Microsoft Teams Exploratory is a free trial license that Microsoft has introduced to help new companies and startups get started with Office 365. It gives you access to all the same features as Microsoft Teams, but with a limited number of users. In this article, we’ll explain why Teams Exploratory can be a great option for customers who want to evaluate an app in their organization.
What is Microsoft Teams Exploratory?
Microsoft Teams Exploratory is the free version of Microsoft Teams. This allows you to test the software for 12 months and see how it works before you buy a paid license.
Microsoft Teams is a versatile communication and collaboration tool that the company launched in 2017. It is currently used by over 200 million users worldwide, including companies such as Coca-Cola and Monsanto who have praised its benefits.
Microsoft designed this new communications application as a single platform where users can communicate, share files, and collaborate on projects. It’s simple enough that even inexperienced users can quickly get the hang of it, but advanced users can also set up automatic notifications or bots to automate repetitive tasks.
What’s included in the Teams research experience
With a Microsoft Teams Exploratory license, you can access all enterprise-grade Teams features, as well as various Office 365 services, including:
- Exchange Online (Plan 1)
- Flow for Microsoft 365 or Office 365
- MyAnalytics statistics
- Microsoft Forms (Plan E1)
- Microsoft Scheduler
- Microsoft Search
- Microsoft StaffHub
- Microsoft Stream for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 E1 SKU
- Mobile device management for Microsoft 365 or Office 365
- Office mobile apps for Office 365
- Online office
- Power Apps for Microsoft 365 or Office 365
- SharePoint Online Plan 1
- OneDrive for Business
- Affairs (Plan 1)
- Board (Plan 1)
- Yammer Enterprise
Who is eligible for a license?
To get started, you must have an Azure Active Directory domain managed email address. This means your tenant must have an Azure AD domain or you won’t be able to sign up for the Microsoft Teams Exploratory.
You must then be owned by a tenant with a paid subscription, which means that your tenant must purchase at least one paid seat of Office 365 for Business or Enterprise E3 or later and use it for at least 30 days. If your client does not meet these criteria, they cannot apply for a license.
Finally, you must not have an active Teams license, and you must also not be assigned an Office 365 license assignment policy (the policy that determines who gets licenses). If any of these terms apply to you or your organization, you are not eligible for a license!
How to try the Microsoft Teams research experience
If you’re eligible to try the Teams research experience, you’ll need to manually enroll to get a license.
First, sign in to Microsoft Teams on the desktop app or on the web (teams.microsoft.com). After logging in, you will automatically receive this license. A tenant administrator will receive an email notification whenever someone in your organization launches Teams Exploratory.
From the time a user initially registers, Teams Exploratory will be available as a 12-month subscription to all new users in the organization. This means that the experience end date will be the same for all users, based on the date the first user in the organization signed up for a license.
Experience management for your users
Keep in mind that you cannot initiate a Teams Exploratory Experience on behalf of end users – they must initiate this proposal themselves.
Additionally, administrators must assign an Exchange Online license to their users before the Teams Exploratory interface is available. If an administrator hasn’t yet assigned an Exchange Online license to their users, they won’t be able to schedule meetings in Teams. Other Teams features may also not be available.
Administrators can disable end user access to Teams Exploratory in their organization with Trial apps and services switch. If you want to prevent users from installing trial apps, including the Teams Exploratory service, you can do so in your Microsoft 365 admin center:
- Go to Settings > Organization settings > Servicesand select User applications and services:
- Uncheck hereAllow users to install apps and services‘ box:
What do I do after the end of the 12-month license?
After the 12-month subscription expires, administrators must upgrade all Teams Exploratory users to a paid license that includes Teams. Users will effectively lose access to Teams after the 30-day grace period expires, and all user data will be deleted after 60 days.
If you want to continue using Teams in your organization, it’s critical that you choose one of the following upgrade paths:
- Upgrade your existing Microsoft 365 subscription if your current one doesn’t include Teams.
- Add users to an existing Microsoft 365 subscription if you don’t have enough Teams paid licenses.
- Buy a new Microsoft 365 subscription if you don’t have an Office subscription.
When you upgrade your Microsoft 365 subscription, you should visit the Microsoft website to compare plans if you’re not sure which one to choose. In any case, it would be very helpful if you planned to move your users to paid licenses before expiration so they don’t lose access to Teams after the 30-day grace period.
Should you use the research experience of Microsoft Teams?
The Microsoft Teams Exploratory experience is a great way to try out the app and its features without having to pay for a full license. This allows you to see what it’s like to use the platform and decide if you want to keep using it.
There are several reasons why companies should try out Microsoft Teams with an exploratory license. This allows companies to see how useful the platform can be for them and their employees, and how they want to customize the team communication system. It also allows you to test features like video calls and direct messages without committing immediately (which can be costly). If you qualify for a free 12-month license, you should definitely take advantage of it.