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Is the free version of Teams a good idea?

Short answer for any of our clients – NO!

We received an inquiry from a client recently about how to get Teams setup in their environment. For many clients, this is an easy request – at least for those that already leverage a Microsoft 365 subscription to provide hosted email, as Teams is generally included in any 365 subscription that includes hosted email. However, this particular client is still using an on-premise Exchange server, so the answer was a little different.

As you may find if you conduct a quick Google search, Microsoft makes Teams available for free for up to one-year. However, the no-such-thing-as-a-free-lunch mantra is at play here. The first issue is that so much Teams functionality interrelates to other services within the 365 space that the experience will be woefully incomplete. Gone will be any integration with your contact lists, calendars, or even your company user accounts through integration with your on-premise network. It becomes a painful, manual administration process, and as a result, Suite3 cannot easily support this platform.

Even worse, if a client rolls out the free version of Teams in their organization and then decides to migrate email to that same 365 tenant, all billing and support will have to be conducted by the client directly with Microsoft – Suite3 would be unable to secure or service the tenant on the client’s behalf. To quote from Microsoft’s info page directly, “You have to upgrade to a new Microsoft 365 subscription. Merging Teams free into an existing Microsoft 365 paid subscription [as would be provided by Suite3] is not supported.” As a result, the only best-way to leverage Teams whereby Suite3 can help our clients with support is for those who have made the transition to hosted email as a first step.