In our last post we described the core features and capabilities of Microsoft Teams. The application serves as a hub for applications, document sharing and meetings, with a persistent threaded chat feature that keeps teams engaged and informed. Microsoft Teams can easily be customized to meet diverse needs and has advanced security features to protect sensitive data.
Teams offers an easy-to-use interface and many great features that will enhance communication and collaboration. That said, organizations should take a strategic approach when implementing Teams to optimize the benefits and ensure broad user adoption. Here are eight steps to maximize success:
- Ask a lot of questions. A recent Spiceworks survey found that organizations are using an average of 4.4 different collaboration solutions across three different providers in an attempt to meet the high demand for collaboration. In some cases, IT isn’t even aware of all the tools in use. Start by asking end-users what they use for collaboration, what works and what doesn’t, and where there are gaps.
- Bring stakeholders together. Assemble a team of individuals from various departments, including both end-users and managers. Be sure that groups who regularly use collaboration tools are represented. Define use cases for Microsoft Teams and determine the best way to facilitate adoption.
- Make policy decisions. Determine what user roles will be allowed to create teams and develop procedures for them to follow. Decide if you are going to allow guest access, which enables individuals outside the organization to participate in teams. Guest access can be highly valuable, but it does create security risks. Organizations should establish access policies for third-party users and manage guest access accounts through Azure Active Directory.
- Assess the IT environment. The traffic generated by Microsoft Teams will impact the network. Conduct an assessment to ensure that your infrastructure can support Teams and provide a high-quality user experience. Microsoft offers a number of tools to help admins prepare for Teams.
- Analyze your Microsoft licenses and software. Before deploying Teams, you obviously need to make sure that it’s included in your Microsoft license. It’s also important to evaluate the requirements of dependent services such as Exchange and SharePoint. For example, older versions of on-premises SharePoint do not integrate with Teams, so an upgrade may be in order.
- Evaluate and-on components. Teams can integrate with Cortana, the Microsoft virtual assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa. The Microsoft Teams mobile app allows users to join calls and meetings, view and control presentations, share content, and more. These and other add-on components could add value to your collaboration environment.
- Conduct a pilot test. A pilot test in one or two departments offers an opportunity to get users excited about the benefits of Microsoft Teams. It also allows you to gather information about how the system works and how it can be improved. You can then adjust your implementation strategy before rolling out Teams to the entire organization.
- Help users make the transition. Once Teams is deployed, you’ll need to help users transition from their current collaboration apps. Although Teams is easy to use, hands-on training sessions and user guides can help ease the transition. Microsoft offers a Customer Success Kit with email templates, presentations, tips and tricks, and other tools.
Written and composed by Principal, Steve Soper