When it comes to fostering collaboration and communication in the remote workplace, Teams is the most vital part of your Microsoft 365 deployment.
With the global shift toward remote working amidst COVID-19 and the imminent closure of Skype for Business Online, we’ve seen many businesses quickly turn to Microsoft Teams to support their new ways of working virtually while improving productivity and teamwork overall.
But just adopting new solutions like Teams available is only the first step of many, as there’s no guarantee your workers will actually use it without proper change management and guidance from your leadership team.
To ensure the full benefits of Teams can be realised, you must first lead by example and plan for its deployment carefully, so that it becomes a deeply integrated part of your workplace culture.
In this article, we cover 5 essential steps to adopting Teams to ensure it becomes the flagship collaboration and communication tool in your modern Microsoft 365 digital workplace.
#1 – Determine your technical and infrastructure readiness
Whether you’re already using cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions or just starting to move from existing on-premise infrastructure, it’s always important to begin with an assessment of your environment and technical needs to determine your readiness. This way, you can save time on administrative IT tasks and more time getting your users ready for Teams.
If you have already or are currently migrating to Microsoft Azure cloud to utilise the wider Microsoft 365 cloud office suite, this is the time to review existing productivity and collaboration applications and infrastructure components prior to making Teams available for the smoothest adoption experience. For instance, ensuring Azure Active Directory for identity management is enabled, connecting OneDrive for Business, or completing your Skype for Business migration.
Some common examples to include in a preparation checklist include:
- Administration and Governance: Getting started with Microsoft Teams Admin Center to define administrator roles, tenant and organization settings, setting up processes to handle team/channel ownership and settings, integrating usage and reporting analytics.
- Compliance and Security: Archiving critical business data, data retention, identity and authentication, data encryption, compliance content search, licensing, mobile access.
- Connectivity with Office 365 suite: Assessing existing Office 365 subscriptions, application usage and requirements to bring existing assets and support into Teams.
- Networking and Infrastructure: Remote equipment, WAN connection types and bandwidth, network capacity, user profiling (expected usage), etc.
If you lack expertise or require additional assistance in assessing your organisational readiness, Managed Microsoft 365 providers such as INTELLIWORX Managed IT can help your business understand where you currently sit and prepare the right migration and execution plan to get you started in deploying your tailored M365 tenant, so you can get up and running with Teams solution fast.
#2 – Establish and articulate your migration objectives
It may seem like standard advice, but we commonly speak to prospects and customers that want to accelerate their move to Microsoft Teams or the wider M365 software ecosystem without being able to articulate to us what they want to achieve with their new solution.
- Do you want to modernise your infrastructure as part of a digital transformation project?
- Is it to improve productivity and collaboration overall?
- Is it to adopt a long-term communication and messaging platform for remote working?
- Is it to consolidate your licensing costs?
Whether some or all of the above, taking a step back to document, define and establish your vision for Teams throughout the business will help everyone understand the importance and value of adopting this new solution and will increase the likelihood of its use among your workers, rather than it being perceived as just another technology upgrade for the sake of it.
#3 – Communicate and champion Teams’ unified interface
Microsoft Teams is at the centre of every Microsoft 365 environment – quite literally.
Rather than a traditional standalone application, Teams is seamlessly integrated with the Microsoft 365 productivity stack, and it’s something you need to communicate very clearly to your users. It is effectively a ‘hub’ that brings together different tools in one digital workspace.
Everyday applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as the many Microsoft Azure cloud-based services we take for granted like Azure Active Directory, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, are accessible in one unified interface via Teams, meaning that your people don’t even have to open another window or shift contexts to continue their work.
Surprisingly, this is a capability that is either overlooked or completely unknown to a large majority of users. A common mistake we see occur is the positioning of Teams to workers as merely a group chat or file sharing application, when it offers so much more for collaboration.
Take the time to research the many ways Teams helps unify application access to the M365 stack, whether it be through its lightweight Tabs function or its third-party app connectors, and educate your users’ on the possibilities it can bring as a hub for all the apps they use for work.
#4 – Familiarise the business with using Teams channels
The channel system in Microsoft Teams is designed to bring together previously siloed communications and sharing of resources into easy-to-access groups. These groups display channel-based conversations public to all who have access, uploaded files, task lists, calendar and more, yet oftentimes many of these features are underutilised by Teams adoptees.
Remember that email you sent to one colleague with a critical report attached, or that task you set for a group, or that Skype messaging thread about a project that needs to be actioned?
Whereas in these typical scenarios, your workers may unintentionally be restricting access to important data, or missing tasks or lacking conversational context due to them using multiple different mediums such as different instant messaging apps or confusing email chains, Teams can help streamline their disparate communications and bring related content into one place.
Of course, it’s not helpful if your employees don’t know about it, so spend the time necessary to get them up-to-speed. Also ensure channels for each specific workspace are well organised as well or you risk your employees becoming overwhelmed and revert back to old habits.
#5 – Find the right partner for ongoing support
From assessment to migration to design and deployment, the journey toward adopting Microsoft Teams isn’t like your average standalone application. The best way to guarantee a smooth transition and long-term success is to partner with a trusted managed services provider who can provide ongoing support and management of your use of Microsoft Teams and the wider M365 suite.
INTELLIWORX Managed IT are certified Microsoft Silver Partners with technical teams in Sydney, London and Auckland that provide 24/7/365 support during your adoption of Microsoft Teams. We’ll partner with you get started, configure your important business tools such as email, contacts, Teams and more, and most importantly help align your needs with the solution for best results.
Contact our Managed IT team for more information on how we can assist your business in migrating to Microsoft Teams.