Satya Nadella, Kirk Koenigsbauer: Microsoft Teams Introduction

Remarks by Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, and Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for Office, in New York City, Nov. 2, 2016.

SATYA NADELLA:  Welcome and good morning to everyone.  It’s fantastic to be back here in New York.  I was here last week, and I shared how we at Microsoft are empowering the creators of the world to unlock their ingenuity with new computers and computing experiences.

And that’s pretty core to Microsoft.  That’s something that we care very deeply.  And so today, we want to build on that.  It’s core to our mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

And today, picking up on that theme of empowerment, we want to talk about productivity, collaboration and that art form of teams.

In a world where we have an abundance of data, information, compute power, what is scarce is human attention and time.

And this paradox is what drives our ambition around reinventing productivity and business process.

As we think about productivity, we think about people and teams of people and what they can achieve and accomplish together.

The art of how teams work together is going to be central to the news today.

In some way, every individual is different, and so is the case with every team.  Teamwork and collaboration is an art.  In fact, observing musicians at athletes teaches us a lot about this art form.  Both how they work as a team, and also the tools, the processes they use to be effective.

Consider music.  A symphony works as one, the conductor, the strings, the horns, the percussion, bound together by one score, but each with their own instrument, their own tool, the whole greater than the parts.  This is one team.

A jazz ensemble works differently.  The score is just a mere hint of what’s possible.  As individual instruments come to the forefront, lead and then rejoin the chorus.

In sports, the collaboration needed to create the swing of a boat in a crew race, the oars working in perfect unison, propelling the boat over water.

And in my favorite sport, cricket, I’ve always admired how an entire team made up of specialists in every position come together, perform brilliantly individually, but yet have one coordinated set of strategies and tactics.

For any coach, for any conductor, for any player, the art of finding that right process, that right tool, set of tools that drive the collaboration that then leads to success is what’s at the core.

There is no one blueprint, there is no one universal tool for it.  And the same is true for business.  How to assemble a high-performance team and a great team and setting them up for success is one of the central pursuits for any organization.

No two teams are the same, no two projects are the same.  There is no universal tool for teams, but rather a universal toolkit that we call Office 365.

Empowering teams is more than simply solving any logistical challenge of bringing people to the same place.

We think about more challenging aspects of teams and teamwork.  How do you bring coherence around ideas, around goals, actions, values that drive teams?

And then, of course, the technology that truly empowers this teamwork.

Office 365 empowers individual teams and entire organizations with the broadest platform and toolkit for creation, communications and collaboration in the market.

For me, Office 365 and its use is, in fact, central to how Microsoft works and even our culture.  I use email every day as a way to communicate with people outside the organization and everyone inside the organization.  I use Groups, Outlook Groups, to be able to distribute information and share information.

Yammer is a bulletin board for the entire company.  In fact, I go there every morning to be able to get a sense, a pulse for what’s happening with the entire company.

Skype is where real-time, instant communications happen.  If I want to get ahold of someone, I either call them or message them in Skype for Business.

But what underpins all of these tools is a very powerful platform, a common identity, a common profile across all of these tools powered by Azure Active Directory, a common group construct, this cross-application membership.  So important as you move between tools to have that group context move with you.

Our Graph that connects all your content artifacts that you create and all the people and really enables discovery, search and most importantly, a third-party extensibility and an ecosystem.

AI that helps you reason over all of your Office 365 data and information and helps you focus your attention on things that matter the most.

And compliance — providing that control, security and privacy for every business in a complex world, in a world where you have changing regulation and changing needs around digital sovereignty.

That’s what makes Office 365 a powerful toolkit as well as a platform.  That’s the approach we’re taking.

And today, we’re adding a new tool and an experience to Office 365:  Microsoft Teams, a chat-based workspace.

It’s where people can come together in a digital forum to have casual conversations, work on content, create work plans, integrated all within one unified experience.

Designed to facilitate real-time conversations and collaboration, while maintaining and building up that institutional knowledge of a team.

