For many years, SharePoint was the leading method of communication and collaboration within the Microsoft ecosystem. However, there’s a reason why many companies never experienced complete SharePoint adoption. Microsoft has acknowledged an organizational information overload within SharePoint: an overload that often makes it difficult for employees to manage and prioritize the information delivered.
To combat this issue, companies are now able to combine their SharePoint team sites and Microsoft Teams. With this pairing, companies can both optimize and simplify their collaborative strategies.
Microsoft Teams is designed to consolidate every aspect of collaboration, not just document management and sharing. Through Microsoft Teams groups, employees are able to share documents, hold large meetings and seminars, instantly message each other, schedule appointments within an Office 365 group, and initiate both audio and video calls. Microsoft Teams is a complete portal for employee communication, and it’s integrated into nearly every part of the existing Microsoft landscape.
SharePoint team sites provide a collaboration space within SharePoint where a group can work together on a project. Rather than having to track a single, large SharePoint database, employees are able to track the teams that they’re working with. Through teams, data and access can be controlled, and employees can more readily find the information that is applicable to them.
Microsoft Teams vs SharePoint Team Sites: What’s the Difference?
Microsoft Teams is a central hub for communication. In the Microsoft Teams channels, you can connect with your team members, send them messages, and refer back to your old message logs. Meanwhile, SharePoint teams is a hub for document and data sharing, which is integrated with – and is accessed from Microsoft Teams.
Here are a few of the core differences between these platforms:
- Employees are able to contribute to a SharePoint Teams site even through a web browser alone, and guest access can be provided as needed to view documents on the SharePoint sites, even without group membership. This accelerates business processes by making communication more accessible.
- New SharePoint Teams sites can be created for each individual project that a group is working on. Microsoft Teams consolidates its chat-based messages into specific teams. This allows for SharePoint Teams to achieve a more granular level of information distribution.
- Both Microsoft Teams and SharePoint can be integrated with Planner, Calendar, and Document libraries, for a superior array of collaboration tools. Within Microsoft Teams, you can even have apps that connect to SharePoint.
- SharePoint pages and news articles can be added to Microsoft Office Teams, but not vice versa. Essentially, Microsoft Teams is still the first point-of-contact and dashboard solution for most employee communication, but SharePoint provides additional, important features.
When used together, SharePoint’s robust document management system is able to seamlessly integrate with the Microsoft Teams environment, creating a complete collaboration solution. Create a team, share files, and collaborate seamlessly even between multiple offices and departments.
Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Management Tips
Since both Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are robust and complex solutions, they can feel overwhelming to implement. Here are a few important tips for deploying and maintaining a Microsoft Teams and SharePoint installation.
- Have an adoption plan in place. Between Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, most employee communication, collaboration, document management, and even project management will be covered. Investigate the core solutions within Microsoft Teams (such as MS Planner and MS Calendar integration), and assess how your existing processes and data will be transitioned to the new solutions. You don’t want to create a team for every small project; instead, figure out how projects will break down into larger groups.
- Pilot group for testing. Make sure that there’s a group of individuals willing to test the new solutions, so that any issues can be worked out before a widespread deployment. A pilot group will be able to point out issues with the test deployment, such as difficulties existing employees might have. As you transition your document library, testing will be needed to ensure that the files have remained valid.
- Training. Training will need to be completed before the solutions are implemented and will need to continue afterwards, with refresher courses and help. Luckily, as part of the Microsoft ecosystem, both Teams and SharePoint tend to be straight forward and intuitive to most employees. If employees are already familiar with their SharePoint site collection, the transition should be easy.
- Keep up with best practices. Learn the best practices for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, such as having controls over how new teams and new projects are created (to avoid overly inundating employees with content that they need to follow).
Overall, Teams and SharePoint are easy to use, but may take some work during deployment. Deploying these solutions will be the most challenging and arguably most important stage for their future use.
Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are both powerful solutions, and they work even better together. But if people are not trained on when and how to use the tools, it could be disastrous. Users may duplicate their efforts and lose motivation, or find themselves confused and frustrated at the new environment.
Watch this on-demand webinar to get a better understanding of how to manage your organization’s Microsoft Teams platform, “Gaining Control Over Microsoft Teams Enterprise Management.”