The Hidden Magic Inside the Teams Files Tab

There’s much more than meets the eye inside the Teams Files Tab.

More and more companies are using Teams—at last count, the figure topped 200,000—but few of those we’ve worked with understand the full power of the Files Tab.

Our experience suggests that some people may not be getting the full value out of what this powerful feature offers. To be fair, that might be because the names of the some of the functions can be misleading.

One of the most frustrating aspects of office life today is gathering all the bits and pieces you need to complete a project. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find everything you need — files, graphics, videos, documents from SharePoint, OneDrive or Dropbox, even spreadsheets and presentations, all in one place? With a Teams site you can do that. Imagine having links to those files and access to all the directories you need, right at your fingertips. Microsoft Teams is the place to do it.

The “Files” tab in Microsoft Teams is your gateway to a unified workspace. It is, perhaps, one of the most underrated features in all of Office 365.

How do you access files stored outside of Teams? Click on the Files tab and select “Add Cloud Storage.” The name is a bit misleading. From there you can access any SharePoint document libraries and/or whatever external cloud storage you or your client are using. Simply pick the document library you need and a link will be added to your Teams site. None of these actions will change the source files or file structures. Everything will remain the same. Oh, and don’t worry; the system is security trimmed. File access and permissions are still controlled at the source; you’ll only be able to open files to which you’ve been granted access. Your customers and compliance officers can rest easy about the entire process.

Example: Wellington Street Consulting recently rolled out a Teams extranet for a client in the marketing business. Our client works with a lot of small, entrepreneurial companies. They needed a simple way to access documents from a wide variety of sources. Some clients had files in Google Drive, some stored logos and marketing graphics in Box, and so on. The company needed a way to access all that information from one place and share it with the client. By setting up a dedicated Teams site for each client, they were able to pull all those different things together on one place, where they could share with their clients without ever leaving the Teams interface or having to teach them the intricacies of SharePoint. Using the “Save as” function, the completed file can be saved to the client’s Google Drive — or wherever they prefer it. Both parties can still see the updated work in their preferred interface.

The Files tab simplified what was once a frustrating process to an efficient, time-saving process, increasing productivity for WSC’s client.

We’ve focused on just one aspect of Teams here. A well-crafted Teams implementation offers an unparalleled collaborative experience. Currently, users find a Skype for Business interface included in Teams. Soon, Skype for Business will be a part of Teams.

In upcoming posts, we’ll share a lot more about different aspects of Teams.  As Teams continues to evolve, we’ll keep you updated on that, too.

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