Just like Outlook brought together email, contacts, calendar, into this one magical user experience scaffolding that changed how we work, Microsoft Teams will bring together chat, meetings, notes, Office, Planner, Power BI and a host of other ecosystem-developed extensions and applications to help teams get work done.

This is an experience that truly empowers that art form of how teams work and teams drive success.

And to tell you more about Microsoft Teams, I wanted to welcome Kirk Koenigsbauer to really give you an in-depth view of Microsoft Teams and how we envision Microsoft Teams as a key member of the Office 365 platform to transform the art of teams.

Thank you all very much.  Kirk?  (Applause.)

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  Thank you, Satya.

Good morning, everybody.  Thanks, Satya, it’s really, really terrific to be here to talk about Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365.

Teams is an entirely new experience.  It brings together people, conversations and content, along with the tools that teams need so they can easily collaborate to achieve more.

It’s naturally and thoughtfully integrated with the familiar Office applications, built from the ground up on Office 365, and it’s here for customers today.

At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to the ambition of reinventing productivity for the cloud and mobile world, and ultimately helping people and organizations achieve more through digital transformation.

We see both tremendous change and tremendous opportunity in how people and teams get work done.

There’s a movement towards flexibility and transparency and inclusivity in how decisions are made.

Teams are now more agile and organizations more flat, keep communications and information flowing.

And people work from everywhere across multiple devices, even their physical workspace is morphing and changing.

With Microsoft Teams, we see an opportunity to create a more open, a more fluid, a more digital environment, one with the capabilities and the experiences of teams at its heart.

You can really think of Microsoft Teams as a digital transformation of an open-office-space environment, one that fosters easy connection and conversation to help people build relationships, one that makes work visible, integrated and accessible across the team so that everyone can stay in the know.

And one that helps build a team culture that is both fun and inclusive so everyone has a voice.

Microsoft Teams delivers on four core promises to create a digital workspace:  chat for today’s teams, a hub for teamwork, customization options, and the security that teams trust.

Now, over the next few minutes, I’m going to walk you through each of these and the experience that we’ll have at general availability.

First and foremost, we are providing a modern conversation experience for today’s teams.  Teams will support not only persistent, but threaded, chat to keep everyone engaged.  Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but of course there is the ability for private, one-on-one type discussion.

Skype is deeply integrated so teams can participate in voice and video conferences.  And the experience itself is fun, and this really, really matters to teams, with emojis, stickers, GIFs, custom memes, people can add personality to their digital workspace and really make it feel like their own.

Second, Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365, providing a true hub for teamwork — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Delve, Power BI — they’re all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and the tools that they need at their fingertips.

Backed by the Microsoft Graph, intelligent services are surfaced through the experience to help with information relevancy, discovery and sharing of information.

Teams is also built on Office 365 Groups.  Groups is our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another to preserve their sense of context and to make it easy to share information with others.

Finally, Microsoft Teams is built for each of us, meeting accessibility standards so every team member can participate.

Now, all teams are unique, so we’ve also invested deeply in ways for people to customize their workspace with rich extensibility and open APIs.

For example, team members can create their own channels to organize their conversation.  They can integrate their favorite cloud services with a feature called Tabs that provides quick access to frequently used content and information.

Teams also shares the same connector model as Exchange, providing notifications and updates from third-party services like Twitter or GitHub directly within the team’s experience.

Lastly, we’re supporting the Microsoft bot framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into your Teams environment.

Finally, Teams also has the advanced security and the compliance capabilities that our Office 365 customers would expect.  Data is encrypted at rest and in transit, like all of our commercial services. We have a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data.

Microsoft Teams will, of course, support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, HIPAA and more.

And as customers would expect, Teams is served out of our hyper-scale, global network of datacenters.  It will be automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally just as any other Office 365 service.

I hope that gives you a good, brief overview of Microsoft Teams.  What we’d like to do now is invite a person who is really super familiar with the product, obviously a big fan, to come up and demo.  Brad Sams, are you here somewhere?  (Laughter.)  Just kidding, Brad.  (Laughter.)

