14 Microsoft Teams apps to help you work smarter

Microsoft Teams now has more active daily users than Slack and offers dozens of third-party tools to make it easier to collaborate without leaving the Teams interface. Here are 14 apps you need to consider.

Microsoft > Teams [Office 365]

When it comes to adding apps to collaboration software, Slack tends to get most of the attention. Yet Microsoft Teams, which now has a larger number of active daily users than Slack, offers dozens of third-party tools that make it easier to get work done without leaving the Teams interface. Integrations can help you brainstorm, set up meetings and track projects, among other tasks. 

[ In case you missed it: 4 tips for picking the right collaboration suite and How to combine project management and collaboration ]

Most apps add a new tab that appears at the top of the Teams interface for controlling the app’s features. Other integrations include a bot, which allows you to type commands, for example to find a file or track a project’s status. App’s can also trigger notifications, like when a file you’re sharing has been updated, within the channel.

Other examples: You can type a simple command in a channel that tells a bot to create a new task in a project management app, like Wrike or Trello. In addition, you could click on a tab to view pull up a recently edited Photoshop file from Adobe Creative Cloud. Or you can have notifications in a channel update you automatically with website metrics, like pageviews and daily users. 

Here are some of the most useful integrations for enterprise users who need to collaborate with their coworkers in Teams.

[ Related: 7 top Slack alternatives for 2019 ]

Add apps

To add an app in Teams, look near the bottom of the left-hand navigation pane. Select “Apps” and a directory opens showing you all the available apps, sorted by category. When you click an app, a description appears, detailing the features of the app within Teams. 

[ Related: Microsoft Teams: Slack's big rival explained ]

It’s worth clicking the “Privacy and Permissions” link to see what the app will receive once you click “Add” to integrate the app in Teams. You may want to run any privacy concerns by your system administrator, if you have one. Some permissions, like whether you’re able to add apps at all -- or which ones -- may already be set by your admin. In some cases the apps are given permission that may give your IT department pause. For example, once you sign in, some bots are able to take actions on your behalf.

[ Related: 7 top Slack alternatives for 2019 ]

Keep in mind that these third-party apps require you to set up an account, so if you don’t already have one, you’ll be prompted to sign up, or log in, when you add them to Teams.

Plan ahead with Trello, Wrike and Asana

Cloud-based project management services, like Trello, Wrike and Asana, can help workgroups set deadlines, assigns tasks and automatically update stakeholders on the project’s status. Frequently, workplace chat sparks new ideas and integrating a dedicated app to assign tasks and deadlines right in Teams can speed things up, while keeping discussion in one central location.

Trello and Asana both use Kanban boards, which organize tasks by whether they’re being planned, in progress, or complete. Wrike calls them cards, which you can view within Teams, or if you want to view multiple projects and deadlines at once, you can view them as a Gannt chart without leaving Teams.

Check traffic with Google Analytics

The Google Analytics app can post to your channel automatically with high-level traffic reports from websites and mobile apps. For example, you can automatically have the app post to your channel with a digest of metrics like pageviews, new users and how many pages they viewed in a session. If you routinely report these numbers, for example at a daily meeting, instead of having someone view and report the numbers for your site, you can set them to automatically appear daily, weekly or monthly in your channel. 

Be social with Twitter and Yammer

Twitter’s app provides a way to track your organization’s social media mentions, by reporting them as they happen in your channel, when you add the app to Teams. You can choose to be notified when your handle is tweeted, or a hashtag you choose, like an area of interest in your industry.

For internal updates, you can add a tab for Yammer, which acts as a social media presence within an organization, with status updates, links, photos and video. Once the app is added, you can share Yammer posts in a channel, or view see posts and topic threads in a tab. 

Kick off a meeting with Webex and Zoom

If your workgroup uses video meetings outside of Office 365, for example, with Webex Meetings or Zoom, you can schedule and join meetings from a tab in Teams. In Zoom, for example, you can type a command “start [topic]” to begin a new meeting (and let everybody know what it’s about.) In Webex Meetings, you can click the app’s tab and see all your upcoming meetings, as well as people you frequently meet with so you can quickly add them, or set up a meeting with everybody in your channel.

For offices that adopt the agile methodology -- and it may be useful even if you don’t -- the Scrumgenius app automates routine daily check ins with a team. A bot asks each channel member what they’re working on, what they’ve completed and if they’re running into hangups that are keeping them from completing projects (you can also customize the questions). Then a bot updates the channel or sends the updates to an email address.

Release the code: GitHub, Jira Cloud and Azure Devops

If your organization builds software, for internal operations or for public release, there are several apps you can add to Teams for creating and tracking new code and changes, and track bug reports. Teams offers support for most of the popular, cloud-based services including GitHub, Jira Cloud, and Azure DevOps. Each of these apps add a tab in Teams, so you can see the status of software under development. The GitHub app, for example, lets you view new code requests or get notifications in a channel when changes to projects you’re following are modified.

All three apps integrate bots so you can check and modify a project’s status by typing a command in a channel. For example, when a new bug is reported in Jira, you can type a keyword to assign the issue to a team member. There are also keyword commands to use the bot for searching for issues, watching an open issue, or “voting” on an issue to prioritize how quickly a bug needs to be fixed.

Get creative with Adoble Create Cloud and Mural

Adobe’s Creative Cloud app lets you share files made in that design suite with coworkers in Teams, and provide feedback in channels. You can also receive notifications when comments are made about files you’re collaborating on. When you click the Creative Cloud icon at the bottom of a Teams message, your most recent Adobe files appear for you to select and share. 

If you use whiteboards with your team, the Mural app helps make the process faster with premade design elements. The app lets your coworkers simultaneously edit a whiteboard in a Teams channel, adding templates and icons that should make collaborative planning simpler, especially for the artistically challenged. You can start with icons, like sticky notes and basic flow-chart shapes, or drag and drop complex templates for planning projects, as well as calendars for prioritizing tasks over a week or more.