Microsoft Build 2021: Teams, Outlook updated for developers
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Few platforms saw their profile rise as high as Microsoft Teams over the past 18 months, as the solution became the enterprise go-to for keeping newly-homebound workforces connected during the pandemic. As of Microsoft’s most recent earnings call, Teams now claims 145 million daily active users, nearly double the users counted almost a year ago, and the 32 million daily users counted before the pandemic.

In total, the number of companies with over 1,000 Teams users increased three-fold over Microsoft’s last fiscal year, with usage continuing to take off even as workers return to the office.

But aside from the impressive adoption numbers, the amount of new features and enhancements given to Teams over the past year has been staggering. According to CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has unveiled more than 300 features in the last 12 months, including at least 100 in calendar year 2021 alone.

Specifically, Microsoft is now making Teams more developer friendly to help ensure that all the new users leveraging the platform actually stay on it. WIth increased access to APIs, developers can now map their workflows around Teams, allowing integrations and granting enterprises greater freedom to customize their Teams experience.

“The world around us has dramatically changed since the last Build. Every customer and partner [is] now focused on the new realities of hybrid work — enabling people to work from anywhere, at any time, and on any device,” Nicole Herskowitz, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 platform general manager, said in a blog post. “Developers are at the heart of this transformation, and at Microsoft, we’ve seen this evidently through the apps you’ve built on top of the Microsoft Cloud.”

For instance, while Teams is still the go-to for chat and meetings, Microsoft has reported a 7x increase in the usage of apps within the platform over the last year. To build on this hunger for workflow integrations, Microsoft is introducing features like shared stage integration, new meeting event APIs, Together mode, and media APIs with resource-specific content.

What do these new Teams features look like?

Fluid, for instance, is a feature that allows chat users to send a message with a table, action items, or lists that can be co authored and edited across Teams and other Office apps by any users included in the thread.

A lot of the new features are in preview, including the new meeting event APIs, which enables the automation of meeting-related workflows through events, and Together mode extensibility, which enables developers to create custom scenes for Teams meetings to share with users.

Microsoft also announced greater integration with Teams and Outlook. Message extensions are now supported in Outlook on the web, for instance, that allows users to apply search-based extensions to a project management Teams app, delivering unified development experience.

So while Microsoft continues to make Teams a one-stop shop for enterprise collaboration, it’s hardly going to be the only platform that your users leverage to be productive in a Work From Anywhere world. While Microsoft Teams may be a primary portal for a wealth of end users when they log onto the enterprise network each day, they’ll still be reliant on a bevy of other solutions that need to perform in synchronization for users to remain productive.

This calls for enterprise IT teams to deploy solutions that can grant them visibility not just into the cloud environments delivering business-critical applications like Teams out to end users, but the local links and connections facilitating that “last-mile” app delivery out to workstations.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

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