SharePoint Web Parts
& Office 365 Apps
by VirtoSoftware

Top 15 Applications in Microsoft Teams. 15 Best MS Teams Apps.

Microsoft Teams is an extensive communication platform that offers a variety of useful functions from the get-go, from video meetings and team chats to file storage, and more. But there’s also one other feature of MS Teams that is really useful, and it’s application integration.

Features of Microsoft Teams

It’s important to mention that Microsoft Teams has a lot of different features on its own, and the list of features can be split in two different parts: obvious features and hidden treasures.

The list of obvious features that Microsoft Teams provides is vast and varied, and it includes, but not exclusive to, the following:

  • Personal chat
  • Group chat
  • Activity feed
  • Mentions (@’s)
  • Messages grouped in threads
  • O365 integrations
  • File/screen sharing
  • Audio conferences and “meetings”
  • Customizable alerts
  • Access control
  • Multifunctional search, and more.

While it looks like there are a lot of features already, the fact is that it’s barely the tip of the iceberg. Many different less-known features of Microsoft Teams are known for making the overall user experience as good as possible.

Team productivity is the first feature group of many, and it includes a variety of features, such as tabs, activity filtering via mentions, content bookmarking, etc. Slash commands, the ability to hide and show teams, virtual backgrounds and whiteboards also belong to this category.

Knowledge sharing and collaboration might be problematic in larger groups if it weren’t for the specific Teams features, such as inline message translation, automatic transcripts, proximity-based pairing and live events. The capability of sharing and combining your Wikis or synchronizing your SharePoint sites are also included in the mix.

Developers and IT teams also have specific benefits that they can take advantage of while using MS Teams, including MS App Studio, hard auto mute, channel renaming, bots, integration with PSTN and Microsoft’s developer templates for different kinds of companies and agencies (healthcare, retail, government, education and such).

Business leaders, on the other hand, are enjoying their extensive analytics and BI, as well as meeting recording capabilities, private channels, easier first-line workers management, and so on.

While the extent of MS Teams capabilities on its own is relatively large, the possible addition and integration of various third party apps makes the entire platform even more versatile and multifunctional than it was originally intended.

While it looks like there are a lot of features already, the fact is that it’s barely the tip of the iceberg. Many different less-known features of Microsoft Teams are known for making the overall user experience as good as possible.

Speaking of app integration, Microsoft is aiming to soon allow for the third-party applications to be even more integrated into the Teams platform – both in the video chat and outside of it. A few examples of those integrations are content display during video calls, notification display, and other examples of the usual feature expansion.

But even without this kind of deep integration into the platform, there’s a lot of third-party applications in general. And each of those applications is aiming to provide a case-specific feature for specific use cases. Next we’ll be going over some of the examples of third-party applications for Microsoft Teams:

Zoom and Cisco Webex

Zoom is a decently sized video conference software that offers the impressive quality of digital interactions with a user-friendly interface. The integration of Zoom into Teams as an application allows for a variety of features, like video meeting records, interaction with people outside of MS Teams, acquire meeting summaries, and so on. It is mostly utilized via Teams bot and its commands.

zoom website

Cisco Webex Meetings is another alternative for a video conference tool with specific features that other services might not have. It is also mostly handled by Teams bot commands, and it’s capable of providing features like meeting schedules, instant meeting join via URL, link sharing between Webex and MS Teams, and so on.

cisco webex website

Freehand

Of course, video conferences are not the only way to interact with each other, and this is where Freehand comes in. Freehand is a tool that offers a shared sketchboard for all of the meeting participants, allowing for a bunch of features, like presentations, collective drawing, visual planning, wireframing, and so on.

freehand interface

Cacoo

Speaking of imagery, there’s also another somewhat related tool called Cacoo, which specializes in diagrams. Cacoo is a diagramming app with collaboration capabilities, and it’s basically perfect for Teams meetings that need flowcharts, SWOT diagrams, project timelines and any other possible visual representation of a shared goal in mind. Microsoft Teams collaboration allows Cacoo to notify users about diagram activities, controlling access to diagrams, and so on.

cacoo website

Freshdesk

A lot of customer service software also needs their own integration to stay relevant within MS Teams – like Freshdesk, for example. Freshdesk is a customer support software with plenty of features on its own, like multiple support channels (email, phone, live chat, social media, etc.), extensive filtering options and easy-to-use inbox. And with the MS Teams integration you can also get ticket notifications directly inside of the Teams app, have the ability to quickly reply to a customer, have the capabilities to track your replies and customers via Freshdesk’s integrated interface, and so on.

