Microsoft Teams users can now access newsfeed updates on Meta Workplace’s corporate social network without switching screens, thanks to a new integration announced by the two companies on Wednesday. And plans are also in the works to enable streaming Teams video calls directly from Workplace.
The integrations are the first between Microsoft’s workflow collaboration tool and Workplace, which has more than 7 million paid subscribers. (Workplace integrations already exist with Office 365 apps, including Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive, with support for Teams on the Meta portal video device (formerly Facebook) scheduled for next month.)
The new additions provide two functions. First, a Workplace for Teams app can be added to the Teams side navigation bar or added as a tab to provide access to the Workplace newsfeed within the app. Workplace content can be marked as “important” by Teams administrators to draw users’ attention to certain information. Individual users will also be able to pull content from a Workplace group into a Teams channel to highlight it to colleagues, as well as react to Workplace posts directly from Teams.
The video integration, scheduled for early 2022, will allow users to view a Teams video call from Workplace and comment in real time. Presenters in Teams will be able to track view engagement and reactions in both apps at the same time.
Although the two companies compete in various ways (Microsoft’s Viva Connections also provides social networking features, for example, and both competing visions recently unveiled for immersive collaboration) Wednesday’s move is a recognition that many customers are now relying on a range of tools to support employee collaboration.
The integration with Teams “will make it easier for people who use both tools for work to keep up to date with information and create even more opportunities for company-wide engagement,” said Ujjwal Singh, product manager at Workplace.
Singh, who said earlier this year that a Teams integration was in progress, he indicated to joint customers who have already tried the integrations, Vodafone and Flight Center.
In a statement, Jeff Teper, Microsoft Teams’ CVP for Product and Engineering, said it “made sense for us to join together to help our mutual customers unlock collaboration and break down silos within their organizations.”
The integrations should be of particular benefit to Workplace customers who see the app as their central communication solution for employees but use Teams for day-to-day productivity, said Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insight. This is common in large organizations where communications and HR teams rely on Workplace, while IT is responsible for Teams as a collaboration and productivity platform, he said.
With this in mind, integrations make a lot of sense for Meta as they help transfer information from Workplace to the users where they tend to spend most of their time. “By emerging the newsfeed in Teams, Workplace can continue to reach those employees, while allowing communications and human resources managers to maintain control over the strategy of the communication and employee engagement platform,” he said.
Ashenden noted, however, that while integrations help connect the two platforms, Teams and Workplace users still face challenges, particularly due to the overlap between their respective chat functions, Teams Chat, and Workplace Chat, which they can create. confusion for employees.
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.