Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Teams Premium in February 2023 to much fanfare as well as a few criticisms. While the debut of several AI-powered features were received enthusiastically by some enterprise users, the vendor also stirred frustration when it announced some features that were previously free in the standard edition would now only be available in Teams Premium.
The enthusiasm surrounding Microsoft Teams Premium has underscored just how pervasive Teams has become across the enterprise sector. Microsoft Teams is the ubiquitous collaboration hub for Microsoft 365 productivity suite users. Microsoft has done an excellent job of including Teams with its popular productivity products and offered the standard edition of Teams as a free download in 2023. While the free edition is no more, most enterprises have rights to Teams through their M365 subscriptions.
Teams Premium, however, requires an upgrade and is priced at around $75 per user per year under the Enterprise Agreement program. Considering that’s about 20% of the annual M365 E3 subscription cost, buyers need to consider whether the Premium edition is a worthwhile investment. Microsoft highlights several features: Intelligent Meetings, Personalized Meetings, Protected Meetings, Advanced Webinars with support for large numbers of users, and Advanced Virtual Appointments.
Leveraging AI for a More Productive and Inclusive Meeting Experience
From a global user perspective, the most exciting new features of Teams Premium are the AI-powered meeting features, like live translation and intelligent recap. Teams Premium will provide live translation in the user’s native language for 40 different languages. This is offered via Azure cognitive services and is just one example of how Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence capabilities will provide significant benefits. Microsoft also offers Intelligent Meeting Recap – auto-generated chapters in recordings, AI-generated notes and tasks, and various timeline markers for significant events during the meeting.
Microsoft offers customized meeting templates on the Personalized Meeting front to ensure a consistent meeting experience and adherence to corporate compliance requirements. Administrators can brand meetings and customize the joining experience and team backgrounds.
From a Protected Meeting perspective, meeting organizers can apply sensitivity labels to the meeting and any published content to protect information and prevent attendees from leaking sensitive or confidential information. The organizer can also restrict the meeting attendee list, stop the meeting from being forwarded, and control who can record the meeting.
Enhanced Features for Workgroups and Large-Scale Events
Teams Premium was designed to work well for workgroups within the enterprise, but is also more than ready to accommodate larger meetings. Teams Premium supports speaker bios and multiple co-organizers. The new edition highlights a Virtual Green Room where presenters and meeting hosts can chat and stage content before the event begins, and a virtual waiting room where meeting attendees can engage while waiting for the event to start. Event organizers can see content shared in the Green Room and make it, and any associated presenter, live to the meeting participants.
Teams Premium also supports third-party hosting services for extensive meetings – Microsoft offers an Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN) with optimized network performance for video streaming and distribution. The Advanced Virtual Appointment capabilities of Teams Premium helps streamline appointment management and allows administrators to set up and manage scheduled and on-demand virtual appointments.
Buyer Insights for Microsoft Teams Premium
There’s a lot to like about the new Teams Premium, and large enterprises may care most about the security, meeting branding, and support for large meetings – all of which will help the organization offer a truly exceptional meeting experience. But it’s also a real win for the individual user.
The live translation capabilities make Teams Premium a must-have if you’re a global user and the meeting is not in your first language. The intelligent meeting recap and the AI-generated meeting notes will allow participants to focus on the discussion versus thinking about taking notes and to-dos during the presentation.
From a pricing perspective, it’s mentioned above that the cost (EA Level C) is about $75 per user annually. But know that Teams Premium is sold as an additional product under the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. And while Microsoft has been reluctant to offer discounts (yet!) on its new AI products, NPI routinely sees discounts on other products when added to the Enterprise Agreement. We also see our clients successfully challenge Microsoft on non-discounted purchases.
Interested in learning how to get the best deal on your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement? NPI’s Microsoft Cost and License Optimization experts can help. Contact us to learn more.