With 115 million daily users, Microsoft Teams is a godsend for your ‘at home’ workers who need to stay connected to colleagues… and the business. Teams enables staff to stay in touch, in real-time, through virtual meetings and chat.

What Teams doesn’t do is help your workers stay connected with partners, suppliers, and customers. For that, you continue to use Outlook email. And herein lies the problem…

Consider Meghan, an account manager who received an email from a client with a contract proposal and a list of related questions. Meghan wants input from colleagues in Legal and Finance, with whom she talks daily in Microsoft Teams chats. Unfortunately for Meghan, there is simply no way to quickly and easily share that email into the conversation. Until now.

What it Does

Email TeamMate™ - the first and only practical way to bring emails and attachments into Teams conversations, without leaving Teams.

Email TeamMate enables you to do the following, directly from a Teams conversation:

  • Share email with colleagues with a single click
  • Find the right email using a native Outlook interface
  • View and reply to emails from inside Teams

We started with a use case of disconnected conversations between Outlook and Teams. We worked with a UX expert to design the ideal workflow. Using agile dev techniques, cutting edge tools like graphql, we built the app. Then we tested it in the real world with enterprise business users of Outlook and Teams. We incorporated feedback into the product that eventually became the app that was submitted to the Appsource.

Challenges we ran into

Integrating with the bot framework and understanding the architecture

Design an adaptive card so that it is actionable

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Building a Teams app that is both fast and also has a stellar user experience.

Our ability to enable workers to reply to an email message via Outlook, directly from the Teams interface.

What we learned

We learned that the need to provide a smooth integration between Outlook and Teams is critical, specifically for 'at home' workers who need to be able to reach out to colleagues to get help. The ability to provide a smooth user experience keeps people in focus and enables them to stay in 'flow' so they don't lose context. The result is much higher productivity while reducing mistakes and missed opportunities.

What's next for Email TeamMate

Making the right thing to do the easy thing to do is what productivity is all about. Trying to change people's behavior is very difficult, so enabling people to get work done using the tools they already have is critical to enabling people to be effective at their jobs. This is particularly important for people working at home, who don't have intense IT support; enabling these folks to reach out to their colleagues to get help is important for the success of the business. We will continue to provide apps that enable workers to get the maximum value out of their Microsoft tool investment, so they can focus on getting work done.

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