I have often said that one of the coolest things about Office 365 is the fact that Microsoft is constantly adding new applications, and adding new features to existing applications. Recently, Microsoft announced another new addition to the Office 365 Suite: Teams.
Teams is a collaboration application that seems to be aimed at competing with Slack. Of course this raises the question of how many collaboration tools Microsoft really needs. After all, SharePoint, Yammer, Skype for Business, and some of the other Office 365 applications are all designed for collaboration. I imagine that Microsoft’s vast array of collaboration apps must seem at least a little bit overwhelming to those who are new to Office 365.
So why so many collaboration applications? Well, I don’t think that there is necessarily a simple answer to the question. In fact, I think that there are three separate trends that are driving Microsoft to over bless its customers with collaboration tools.
First, there is the simple fact that no two people work in exactly the same way. Not only are people different from one another, but their job requirements also tend to vary. Microsoft is therefore giving its customers a suite of tools so that users can pick and choose the tools that make sense for their own particular situation.
The second thing that I think that Microsoft is trying to do is to remain competitive. Microsoft obviously sees large numbers of people using Slack, and would like to win some of those people over to Office 365.
The third trend is that of ongoing innovation. Ever since Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft’s CEO, the company has become much friendlier toward innovation (which I view as a really great thing). If Microsoft really is making a conscious effort to innovate like crazy, then it stands to reason that they are going to be creating a lot of software.
It also stands to reason that some of the new software that Microsoft creates is going to be fantastic, while other applications are probably going to flop. I’m not trying to bash Microsoft when I say that. The same would hold true for any company that is truly trying to be innovative. That’s the thing about innovation — you try things. Sometimes the things that you try work out really well, and sometimes they don’t. Either way, you keep on innovating.
Of course, Microsoft’s customers tend to be very vocal about telling the company what works, and what does not work. As such, part of the ongoing innovation trend that I cited is inevitably going to be the retirement or merger of Office 365 applications that aren’t quite getting the job done for Microsoft’s customers. We have already seen this to some extent with regard to the Office 365 groups feature, which borrows heavily from Exchange and SharePoint.
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