Fortunately, we have Mira Lane, an engineer from our product team who is going to give you a first look at Microsoft Teams.  Mira, come on up.  (Applause.)

MIRA LANE:  Hi, everyone.  So I have been living in Microsoft Teams for a while, and it is so nice to be able to finally share this broadly.

I’m going to demo what’s in the product now, as well as a few things that you’ll see closer to GA.

So let me draw your attention all the way to the left to what I refer to as the app bar.  This is where you get to your activities, your private chats, your team’s meetings and files.

I’m going to start in the team section, and I’ll work my way around.

So here you can see that I’ve got a team called the Graphic Design Institute selected.  And we’re talking about a big art and media festival that we’re putting on.

So a team is a group of people that are organized around a common goal.  They can be organizationally bound, they can be project teams, but the key here is that these are high-velocity and highly collaborative in nature.

Now, within a team, we have the idea of open conversation channel.  So anyone on the team can jump in and join the conversation.  Channels that have activity go bold, as you can see, with grants and the social media channel.  And whenever there’s activity that’s directed at me, you’ll see a red badge count next to that channel.

Now, I can be a member of multiple teams, because we expect that in a large organization.  I’m going to jump around between project team to project team.

So we’ve made it really easy to be able to dive into another team.  Right here on the left rail, I can dive in, do my work, and then jump back to the other team I’m working on without having to switch out of my UI.

So let’s dive into the art and media festival channel and take a look at the team chat experience.

So the first thing you might notice is, yes, this is a threaded chat experience.  And that means it keeps topics grouped together.  Makes it easy for me to scan the conversation stream and also choose which conversations I want to be a member of.

Now, the first message over here is directed explicitly at me.  And when that happens, we place a red flag right next to the message here.  So, again, just scanning through the conversation stream, it’s easy to pick out the messages that are targeted directly at you.

Messages can also have titles, like you can see in the city council update, and it’s really easy to embed objects, like images in the emerging artists thread here, and you can embed files.  It’s also really easy to embed GIFs, I love this one, and stickers and emojis as well.

Now, I can also pipe in third-party experiences and connectors into my channel.  So here I have a Twitter connector wired up.  And, basically, we’ve set this to work — whenever there’s an update to the school of fine art where they’re tweeting about something related to our festival, it pushes a message into the conversation stream.

And because we have threads, we can have a conversation around this object.

I can also bring in bots like Polly.  Polly is one of the most popular collaboration bots out there.  And we’re using Polly to help us decide, hey, where should we take the artists after the reception?  Let’s take a poll on the team.

So some of the options are Art of the Table, Tilt, Backhoe, Tin Table, and Polly will go and take this object, insert into the stream, and then everyone gets a chance to vote.

So everyone’s had a chance to vote, and it look like Art of the Table, one of my favorite restaurants, is the winner.  And it looks like Tucker is really excited as well.  Tucker’s added a meme into the conversation.  And I’ll show you how he created that using the product in just a minute.

It’s also easy to add important messages.  And we’re leveraging the concept of red bang in this message.  So whenever that happens, the channel on the left rail will get a little red exclamation mark next to it letting you know that there’s something important here to come and take a look at.

So let me go ahead and send a few messages.  So I could easily like this message.  I’ll go and respond to this.  But you know what?  Let me actually call someone’s attention.

So I’ll start with the at symbol.  I’m going to look for Tucker.  He’s one of my main guys.  So we have a pop-up that pulls in the users or the people that I tend to interact with the most.  So I’ll grab Tucker from in here.  And I’ll say, “Hey, I’m about to go and meet the artists.  I’ll let you know how it goes.”

All right.  So I’ll send that.  Now, Tucker will get a notification in his activity bell all the way in the app bar letting him know that I’ve mentioned him and that he has a message to come and take a look at.

So let’s go on the road, let me take my mobile app with me.  It’s a great way for me to stay on top of what’s happening with my team.  We have mobile apps across all the platforms — Windows Phone, IOS, Android — and it’s a great companion app.

