A celebration of collaboration is happening on Microsoft Teams and it is changing the game. In cross-functional working groups, project-specific task forces, Agile Scrum teams… Everyone benefits from shifting their interactions, information sharing, and document management to the Teams workhorse.
A Microsoft Teams channel has transient communication features and the full power of SharePoint records management. It does a great job of keeping relevant materials easily accessible and notifying team members of any updates or posts. However, it can have some blind spots. Although your internal collaboration may all happen in Teams, your projects and initiatives don’t exist in a vacuum and you could be missing out on a pivotal ingredient. Namely: did you remember to invite emails to the party?
Third-party vendors, customers, strategic partners, distributors, and/or external consultants are important pieces of the puzzle operating outside your organization and beyond your Microsoft Teams channels. Their updates on timelines, deliverables, costs, and requirements changes are essential pieces of new information your colleagues need, but the bulk of those communications happen via email and get excluded from the Teams festivities.
When your project is humming along, its dedicated Teams channel is the hub for all that activity. Important updates get posted and commented upon, new files are shared, and whiteboards get scribbled on, keeping everyone aligned and informed.
What doesn’t get included in Teams, however, was that back-and-forth email exchange with external legal counsel about contract provisions. Nor the thread with a supplier that included key schematic details. And not the email that had the special handling instructions that wouldn’t fit on the customer’s purchase order PDF.
Email exchanges—and their attachments—provide unrivaled detail and context needed for efficient and accurate collaboration. They may even signal the need to suddenly shift resources, adjust scope, or escalate to senior management. But that knowledge remains trapped in someone’s Outlook inbox instead of getting shared with colleagues.
Maybe the emails get forwarded, or perhaps the recipient provides a summary in a detailed post to the channel, but more often than not that information transfer doesn’t occur. This creates an incomplete and fractured view of the situation, which was exactly what you were trying to avoid by using Teams in the first place!
There is another option, however—sharing those important emails to the Teams channel and ensuring everyone stays in the loop. When collaborators share relevant emails to Teams as soon as they receive them, information sharing occurs nearly instantaneously. Information gaps shrink, deadlines aren’t missed, and everyone is operating with the same facts and resources.
There’s also now a consolidated historical record of those emails posted to the channel in near real-time. This creates accountability and makes it easier to fact-find and determine root causes during after-action analyses when needed. It might even help the organization protect itself legally during contract disputes, preserving relevant correspondence on Teams.
Microsoft Teams supports adding emails to channels out of the box, but it lacks many valuable features and requires a more tedious and disruptive workflow.
Read our next blog post in this series to understand what you are missing when not using harmon.ie, and what you gain when you do.
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