SharePoint vs. Teams

In terms of productivity and efficiency, companies who have implemented Office365 are at a great advantage. There is so much to offer within Office365, including great tools and tons of integration options. But we’ve encountered some confusion around this SaaS solution. How all the different elements are supposed to fit together to help manage business operations? Most of the questions we get surround two of the most common collaboration tools within the platform –SharePoint and Teams. Which should you use, and why? Are you supposed to use them together? If so, how do they work together? 

The good news is that all the Office 365 tools are designed to work together. You can customize them to aid in managing your specific business operations. The challenge seems to be how exactly they connect, and what their intended use is in business. Let’s dive in, starting with Teams.  

Teams

Teams is a fantastic application used for real-time collaboration. This app has boomed in popularity since COVID caused a surge in remote work, and for good reason (check out our post on tips for using Teams while remote here). The ability to voice call, conduct video meetings, chat, and screen share all in one application has made working from anywhere seamless. Teams acts as the center hub for all the other great tools from Microsoft Office. Those include Flow (or Power Automate), Planner (or Tasks by Planner), OneNote, and SharePoint.  

How Does it Work? 

Creating a Microsoft Team is as easy as clicking “Join or Create a Team” at the bottom left of the Teams application. Teams can be created for short-term projects or longer-term department teams. Once you create your team, you can add members, start discussions, save files, and create Channels. Channels are used to create sub-groups for a team to better organize information. For example, a project Team may have different groups working together under the same project, but each Team has their own channel.  

     

Integrations 

Once you have created and organized your Team, you can add many different types of connections like web pages, SharePoint lists, Forms, Stream, OneNote, Excel files, etc. You can create these as a tab at the top of your Teams page. When you click the + button where the tabs are located, a screen opens with different applications that are available for integration. You can then pull your existing document from the application of your choice or create a new one. You can connect hundreds of different apps to Teams to have it function in a way that suits your business’s needs.  

SharePoint 

SharePoint has been around for many years and is an exceptional tool. It is a great cloud-based solution that stores and manages documents. It also helps make collaboration a whole lot easier. Emailing around different versions of a single document after you and your team have made edits gets confusing and frustrating. Instead of having to save multiple versions of one document, SharePoint enables users to edit one document simultaneously in real time, and even has a function that allows other users to see where the edits were made and who they were made by.  

How Does SharePoint Work with Teams? 

SharePoint works even better when connected with Teams. Access documents directly from Teams, instead of bouncing from one application to another. You can also search for documents from within Teams, which makes life a whole lot easier! The ability to access and share documents from anywhere  is a game changer.

To begin the integration, start with a Team. This automatically creates a SharePoint Team Site and Document Library behind the scenes. To access that document library, navigate to the ‘Files’ tab on your Team (these are located at the very top when you click into your Team). Although every channel has a different set of tabs at the top depending on which you create, Teams adds ‘Files’ automatically as well as “Posts”.  You can save files here by dragging and dropping or uploading, but the best way is to save directly from the Office application to your Team.  

Final Thoughts: SharePoint vs. Teams

While there is a lot more to explore with these two applications, the above information should help you begin. As you do more research and continue to explore them, you’ll start to realize why these are two of the most common apps in Office365. When used together properly, they can help boost productivity and efficiency tremendously, while keeping your organization connected from anywhere.