So across the bottom, you’ll see that familiar app bar.  I have my alerts, I have my private chats and my teams.

Now, let me dive back into that art and media festival channel that I was just looking at.  You can see that message I just posted and that conversation stream that I was just showing you guys.

So let me go ahead and send a message here.  You know, met with the artists, let’s brainstorm later.  OK.

All right, so I’ll send that off to Tucker.  And let’s go back to my demo box, actually.

So now I’m back at the office and I want to go heads down, I want to get some work done.  Actually, you see that message I just sent.  And so I want to draw your attention to the top of the channel.

And this is the tabbed framework that Kirk was mentioning.  And so at the top of every channel is a place that teams can go in to pin services and tools that they access frequently.  And so it’s in context to the channel and the conversation that you’re having.

We store an enormous amount of knowledge in our heads.  There’s a lot of links to tools and sites that we use frequently, a lot of services.  And we wanted to provide a way for teams to take that collective knowledge, unload that, and place that in a place that everyone can access.

So when a team is created, we provision SharePoint automatically behind the scenes.  And there’s a folder representing every channel.  So that I have all of my files at my fingertips, I don’t have to go hunting around for the URLs of the files or worry if I have the latest.

I can go and I can choose one of these files and open it up in the client, like Microsoft Word, or I can actually click on it and just look at it right here in Microsoft Teams.

And you’ll notice that that conversation thread that was associated with the file, that’s brought over here to the right.  And I can continue the discussion right here.

Now, similarly, we’ve done the same type of thing with notes.  So we’re embedding OneNote right into the experience.  Because as you look at a conversation stream, it’s often scrolling out of view, it’s ephemeral in nature, and we thought it would be a great way to have a place to store long-term knowledge, stuff that’s more evergreen in nature.

And so what we’re doing here is I’ve got my list of workshops, this is a draft list.  We’re editing it, we’re keeping it up to date, and it’s really nice to have this right here at my fingertips and not have to chase it down in a message somewhere.

I’ve also pinned our budget up here so we’re always working off of the latest numbers.

And then I have our Power BI dashboard right here, so we’re looking at our analytics on Twitter.  And I can interact with it right in this space.

Of course I can always go into Power BI directly and do it from there, but it’s really nice to have this dashboard right here because oftentimes these types of tools are in the hands of a few on the team.  And what we wanted to do is be able to democratize that knowledge and share it so that everyone is working smarter together.

Now, for the art and media festival, there’s a lot of tasks that we’re tracking.  And so we’ve integrated Planner into the experience as well.  So I can see all the tasks that we’re looking at.  I can go in, I can make an edit, I can change something here.  Let’s change the due date.  Let’s move that out a little bit.

And then any updates I make are automatically updated and the team can see it right away.  So there’s no lag right there.

So you can see how this starts to bring in all of the Office 365 services into a really cohesive experience.  And so this top bar, the Tabs, they’re not just for Microsoft services.  There’s also a way to plug in third parties into our Tabs framework.

And so if I click on Zendesk here, these are all the service tickets that are associated with our event website.  I can look through it and check if there’s any big issues that I need to look at, but it looks like everything’s OK.

So this is a really nice way for me to just unload my brain, get access to all the tools I tend to use in one place.

All right, so with all of this activity happening, how do I stay on top of what’s going on with the team?  And so that’s where you go into the activity bell up here in the app bar.  This is where you go to see any mentions that are directed specifically at you, any replies to threads that you’re on.  You can also see all the conversations that are happening in all the channels that you’re tracking.

And so think of this as your inbox.  This is how I start my morning.

While I’m over here, let’s go into the chat experience.  So, first, let me talk about bots.  And I’m going to talk about two bots.  The first one is called TBot.  TBot is our intelligent help system bot.  And what it does is it sits on top of our help system and it helps you answer questions about using the product.  For example, how do I post a GIF?  And just like I showed you, it shows you how to get into that smiley face and pick one of those.

I can also type in something like, “How do I create a channel?”  And then TBot will go in and surface up any content that’s related in our help system to the question I’ve asked.

