If you have been keeping up with the Microsoft Teams platform [MST] and you have a history with adopting such a wide-reaching platform in the past, you may be having moments of anxiety embracing all the new capabilities. You remember what it meant to your organization years later when you needed to clean it up. You may be experiencing fears of license lock-in, infrastructure sprawl, and non-interoperable application.
MST, however, has not only expanded the capabilities, enhanced security, and data governance, but there is an important standards-based, modern architecture that’s core to the platform. This allows the collection of innovations MST is built on to exploit the immediately expected ROI (Meetings, phone calls, document collaboration, etc.) on the cloud-based service and find much more value by adding in lightweight app development while avoiding ‘sins of the past’.
First, you do not have to go at it alone! Involve an IT Enterprise Architect, application, or data expert before you dive headlong into risky territories! (And you, the IT experts, need to prepare to facilitate the success of the citizen developers looking for a rapid start.) I tend to draw the line for citizen developers at the point where code gets written; drag ‘n’ drop visual editors are frequently pretty safe to venture into except when touching data that is considered PII or NPI. Be mindful of who can or needs to be able to see the data and talk to an expert when in doubt. Try to keep copies of data to a minimum, which creates one more mess to clean up later, use the data where it sits. Now sit back and think about what you’re trying to accomplish and you’ll be able to dig into everything from new dashboards, to process design, to data-driven models and even ties into AI services. The major ways of getting started have been put together well and often start on the Canvas.
Having your daily technology needs within a single pane of glass is an idea that has been around for a long time. For that to be possible, we need to think about the ways we collaborate with others, as many of today’s business processes are like a relay race and have many hand-offs across disciplines. Integrating MST with business systems has never been more useful. Tying handoffs to MST messaging, notifications, and documents allows you to enhance productivity by reducing hand-offs between tasks; win-win for you and your customers. Always apply a sanity check, however, before jumping into heavy lifting; if it requires code to tie things together and you are not a professional developer, now is the time to find that IT partner to confer with. Developers can integrate into just about every aspect of the MST experience!
There has been a continuing flurry of announcements from Microsoft about Teams, Power Platform (Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate), M365, and the 3rd party ecosystems. I’ll go a bit geek on you now with a shortlist of the myriad of capabilities that you and your IT partner can brainstorm where the best starting point to harvest value might be for you: bots, robotic process automation, dashboards & data insights, actions via message integration, social integration, external federation, deep API integration, Webhooks into channels, and so on.