Sharepoint and MS Teams


What is a SharePoint team site?

Before we dive into Microsoft Teams, we need to set a few things straight. To embrace the modern workplace, you're going to have to go from classic to modern SharePoint. And to go modern, you're going to need to go flat.

That's because Microsoft Teams only works with top-level sites. If you already have SharePoint established and your infrastructure includes a lot of subsites, those subsites won't work with Teams. There is a way to logically restructure—with hub sites—but that happens on the SharePoint side of things.

The modern SharePoint Online experience offers two templates to create a new site. Depending on the site's intended purpose, you can choose to create either a:

  • Team site. Focused on collaboration and backed by Office 365 Groups, team sites are generally organized by department or project, and bring together a group of people working together towards a common end goal.
  • Communication site. Focused on broadcasting information to a wider audience, communication sites might be used to share information with an entire organization.

"A SharePoint Online team site is essentially an online workspace where you can go to collaborate within your organization," Michal Pisarek tells ShareGate. "Instead of having your documents stored in file shares and email conversations, SharePoint lets you consolidate everything in one secure online place."

Aside from allowing you to store and collaborate on documents, SharePoint team sites also include some advanced capabilities to manage your content, such as allowing you to create and organize lists of information.

Microsoft Teams vs SharePoint

So if SharePoint's gift is in managing your documents (as Microsoft MVP Sue Hanley told us), then how does Microsoft Teams fit into all of this?

Teams is:

  • A chat tool, first and foremost.
  • A hub of productivity, representing a new way of collaborating.

Teams is not:

  • A place to store files. The files you see stored in the Files tab aren't stored there. It's showing your team's files that are stored on your team's team site in SharePoint.

To be clear, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are two completely different platforms with different capabilities and uses—so to compare the two isn't really accurate. It is, however, important to understand how the two integrate with one another.

File storage in Teams

When people deploy Teams, there's a lot of confusion about where they should be working on files and where they're stored because they see the File tab within Teams.

Good to know:

  • Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are united by an Office 365 Group
  • Every time you create a new team in Teams, you're also creating a new Office 365 Group, Calendar, Planner, and SharePoint team site
  • For every channel you create in Teams, a folder within a SharePoint document library is automatically created for you
  • When you click on the Files tab within a channel in Teams, the files you see are stored in a document library on a SharePoint team site

I think the biggest misconception people have is that Teams does everything itself—all the file storage, and if you're using videos it does all the video storage, and all that sort of stuff. A lot of organizations think they can roll out Teams without rolling out SharePoint, and that's obviously not the case.

Pisarek says he has even come across companies that want to roll out Teams because they hate SharePoint. At which point he has to explain that if you don't have SharePoint Online enabled, Teams users won't always be able to share files within the app. (Except if you're using one-on-one chat—in which case you're actually using OneDrive for Business, so you'll need to have that enabled.)

More than a standalone app

But Pisarek says you shouldn't let users get too tripped up by where things are stored.

"If an organization is deploying Teams, I would encourage your users to use Teams as that main entry point into the rest of Office 365. You don't really need to tell your users where that stuff is stored, they don't really care. I think as long as they can get access to their documents—and they can through Teams—then I think they're really happy."

For people that aren't super technical, Office 365 can be confusing to work with. In the past, users had to navigate between multiple apps with different, sometimes overlapping, capabilities. Now, Teams helps stitch everything together. Remember: it's a chat tool, but it also functions as a collaboration hub.

According to Pisarek, the real power of Teams is that it simplifies the whole experience for people working with Office 365.

I like to think of Teams as a window on the world. It shows you everything—not just SharePoint Online, but all of the Office 365 apps—in a single pane of glass.

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Article ID: 450
Tue 6/9/20 3:40 PM
Mon 7/25/22 2:09 PM