Now, you can have two interfaces into a bot.  You can have this conversational interface or you can have a browse interface.

So I can go into the tabs along the top and have access to our help system.  I can look at our videos if I choose.  And it’s really nice to be able to go in through a search interface and also browse.

Now, the second bot I want to show you is one I really like.  It’s called WhoBot.  WhoBot sits on top of the Microsoft Graph and it answers questions about people.

So I’ll scroll up a little bit, and I have a question here that says:  Hey, who is Ben Walters?  It’s someone I’ve been working with; I want to know a little bit more about him.  And so WhoBot surfaces up his manager, recent files he’s been working on, collaborators.

But I can also ask questions about subject matter experts like who knows about ticket sales?  And it surfaces up people that are talking about this topic.  The WhoBot sits on top of our graph, it pulls out things like, hey, Barbie’s talked about ticket sales 14 times, she’s been mentioned four times, and it pulls out a set of people that are related to this query.

So this is something that’s really exciting, there’s a lot of intelligence here.  Because it’s built on Office 365, we have a lot of knowledge in this system that we can leverage to build this bot out.

All right, so let me talk to a real person.  Let’s go and talk to Tucker.  So, again, in our conversation, I have the ability to have a space between us.  I can look at the files that we have in common, the ones we’ve shared, the notes that we have.  I can also look up Tucker’s organization and we’re leveraging Active Directory to pull out identity and org info.

But let me go back to the conversation for a second.  Tucker’s mentioned, hey, a few of us are brainstorming in the future idea channel, hop on when you’re free.  All right, got it, be there in a second.

All right, so what Tucker’s referring to is the idea of having an open meeting.  And so in this future ideas channel, what you’ll notice is there’s a video icon right next to it.  And that means there’s an open meeting happening right now.

So similar to how you would see a set of people huddling around a desk in an open office space, this is the digital equivalent.

So these guys have been talking for a little while, looks like a while.  I can see who’s in the conversation, and I can choose to join that conversation.

And so this is a really low-friction way of going face to face, jumping in a meeting, they could be ad hoc, they could be scheduled.  Hey, guys, how’s it going?  I can’t wait to brainstorm with you guys.

And we’re leveraging Skype for video and calling.  All right, so I think I’ll stop the demo right there and I’ll hand it back to Kirk.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  Nice job.  Really nice.  Thanks, Mira.

Next, I want to share a few specifics on the availability and the roadmap that we’ve got coming.

Starting today, Microsoft Teams is available as a customer preview in 181 countries, localized in 18 different languages.

We plan to include Microsoft Teams in all of our Office 365 Enterprise and Small Business Suite offerings.

As we announced last week, Office 365 now has 85 million monthly active users.  So we see tremendous opportunity here for our customers.

In terms of general availability, we’re planning for the first quarter of calendar year 2017.

Today, I’m also excited to announce that we are opening up our developer preview program broadly.  So ISVs and partners can extend Microsoft Teams.  We’ll have integrations with over 150 partners at GA, including early partner Zendesk, Asana, Hootsuite and Intercom.

Out of the gate, teams will ship with over 70 different connectors and 85 bots.

This is a first step to providing the customizations users want and for partners to be able to further build on the Office 365 platform.

Now, we’re also seeing a ton of enthusiasm from customers who have been a part of our early private preview program.  These customers have been providing valuable feedback throughout the development process and are enthusiastic about what they’re seeing.  So let’s take a quick look.

(Video:  Customer Sizzle.)

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  All right, great.  To talk about the usage of Microsoft Teams, I’d like to invite Andrew Wilson from Accenture, Matthew Cochran from Hendrick Motorsports and Russell Cochran — no relation — from Alaska Airlines to come on up and talk to us a little bit about your experiences.  Come on up, guys.  (Applause.)  Thanks.

ANDREW WILSON:  Good morning.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  Good morning.  All right, Andrew, why don’t we start with you?

