TalkingHeadz with Jeff Teper of #MicrosoftTeams

by Dave Michels

There was a lot of mixed reactions to the idea that Teams would eventually replace Skype for Business. There were those that had really embraced SfB, and didn’t see Teams at all ready. There were also those that just didn’t agree that a messaging-centric platform was the right home for real-time communications services. Simply stated, Microsoft’s vision with Teams didn’t appear to stem from customer demand. But then few disruptive products do. Teams was steadily growing, and then came a pandemic. Businesses were suddenly open to a disruptive way to accommodate an urgent, disruptive need for WFH.

It’s been fascinating to watch Teams. I saw it teased, launched, and then watched it blossom. Not only are the customers getting it, but Microsoft has been steadily prioritizing it. Few Microsoft apps, if any, receive so much attention and innovation. Satya Nadella has demonstrated Teams during keynotes and recently remarked that 2021 will be the year for Teams.

To me, Microsoft LCS/OCS/Lync/SfB were always dealing with self-inflicted limitations in terms of real-time communications. They provided an overly complex basic experience. That’s changed with Teams, especially in 2020. Teams is cloud-native, and offers robust communications and collaboration. Its real-time communications (especially video) have come a long way. Jeff suggests in this podcast that they are just getting started (and I believe him).

One of my criticisms of Teams (and SfB) in the past has been ongoing changes in leadership. It’s hard to keep up with product vision and nuance when the leaders keep changing. However, I’m feeling much better about Teams now. Though Jeff Teper has only been involved with Teams for about a year, he’s a heavy hitter. He’s been at Microsoft for almost 30 years, worked side by side with Satya Nadella, and brings proven credibility to Teams. In this podcast he doesn’t dodge anything, and provided detailed responses to our questions. I also give any Harvard MBA extra credit when they don’t mention they have an MBA from Harvard.

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