freshdesk interface

Givitas and Mindmeister

There’s also plenty of different applications that deal with workflows on a lesser scale in general, like Givitas and Mindmeister. Givitas is an application that makes it easier for employees to have access to specific data, and to ask for that access when they need it to do their job.

givitas interface

Alternatively, Mindmeister is, as the name suggests, an application built specifically for mind-mapping, visual brainstorming, idea sharing – creating an application that provides all of those capabilities, and more.

mindmeister interface

Translator

Another application that is quite useful for MS Teams field of work is Translator – it’s literally about translating conversations to allow people to communicate easier if they don’t speak the same language. The usage of the app itself is instantaneous and it supports both standalone OSs and Office 365.

translator interface

Microsoft Dynamics 365

One part of MS Teams’ immense popularity is their seamless integration with other Microsoft software within the collaborative environment. A good example of this collaboration is Microsoft Dynamics 365, it allows users to add a specific tab in Teams channel that’s used to collaborate on crucial customer records and join forces to work on important business tasks.

microsoft dynamics 365 interface

Polly

Let’s not forget about something as simple as surveys, either. Polly is a popular survey integration application that allows exactly that – poll creation, surveys with multiple answers, and so on. The main goal of this is to gain feedback on almost any question quickly and effectively.

polly interface

Kahoot!

Speaking of polls and quizzes, there’s also a good alternative for that called Kahoot!. Kahoot! is a comprehensive learning platform based on various games, quizzes, trivia, and so on. Education should be fun, too, and Kahoot! allows for that, and more: challenges, live games, and overall better engagement within the borders of MS Teams – all of that is possible with Kahoot! Integration.

kahoot! challenge assigning interface

Jibble

Control over people’s performance is also an important part of any team experience. This is where applications like Jibble are used the most, allowing leaders to track both attendance and work time of the employees – all of that within the Teams platform. Client billing tracking, payroll tracking, productivity tracking, and more – all of that is available with Jibble.

jibble interface

Mio

Technical part of collaboration is also extremely important, which makes apps like Mio even more valuable. Mio is an application that helps to connect users of MS Teams with Slack of Cisco Webex Teams to eliminate workplace silos and keep the connections between your employees. All of that also includes message sharing, file uploads, native connection between teams, and so on.

mio website

GitHub

Speaking of technicalities, developer platforms like GitHub also have their application integrations with MS Teams, even though the functionality isn’t as extensive as it could’ve been: you can pull requests and browse issues from within MS Teams, and that’s it (even though those features alone are saving a lot of time for specific use cases).

github interface

Health Hero

In the current post-pandemic world a lot of companies still have to work remotely, which creates a lot of additional health-related problems for regular employees, like physical stagnation. Health Hero aims to solve that problem by giving a number of features, like linking health tracking devices, health-related challenges, leaderboards, and more.

health hero interface

Other examples of Microsoft Teams third-party app integration

The overarching popularity of Microsoft Teams has led to an extremely wide market of third-party applications being created to serve the companies in one way or another. A few more examples of such applications are:

   1. RingCentral.

One of the main benefits of integration with RingCentral for MS Teams is the addition of RingCentral personal bot that brings advanced enterprise-level features into your Teams app, such as conference calls access, click-to-join meetings, meet to locate sessions and a range of other RingCentral commands

   2. LucidChart. 

Visualisation is a distinctive part of LucidChart, helping to bring the atmosphere of better collaboration in MS Teams. Drag and drop editing, links and layers, presentation mode, in-editor comments – these are just some of the capabilities that LucidChart provides.

   3. Jell.

Collaboration is a crucial part of Jell, too, but it’s also a great workflow tracking application that allows for closer look over everyone’s progress via Jell’s bot in MS Teams. Jell can help with directly checking up on your employees’ progress, along with customized questions for your team specifically, and much more than that.

   4. Klaxoon.

Making collaborative meetings more productive is the main purpose of Klaxoon. It offers many different means of keeping the entire audience engaged and interested in the conversation, such as polls, quizzes, surveys, reactions, challenges, etc. Brainstorming is also made much easier when each of the call’s participants is participating in the process in the first place.