ANDREW WILSON:  Happy to.  Teams is going to be huge.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  It’s going to be big.  So you are CIO of a company that has over 400,000 consultants globally, a huge population of millennial workers.  Talk to me a little bit about how Microsoft Teams plays in your collaboration portfolio.

ANDREW WILSON:  I think it’s going to play a very big part.  The modern workplace, teams is the way work gets done these days.  And in Accenture, we have hundreds of thousands of people.  They’re all in high-performance teams.

And those teams are already very collaborative.  We do 250 million minutes of audio a month on Skype; we’re well over 100,000 on Windows 10 already; in fact, we’re approaching 700 terabytes in OneDrive.

And O365 powers the digital worker.  And, yet, the enterprise needs persistent chat.  And I think that Teams is going to be a digital cockpit at the heart of 365, nicely secure, nicely integrated with things the teams are already familiar with, but now doing things together persistently in real time in a way that we’ve been trying to do with email and old-fashioned stuff, and we’re just overusing it.  We’re overwhelmed with email and productivity is down.  We can use this to increase productivity and creativity.

And it’s that cockpit which I think is going to change the team experience.  Teams that are both local, working together in agile huddle, but also teams that are remote.  Our pilot has got people involved who are in Manila in the Philippines, connecting with people here in North America.  It’s a nice global enabler as well.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  Got it.  And as you think about this digital cockpit — that’s a great phrase — which teams do you think will adopt Microsoft Teams fastest in your organization?

ANDREW WILSON:  We’ve given it to my leadership team, to ad agency people, to teams who are already behaving in a persistent manner.

I think it’s working where teams like to have some fun, and the modern enterprise can’t be all stodgy and old-fashioned.

I myself love the cats, I love the Star Trek and I love the cartoons where you can plug in your own comments.  This was the most viral feature on day one in my leadership team.

I could write a long email to a leader giving them feedback, or I could send a GIF and it communicates beautifully.

So it’s created humor, it’s created greater authenticity at work and it’s creating a glue.  And our workforce is already two-thirds millennial.  So they have been behaving like this in the consumer space.  But what this does is provide enterprise security, enterprise foundation and that nice integration with the things we’ve already invested in.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  Great.  Great.  Matthew, maybe shifting to you a little bit.  At Hendrick, you are in an incredibly challenging environment in terms of the way your teams work.  You’re on the track, it’s loud, it’s noisy, literally every single second counts.

Could you tell us a little bit about how Microsoft Teams fits into that environment?

MATTHEW COCHRAN:  Yeah, absolutely.  You know, for us it really starts at the top with our owner, Rick Hendrick, who has really a top-down mandate for the entire organization, no matter what department that you work in.

And we’ve got a common goal, a common mission, and that’s to win races and to win championships.

And so one of the ways that we do that is, we always ask ourselves constantly:  Is the product that I’m working on — in my case new technology, right — is it going to affect the performance in a positive way of the race cars on the track?

And certainly, Microsoft Teams fits that bill for us.  As you alluded to, the track itself is a very noisy environment.  It’s not the most hospitable place for IT to work.  You have a lot of challenges with connectivity and power issues; we’re often running on generators and things of that nature, especially during the actual event itself.

So for the guys that’s communicating via chat mechanism, the persistence of Microsoft Teams is key, because if you happen to be down for even an instant, as a race engineer or a crew chief, you don’t want to miss that communication that very may well win you a race.

And with the persistent chat functionality, they are able to rejoin a conversation.  At that point, they can see anything that’s transpired while they were away.

You know, for us, we started out with a tight pilot inside of IT.  We quickly grew it to race engineers, aerodynamic engineers, mechanical engineers across our organization.  And it really has snowballed.  And as I mentioned in the video, you know, really become viral inside our organization to the point where I’m getting multiple requests a day to add teammates, to create new teams, and to really ease and minimize friction across our collaborative environment.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  That’s really great to hear, particularly the viral adoption within your organization.

So, agility matters, speed matters.  Talk a little bit about security and how that matters.

