Did you know you can add third-party add-ons to a Teams channel? Let’s see what happens when you do!
Microsoft calls these add-ons “Teams Apps.” They work like Chrome browser add-ons…a way to integrate third-party software into the Teams experience.
They even have their own app store: AppSource – Microsoft Teams
(You can also view Apps within Teams, by clicking the “Store” button in the left column.)
For this blog post, I installed some Teams Apps in our internal Teams channels and tested them out. I went with some fairly simple Apps, but you can find much more complex ones in AppSource.
I chose Asana and MailChimp for this test. Asana is a project management tool. We already use Asana in our office, so it’s a natural choice. We switched from MailChimp to Campaign Monitor years ago, but we know plenty of businesses who still use & love MailChimp. (Plus I still have a MailChimp account for testing!)
Installing Apps into Teams
Apps are connected to Teams channels, not the overall Team. Installation is pretty darn easy…just a few clicks to select, grant access, login to the third-party account, and voila!
First, the steps for installing Asana.
Next, installing MailChimp.
Now, the next big question—how do we USE these Apps?
It actually depends on the App. For Asana, we only need to configure the Asana projects the App will monitor. Whenever someone creates or comments on a task within those projects, we get a notification in Teams.
Zero effort. Plus, getting notifications like this shaves one window off your daily checks.
MailChimp will display campaign performance reports, likewise eliminating a window to check. Connectors like these simplify the workday by consolidating information flow into the Teams channel.
Other connectors, like Help Scout (updates from customer support emails) or Pingdom (notifies you about website incidents) facilitate add-on services from within Teams. You may need additional configuration.
Caveat: Apps Can Overwhelm Your Channel
The old adage is true…you can have too much of a good thing. In this case, too many Teams Apps can blot out normal conversations.
Most Apps automatically notify the Teams channel when their event is triggered. Asana will report a new task, or MailChimp will pop up a new campaign performance report. The automatic setup lends convenience. But the more you use Asana and MailChimp, the more frequently you get notifications in Teams.
It’s easy to see the problem. One notification-clogged Teams channel, coming right up!
Of course, you could create a fresh Teams channel and assign App notifications to it. But then you’ve just created another checkpoint for yourself and your team. Instead, I recommend limiting the number of Teams Apps you’ll need. Only add the ones whose notifications add value to your conversations.
Use Teams Apps Whenever They Help You Stay Productive—And Don’t Disrupt Everyone Else
When deciding which Teams Apps to add, consider the whole team’s priorities & daily activities. Does everyone use Asana? Then chances are everyone will spend time in Asana anyway. You don’t need to add it to Teams. Conversely, if half the people on this particular Team use Asana, then adding the Teams App helps them save time and doesn’t cause too much disruption.
If you use many other online services, but only need to interact with them occasionally (e.g. Pingdom only sending alerts when a site’s down), then adding them as a Teams App makes sense. Provided they HAVE a Teams App, that is. Not everyone does yet.
Still, there’s plenty of choices in the AppSource already. Go take a look!
Which Teams Apps do you have installed?