th, 2020

Microsoft Teams is a flexible, real-time collaborative platform that has been enthusiastically adopted by organisations worldwide to enhance workplace teamwork and collaboration. The app can be accessed anywhere, anytime, from any device and boasts an ever-growing list of impressive features – from private chat functionality and seamless file sharing, to native integration with a number of widely used business apps like Trello and Github.

While Microsoft Teams can boost workplace collaboration in many ways – it is not an effective substitute for your company intranet. The app has been specifically designed for use as part of a suite of collaboration and productivity tools, to work alongside and complement your SharePoint Intranet. When it comes to the Classic Vs Modern SharePoint debate – Teams integrates with both platforms, but in Microsoft Modern Workplace, works faster, has a simpler permission model, comes with pre-populated news and is optimised for mobile.

While many organisations are considering using Teams as a replacement for their intranet – the app simply doesn’t have the capability to perform this function effectively.

So, what is the difference?

Though Microsoft Teams appears to have many of the same features as an intranet and they both work to improve communications – they are actually very different. The key distinction lies in their specific purpose.

Modern SharePoint is built to be your company’s central source of information – the single platform where all employees go to access important company information, news and departmental topics as well as find, create and collaborate on shared documents, sites, forms, files and workflows.

By contrast, Microsoft Teams is a platform to facilitate secure, instant communication between specific departments and project teams, make minor announcements and enable collaboration between groups. By investing in Microsoft Teams, organisations do not have to rely on external platforms to communicate, where security is not ensured or controlled.

Rather than replacing your intranet, Microsoft Teams solutions work best when integrated with SharePoint to offer a further layer of collaboration and communication, and improve the overall productivity of your organisation.

3 Reasons why Microsoft Teams is not an effective replacement for your Intranet

  1. Not a publishing platform – While Teams has many features in common with SharePoint, one of the biggest distinctions is that it cannot be used to publish content e.g. blogs and articles, or share company-wide news and announcements in an efficient, quick or controlled manner.
  2. Poor file storage and organisation – Microsoft Teams is simply not designed for document storage – if you used it for this purpose, you’d be left with a clunky, slow, folder-filled file structure that is difficult for employees to navigate. While sharing and receiving feedback on documents can be done in Teams – these documents are best stored in SharePoint, which has specifically designed organisational and access capabilities.
  3. Limited monitoring capability- The ability of administrators to have full visibility over all team activities, and track their progress, is crucial to a successfully working intranet. In Teams, while you can keep on top of smaller projects efficiently, you are not able to monitor content effectively from a holistic, governance point of view.

Better together

We have clearly established that Teams is not and should not be used as an intranet – it is instead, a valuable tool designed by Microsoft to enhance and work together with it. When integrated with SharePoint, each Microsoft Team is paired with a Modern SharePoint team site, and all the files corresponding to it are contained within the site’s document library.

Documents stored in SharePoint are easily searchable, accessible and are protected by strict data governance. Users don’t have to leave the Teams platform to work on them (all documents show up in the “Files” tab). They can even have instant conversations with other team members about a specific document, without leaving that document themselves. In the short term, this makes collaboration faster and easier and in turn, accelerates group project timelines. In the long term, it can have a significant impact on efficiency and overall organisational productivity.

To learn more about how you can integrate Microsoft Teams solutions and Modern SharePoint effectively for your organisation, or find out about the capabilities of Sharepoint Intranet services and solutions, get in touch with one of our SharePoint experts today. As an Australian-based team of certified SharePoint consultants with over 10 years of experience, we are ready to help.

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