The pandemic has caused a huge transition in the way we work. Where video conferencing used to be once in a while, it’s now an everyday occurrence for many Wisconsin businesses.
This shift to remote teams, hybrid offices, and virtual meetings has meant that digital team communication tools have become a much-needed resource.
This is evidenced by looking at the growth of Microsoft Teams over the pandemic. In March of 2020, the application had 32 million daily active users (DAU), and by April of 2021, that number had jumped to 145 million.
At the same time that virtual communications were becoming popular, Microsoft was also trying to get more adoption for Teams. It recently ended Skype for Business and has been working to convert users to MS Teams.
A free version of Microsoft Teams that allowed video conferencing was launched in 2020. This joined the only other version of Teams companies could get, which required a Microsoft 365 business subscription.
Now, yet another version of MS Teams has been released called Microsoft Teams Essentials.
What is Microsoft Teams Essentials?
Microsoft Teams Essentials is designed to fill a gap that has been encountered by small businesses. Some may not have it in their budget to purchase an entire Microsoft 365 subscription for their team, but they find the free version of Teams limiting.
This new plan provides more features than that free version of Teams, but not quite as many as the version that comes with a Microsoft 365 subscription.
Why Is Teams Popular Anyway?
Microsoft has been working to make MS Teams the most-used video conferencing and team communication tool in the world.
It currently only trails Zoom for that honor and is only a few percentage points behind. Zoom currently has 37.3% of the global market share, with MS Teams having 34.7%.
Microsoft has been pouring a lot of features into Teams to reach its goal, including adding webinar registration capabilities, special presenter modes, and things like automatic transcription and translation.
Teams also can do more than some other tools out there. For example, it incorporates channeled messaging, video and audio conferencing, file sharing, co-authoring, and integration with MS apps and many third-party applications.
You can even add links as tabs inside Teams and launch a website without leaving the platform.
MS Teams Essentials vs MS Teams Free
Here are some of the advantages that small businesses get with a Microsoft Teams Essential plan, which is currently $4 per user, per month.
Up to 300 Participants per Meeting
With the free version of Teams, you’re limited to 100 participants per meeting. Teams Essentials triples that capacity. You can have up to 300 participants in a meeting at one time.
This is especially helpful if you’re hosting a large webinar or product launch event where you don’t want to limit the number of potential leads that could join your Teams meeting.
Unlimited Group Meetings for up to 30 hours
One big limitation of the MS Teams free version is that group meetings can only last for up to 60 minutes. This could cut an important client meeting short or make it difficult to meet with your team for a detailed discussion on a new project.
With MS Teams Essentials, that time limit increases to 30 hours (longer than many would ever dream of needing for a meeting). This is perhaps one of the most important considerations when choosing to upgrade from Teams Free to Teams Essentials.
This expansion to 30 times the meeting length capability, ensures that you’re not going to have to wrap a meeting before you’re ready or limit your client if they are asking questions during a demo that is stretching beyond one hour.
Double the Cloud Storage Space per User
Microsoft Teams allows you to share and store files on the platform. For example, your sales team could store a sheet of product pitches and a price list on a file tab that everyone can access from inside the Sales Team’s channel in the app.
The free version of Teams gives each user 5 GB of cloud storage space. This can quickly be used up if you use Teams to its fullest to make shared files easily accessible to staff.
Teams Essentials doubles that storage capacity, providing each user with 10 GB of storage space with their account.
When people collaborate through file sharing, each person saves an average of 100 minutes per week
Anytime Phone & Web Support
Another important feature that you get with Teams Essentials that you don’t have with the free version is anytime phone and web support. This allows you and your employees to get help when needed from a live person, rather than having to spend valuable time searching through an FAQ.
Learn More About Teams Essentials & Microsoft 365
Quantum PC Services can help your Sturgeon Bay business understand the different options that Microsoft offers for team communications, video conferencing, business email, and more.
Contact us today to learn more! Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.