On February 9, Microsoft published message center notification MC238782 to announce a new Teams Pro service plan. An eruption of commentary based on guesswork duly happened because Microsoft didn’t explain things very well. The upshot was a February 12 update to clarify what’s happening.
Addition to Existing Office 365 Plans
First, Teams Pro is an addition to existing service plans. No additional purchase is necessary, and the new offering will turn up starting in mid-March. Based on Microsoft’s own definition for service families and plans, Teams Pro doesn’t seem to be a service plan. Leaving Microsoft licensing terminology aside (a confusing subject), the fact is that Microsoft is adding Teams Pro to a bunch of Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plans or SKUs (including E3 and E5).
Finally, Teams Pro is not a rename for the Teams Advanced Communications add-on, needed to organize very large interactive meetings or have custom branding in meeting lobbies.
Control for Features
Second, it seems like Teams Pro is a licensed-controlled capability that can be assigned to accounts holding one of the targeted SKU. For example, just like an account with an Office 365 E3 license can have apps like Forms and Kaizala turned on or off, you’ll be able to turn Teams Pro on or off. In fact, Microsoft has done this before for Teams to license users to access the Common Data Service for Teams (Dataverse). Some users will need this capability, others will not.
Users whose accounts are enabled for Teams Pro will be able to use specific features due to appear in Teams. Some of these features, like being able to organize a meeting with a registration page (MC237807 – roadmap item 66586, published on 4 February and due in early March), are due soon. Microsoft will deliver more in the future. Some speculate that Meeting Insights (already available for OWA) will be included and show up in the Teams calendar app. That might be so, but I think meeting insights are much more likely to be a feature available to all Teams users.
Whatever features are enabled through Teams Pro, the point is that organizations will be able to differentiate what functionality is available to specific users through Teams. Most will have “Teams normal” (what’s available now). Others will be able to do more.
Just for Teams
Teams is forging a new frontier here. There’s no concept of Exchange Online Pro or SharePoint Online Pro licenses to users. For example, Exchange Pro users might be those who need to use features like plus addressing, while SharePoint Pro users might be allowed to change document views. There doesn’t appear to be a move for other apps to embrace the Teams approach. Maybe that’s because their functionality is more settled and stable than the shifting landscape of Teams.
Perhaps it is the case that the blizzard of new features being shipped by Microsoft for Teams is reason enough to allow organizations to control access to some of the more complicated features. And if that’s the case, then Teams Pro is a good idea.