While the past 20 months have been challenging for all organizations, I don’t know any that have been hit harder than small businesses. They’ve had to adapt nearly every aspect of how they operate and work with customers, often without access to critical tools and technologies. The world isn’t going back to the “old” way of working, so small businesses need solutions that are designed specifically for their unique needs to thrive in this new normal.
Today we’re excited to introduce Microsoft Teams Essentials. It’s the first standalone offering of Microsoft Teams designed specifically with small businesses in mind. It brings together features small businesses need to serve customers, including unlimited group video calls for up to 30 hours, group chat, file sharing, and calendaring. And at only $4 USD per user per month, it’s the most affordable all-in-one solution in the market today.
Teams Essentials is built for small businesses
With Teams Essentials, small businesses from restaurants to retailers to professional services can easily meet, collaborate, communicate, and serve customers in new ways. Take Bristol Dental Specialists, a United Kingdom-based practice that began using Teams last year. From virtual consultations to collaboration with colleagues, the Bristol team delivers faster, friendlier, and more cost-effective patient care with Teams.
The need for affordable communications tools isn’t limited to traditional for-profit small businesses. Nonprofits, religious organizations, schools, and community groups also struggle to connect and collaborate effectively. These organizations and small businesses need to get up and running fast, and Teams Essentials makes it possible with no IT expertise necessary. Teams Essentials enables those with and without a Teams account to participate easily and effectively. While the free version of Microsoft Teams is still available, Teams Essentials offers extended limits like longer meetings and more storage. Let’s take a closer look at how Teams Essentials can support your needs.
Expansive meeting limits and easy-to-use features let you host professional meetings
Working closely with customers and partners can be a challenge for any business without the right communication tools. Teams Essentials brings existing Teams capabilities together with features specifically designed for small businesses and community groups:
- Extended meeting times—With meetings that can last up to 30 hours, there’s no need to worry about your Teams Essentials meeting running over its time limit, whether you’re meeting one-on-one or in a group.
- Large meeting capacity—With the ability to host up to 300 people at once, Teams Essentials offers the ability to bring everyone into the same virtual room.
- Calendar integration—In addition to integration with Outlook Calendar, the new Google Calendar integration in Microsoft Teams means you can use your existing calendaring tool to stay on top of schedules and manage your meetings. *Google Calendar integration coming soon.
- Simple, easy invitations—Inviting people to a meeting is easy. Simply add them to the Teams meeting invitation using their email address. They will receive a meeting invitation with a link to join. And if they don’t have Teams, the meeting will open directly in their browser. No sign-up, sign-in, or installation required.
- Interactive meetings—Professional meeting tools and capabilities like meeting lobby, virtual backgrounds, Together mode, live closed captions, live reactions, and more allow any organization to host engaging meetings.
With the ability to connect existing tools and store content in one place, it’s easy to stay organized
Teams Essentials simplifies communications for small businesses and community groups with a single solution for chat and meetings—saving time, and most importantly, keeping meetings and conversations in context. It includes tools to work effectively with anyone, including Office web apps, file sharing, group chats, task management, and more.
- Additional cloud storage—Don’t worry about running out of storage or wasting time searching for documents. Easily co-author, view, edit, and store Office 365 files. Teams Essentials offers a total of 10 gigabytes (GB) file storage, which is twice the amount of storage available in the free version of Teams.
- Ongoing chat—All conversations in Teams are persistent, helping you to keep the conversation going so you never lose context or continuity. The conversation doesn’t end when the meeting ends.
- Small business group chat template—Quickly start a group project and host meetings with anyone, assign tasks to teammates, and create polls to receive feedback quickly all in one hub, taking productivity to the next level. *Coming soon to desktop and web.
- Chat, meet, and collaborate with anyone—Whether you are working with someone within or outside your organization, using the Teams app or dialing in, your chat and collaboration experience is kept in one place. There’s no need to jump between app experiences when you’re working on a project with an outside company.
- Mobile chat dashboard—Just click on dashboard view in any one-on-one or group chat to conveniently access all shared content neatly organized into categories such as locations, photos, files, task lists, upcoming events, weblinks, and more. *Available for customers purchasing directly from Microsoft.
Teams Essentials offers the value and support small businesses need
Costs are top of mind for every business and community. Microsoft Teams Essentials offers the most value at the best price. And with a simplified interface that is easy to learn, it is straightforward and easy for employees to quickly be productive.
- Get the most from your technology tools—With rich communications features at the lowest cost in the market, at $4 per user per month, Teams Essentials offers outstanding value for small companies and community groups.
- Support from Microsoft—Teams Essentials is backed by Microsoft and runs in the Azure cloud. This means security, reliability, performance, and support. Microsoft is here to help with the technology you need—within your budget.
How to buy Teams Essentials
Microsoft Teams Essentials is available from a variety of Microsoft Cloud Partners including some of the most recognized names in the industry:
Customers worldwide can also purchase Teams Essentials direct from Microsoft.
Customers looking to use Microsoft Teams for personal use can get access to these same features and extended meeting limits with a Microsoft 365 Family and Microsoft 365 Personal subscription.
Microsoft is committed to providing small businesses with technologies that power their core needs. That’s why we built Teams Essentials and recently announced expanded security offerings for small and medium businesses with Microsoft Defender for Business, designed to help small businesses protect against ransomware and other cyberthreats. With Teams Essentials, we are excited to take another step in our commitment and enable small businesses to collaborate securely from virtually anywhere.[“source=microsoft”]