MATTHEW COCHRAN:  Well, certainly.  Security has always been paramount in any new technology that we’re looking at implementing.  You know, whereas I think a lot of companies are separated by their competition by either buildings, cities or even continents in a lot of ways.

We, on the other hand, our competition is shoulder to shoulder with us on a weekly basis in the garage areas and at the track.

So, certainly, we rely heavily on Microsoft tools, everything from BitLocker to at-rest encryption and encryption in motion for all of our data to maintain that competitive advantage.

For our collaboration tools in general, we were definitely getting more of a push from our end-user community to apply more social means of collaborating, and very effective means that you just don’t really get with an email type of notification.  Right?

So we wanted to make sure that we are able to give our end users the tools and the collaborative applications that they desire, but at the same time from an IT perspective, making sure that it is integrated with the entire Office 365 stack as well as the encryption and all of the tools that Microsoft puts forward.  It allows us to keep our IT safe.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  That’s great to hear, thank you.  Russell?  You’re at Alaska Airlines.  You run collaboration and identity systems there.  Thank you, again, for coming and joining us.

You all decided to start the Microsoft Teams pilot in customer service.  Can you tell us a little bit about why you did that and how that’s going?

RUSSELL COCHRAN:  Absolutely.  So customer service is central to what we do as an airline.  It’s our Alaska promise to our customers.  Oftentimes, our reservations center is the first touchpoint for customers, so we want to make sure they have a great experience right off the bat.

And that means giving them the right set of tools to be able to service customers in the best possible fashion.


RUSSELL COCHRAN:  So Microsoft Teams gives us a couple of very well-structured features:  persistent chat for keeping track of the conversation that may go on as people come on and off shift.  They can go back and get their history.  Being able to have searchable chat history or searchable anything, really.  They can just discover documents, anything like that.  Gives them the ability to share knowledge and go back and retrieve knowledge that’s already been maybe in the silo and get that back.

It also gives us a single pane of glass for documents and manuals and everything that’s already been put into SharePoint.  It just is one single pane of glass that they can use.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  Exposed through Microsoft Teams.


KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  That’s great.  Like any airline, I’m sure things like weather can be challenging in terms of how you run your business, customer service.  As you think about all the different kinds of incidents that can impact the airline, how do you think Microsoft Teams will really help address managing those kinds of tough situations?

RUSSELL COCHRAN:  Yeah, so in the customer support, customer service roles, they’re pretty flexible.  We’ve got kind of dedicated teams for certain roles like international travel, code-sharing with our partners, cargo.  And being able to have the supervisors keep tabs on situations as they change allows them to allocate resources differently to react to changing environments.

KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  That’s great.  That’s great.  Good.  Well, thank you all very, very much for taking a few minutes to share some of the stories about how you’re all using Microsoft Teams in your environment.  Thanks very much.

ANDREW WILSON:  Thank you.



KIRK KOENIGSBAUER:  Thanks a lot.  (Applause.)  Thanks, Andrew.

All right, well, to close, I’d like to go back to where we started.  Satya talked about the uniqueness of each team.  The art of teamwork is about finding the right tool and the right processes to best facilitate collaboration.

A symphony needs the full spectrum of instruments for musicians to create beautiful music.  For Olympic gold, an eight-oar crew team needs a tuned boat, a capable coxswain and clockworklike synchronization to really win the race.

And to win the World Series, we’ll see tonight, you need great pitching, great hitting, great defense and a great manager.

In this same way, Microsoft provides a universal toolkit to help teams achieve more.  Intelligently connected, Office 365 provides the broadest and deepest set of collaboration tools available to meet the diverse needs of any work group.

And now we see an opportunity to create an open, fluid digital environment, one with the capabilities and experiences of teams at its heart.

With Microsoft Teams, customers will benefit from the modern chat experiences, integration with Microsoft Office, the security of Office 365.

All teams are unique.  All teams have different needs.  And with Microsoft Office 365, all teams are welcome.  Thank you for joining us and being part of our Microsoft Teams launch.  Thanks.  (Applause.)