Computing has taken many exciting twists and turns, overhauling the industry each time. Yet, the trajectory the tech industry took this year was quite unexpected. The global health crisis has forced many people to barricade themselves in their homes and work from home, which has led to an increase in remote collaboration through tools such as Zoom. Microsoft Teams is making an obvious play for that traffic, adding more workforce apps and power tools for use during meetings.
More Apps in Microsoft Teams
This week Microsoft added apps and power tools for use with Teams. It has also added the data-management platform, “Project Oakdale,” renaming it “Microsoft Dataverse.” This makes it possible for the software to expand beyond collaboration and move toward being a centralized location for work.
This is where you can tell that Microsoft truly wants to increase its users. It already had 700 apps in the Teams Apps Store. 700. But that wasn’t enough, so now they’ve added 20 more.
Adding Asana was a natural, as of course a collaboration software could be improved by adding access to an app that manage’s a team’s projects and tasks. Learning that Microsoft Forms was added makes you question why it wasn’t there before. SurveyMonkey, of course, makes sense too.
But some of the other app names added at first glance seem like they were scraping the bottom of the barrel. They are just not well-known slam dunks like Asana. The names include Buncee, Monday.com, Pigeonhole, and Talview Inc. A Google search turns up information, though, that shows just why they were added to a collaboration software.
Microsoft is also adding the Power Platform app. This provides tools to build and use apps, chatbots, and workflows to use within Microsoft Teams. It’s a studio to more or less allow you to build your own workspace. The Power Automate app is a workflow designer that allows you to automate routine tasks. The Power Virtual Agents app lets you create and use low-code bots.
Competition for Collaboration
Of course, collaborating via the Internet was always big business, but it’s grown exponentially in 2020. “Zoom” has become part of daily life and pop culture just as “Google” has. And Zoom has a lock on more than just business meetings. It’s being used by family and friends to keep in touch while social distancing and also being used by elementary and high school students to learn remotely.
Microsoft Teams is clearly not trying to tap into that demographic. With the tools that they have added, they’re competing for the business users. They know what they’re doing, having added 115 million daily active users in the past six months, an increase of 50 percent. It will be interesting to see if fellow collaboration apps, such as Slack, move in to grab some of that business back.
Read on to learn what happened early on in the health crisis when the excessive demand caused Microsoft Teams to go down for two hours.