Better Together? Microsoft Teams and Soundbite

Since its introduction in 2017, Microsoft Teams has quickly become the go-to communications and collaboration solution for hundreds of millions of people. And with Microsoft Viva, is Microsoft Teams poised to be the winner for internal communications?

With Teams now becoming the hub for Microsoft tools SharePoint and Yammer as well. Many organizations are starting to think YES.

Now with Viva, Teams is being thrown into the mix as a tool for internal communication (“Since so many employees are already in there, why not just make communications another team with different channels?” is a common question).

With Soundbite and Microsoft Teams you can indeed use teams for internal communications. Soundbite helps Microsoft Teams overcome clear weaknesses that result in significantly reduced effectiveness when used for internal communications — especially in larger and more complex organizations of more than 1,000 employees or with employees who aren’t regularly working at their desks. 

For this reason, the world’s leading technology analysts are starting to change their tune on Microsoft Teams for managing an internal communications strategy throughout the entire company. 

The reasoning behind this assessment is based on Microsoft’s continued investment in Microsoft Teams and Viva, the broad adoption of Teams, and partner technologies like Soundbite that help companies adopt Microsoft Teams for Internal Communications.

Evaluations of technology platforms are often subjective and greatly depend on the intended uses that they examine. Microsoft Teams as a collaboration platform has revolutionized collaboration in companies and is a true email alternative. This article will focuses on its use as a company-wide communication platform and compelling alternative to email with partnership and sharing Soundbites. 

Let’s start with the most important requirements for a modern communication platform.

Critical Requirements for Internal Communication

Effective digital employee communication involves creating and sharing Microcontent and news in more than one article or post. Many current intranets suffer from a lack of reach and relevance because attaining these goals simply isn’t that easy. Simply Creating Once, and Engaging Anywhere is just not that simple. Most folks have answered this by sending too many emails.

The top communication challenges are also outlined in the most comprehensive internal communications study available, the “Gallagher State of the Sector Report.”

What are the main barriers to internal communication being a success?

As we can see, the two main challenges are 

1) an excess of information that overwhelms employees and 

2) the difficulty of getting information to hard-to-reach workers, especially those who aren’t always sitting at a desk. 

Based on these challenges and our practical experience with more than 500 large companies, we’ve distinguished five requirement areas that can be examined concerning the available functionality of Teams: 

  • Accessibility: How easy it is for employees to get initial access to the communication platform and to maintain it for regular use. This is especially true for access from personal devices and mobile phones. 
  • Relevance: How relevant is the content that the user sees? How easy is it to use and is training required? How relevant or “annoying” are the notifications?
  • Personalization and Clarity: How is content personalized and how can users subscribe to it, and who is allowed to create structures? How can particularly important moments (e.g. onboarding) be made special and individual? 
  • Added Value: The greater the relevance of a platform’s content, the better and more sustainable communication via this channel will be. How well is communication content linked to other sources of information, such as a the intranet, Cafeteria Menu, Employee Directory, Holiday Overview, Shift Schedule, FAQ pages, Surveys, etc.?
  • Content Creation and Management: How well is the important work of content creators supported? How convenient is the content management system? How do analysis tools help to further improve the platform?

How Does Teams Meet the Top IC Requirements?

Accessibility

Teams offer a mobile app in addition to its desktop version. As a cloud application, Teams is usually also available outside the company network and can be used on private devices. Teams and Soundbite provide a highly accessible internal communications solution that lets employees engage how they want to.

Relevance

Teams has real strengths in collaboration, more users around the world use Teams than all other platforms combined. That is a LOT of users. In the past, Yammer was seen as a leader in this area, but here Teams has prevailed. So when you think of where your users get work done, Teams is in its element. 

Soundbite Feeds cut through the noise of Teams and show the most important information summarized on the start page or tab app. Splitting and curating the feed into individual sections allows maximum relevance and reach for important content without losing sight of collaborative content.

In addition, Soundbite overcomes other weaknesses and offers limitless possibilities for content creators to manage push messages in a targeted manner to SharePoint, SMS, Yammer, and any other business applications. Push messages for mobile phones are a very important and effective tool for increased reach. On average, the news is read 3x more often when sent via “push.” However, push messages can also quickly become annoying. This is especially true for a company app that’s only a “guest” on a private device. Soundbite helps mature and technically skilled users will self-regulate push messages. Soundbites are targeted and clear, they help reach small and broad groups of users such as “All Employees.” Advanced notification settings don’t exist in Teams but they do in Soundbite making Teams a viable solution.

Personalization and Clarity

Microsoft Teams and Soundbite offer good opportunities for personalization. Users can either actively join communities or can be passively managed via dynamic groups based on Azure Active Directory attributes. Each user can easily create a new team and actively add other users. What is positive for its use case as a decentralized teamwork platform also makes Microsoft Teams great for internal communication when utilized as a company-wide platform. Departmental Channels and Microsoft Viva plus other tools like Soundbite truly enable a create once, engage anywhere experience.

Content Creation and Management

Soundbite allows for the scheduled publication of content. Scheduled publication times are often very important for structuring internal communication in large organizations and it facilitates the coordination of sometimes diverse individual activities. The sharing of important information needs to be timed to the minute so that internal news appears BEFORE the external press release. 

Content authors are always very centrally visible in Teams. In the social feed, this is completely fine, but with important news that can’t always be written in the first person so publishing “on behalf” of someone with Soundbite comes to the rescue. You can also formulate teaser text with Soundbite, meaning that the beginning of an article appears in the feed. Soundbite also makes it possible to engage with content directly within the Teams app.

Soundbite makes it possible to evaluate the usage of individual target groups, making it impossible to ask questions such as, “How good is the reach of our corporate updates in each of our ten production locations?”

Conclusion: Microsoft Teams with Soundbite for Internal Communication Is Ready for Prime Time

Microsoft Teams is revolutionizing digital collaboration in the enterprise and will be the undisputed center of the Office 365 world for the next few years. With Soundbite, custom branding, great clarity, simplified navigation, the ability to curate important content, and very limited response options, Microsoft Teams for internal communication is now a structured comms platform and will soon serve as an intranet for many companies.