   5. Decisions.

Another way of making meetings more productive is via a collective agenda, and this is what Decisions is made for. It is an application that attempts to bring employees closer through shared agendas, collaborative topics and meeting minutes, as well as decision tracking and discussion recording. Both tasks and decisions could be saved directly to MS Planner afterwards.

   6. Kiwi.

Kiwi specializes in getting instant updates for your team members on the topic of various BI notifications so that the important decisions are made quickly and effectively. It is also incredibly useful just for keeping everyone up-to-date about various meetings and events.

   7. Soapbox. 

Another collaboration-focused application is Soapbox, allowing for less changes of discussions not about the topic in question. The entire team can work easier with Soapbox’s QnA insights, alerts and notifications about your targets, easy catch-up capabilities, and more.

   8. Hive. 

Easier workflow management can be achieved in many ways, and one of such ways is Hive. Hive users have multiple ways of managing their workflow, including less sophisticated calendars and tables and more extensive Gantt charts and Kanban boards. Hive can also be used by business leaders to use the analytics as the means of performance analysis, in a way.

   9. Woobot. 

In the context of customer service specifically, Woobot is an example of an application that utilizes Salesforce CRM data to create a better user experience for your customers via personalization, as well as other means. There are also multiple collaboration-friendly features, like workflow comments, data search and analysis, and so on.

   10. Elmah.io.

That’s not to say that developers can’t get any use from MS Teams integrations. On the contrary, integrations with services like elmah.io are essential for developers to be able to detect and resolve bugs and errors in development cycles with speed and efficiency. This app can send you published error messages, and a lot more, directly into your Teams app, and there’s even a dedicated built-in integration from JavaScript that is available.

App Studio

While there’s a lot of different MS Teams applications, there are still cases of people not getting what they want from the existing apps. This is where App Studio comes into play, allowing you to create your own apps for MS Teams in the low-code environment with sufficient user-friendliness.

app studio card in the microsoft store

Kanban Board

Getting back to case-specific applications that work with Kanban Board, there’s actually an application with the same name. It provides easy communication between SharePoint and MS Teams in the form of scrum boards for the purpose of task management and convenient visualisation. Here are some of the top features that Kanban Board provides:

  1. Project management for SharePoint Online. SharePoint tasks are visualised in the form of customizable scrum boards, and each of the SharePoint list items is represented by a Kanban card that can be customized, as well.
  2. Kanban view for existing SharePoint lists and libraries. Different tasks from various SharePoint lists can be merged and dealt with within a single Kanban board, and the task management is as simple as the usual drag and drop operation.
  3. Extensive notifications. Virto Kanban is capable of providing various forms of notifications, and the ability to deeply customize them, too.
  4. High level of customization. Color codes for different Kanban cards can depend on a project type, urgency, users related to the project, and so on. You can choose different body colors, markers and labels. Attachments to these cards are possible, as well.
  5. Toolset for SharePoint project management. Various scrum features are available for SharePoint  projects, like WIP limits, estimated task difficulty, maximum task limit in a column, and so on. A statistical chart that includes all of your data is also available.
  6. Permissions configuration. SharePoint-related permissions can be modified using Kanban board app, too. You’ll have to have SharePoint administrator rights to perform feats like permission assigning, read-only mode enabling, and so on.
  7. Kanban and Teams. You can add Kanban as a separate tab in Teams thanks to the level of integration between the two. This eliminates the need to constantly switch sites while working with both Kanban and MS Teams.

Visual representation of a process specifically is there to optimize the entire task management process – with that it’s easier and faster to make the right decision in any possible situation, and the deep integration with SharePoint makes the entire process even more convenient and easy to work with.

virto kanban board interface

Conclusion

It’s fair to say that Microsoft Teams is an extensive and versatile platform on its own, feature-wise. And the ability to work with various third-party applications is what takes this platform to an entirely different level of user experience and feature set. This way you can find (or create) an application that could fit any of your business needs.

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Tatiana Sushchenko is the product owner at VirtoSoftware. She started her IT career with the famous ABBYY Lingvo back in 2006 in Moscow. Then she moved to Microsoft performing strongly in various marketing management roles across Visio, SharePoint, Office 365 and Project for almost 10 years. Tatiana is a graduate of the Institute of Business Studies and holds a mini-MBA degree. She also graduated from Microsoft marketing excellence university.

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