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Microsoft Teams: A Safe 3CA Bet and/or a Microsoft Cloud Trojan Horse?


Peter O’Kelly, Principal Consulting Analyst


Microsoft Teams, announced in late 2016, has a flagship role in the Microsoft 365 communication, collaboration, content, and activities (3CA) domain. It also has a subtly strategic role across Microsoft’s family of cloud services, being built on Azure and offering strong synergy with LinkedIn and Dynamics 365.

Teams was already Microsoft’s fastest-growing business app before the 2020 pandemic, and the abrupt global shift to remote working and learning has led to explosive Teams usage growth. Most Teams users as of mid-2020 probably considered Teams a hybrid competitor to Slack for team channel-based chat and Zoom for audio/video calls and meetings. In both contexts, Teams also replaced earlier Microsoft 3CA apps, most notably Skype for Business.

There is much more to the rapidly evolving Teams 3CA value proposition, however. Teams began as a rushed-to-market competitive response to Slack, which, when launched in 2013, demonstrated that a modernized and mobile reincarnation of Internet Relay Chat resonated with email-overwhelmed workers.

But by serving as a streamlined 3CA desktop across Microsoft’s cloud services and embracing Microsoft’s newfound commitment to substantively supporting all leading enterprise platforms (not just Windows), Teams has consolidated, simplified, and modernized Microsoft’s 3CA capabilities. It also serves as the primary user experience for activity automations built with the Microsoft Power Platform, going beyond communication capabilities to address elaborate collaboration workspaces, workflow, and a new wave of AI-powered content and knowledge management services.

This report builds on the 3CA market overview defined in TechVision Research’s “Communication, Collaboration, and Content: Shifting to Contextual Activities” report to explain how Teams addresses 3CA market dynamics and how Microsoft customers can gain the most value from their Teams deployments.

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