Modern businesses enjoy greater connectivity and better information access than ever before. New tools and resources create endless opportunities, but they also demand new ways of working. Microsoft Teams is a fully-featured communication and collaboration platform that helps forward-thinking businesses to reach their potential. If you want to adopt Teams within your organization, it’s important to plan ahead and embrace a comprehensive migration strategy. Below are some tips for streamlining Microsoft Teams adoption.

Why Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams represents a new way to work with people and information. As one of the fastest-growing tools in the digital world, this exciting platform continues to change workplace behaviors and bring people together through conversations and content. Described by Microsoft as “the hub for teamwork in Office 365”, Teams is designed to be a comprehensive collaboration and communication solution. Teams will soon replace Skype for Business Online, which will be officially retired on 31st July 2021.

By combining a number of applications and services under a single banner, Microsoft has created a more fluid and open-ended work environment. Along with the standard Office 365 apps you know and love, Teams connects hundreds of smaller apps and services.

Based on the Microsoft Power Platform, Teams combines Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI with existing tools and services from Microsoft Azure. From simple chat and meeting tools through to custom app development, Teams is designed to get stuff done through the act of connection.

3 phases of Microsoft Teams adoption

Microsoft has published three adoption phases for Teams, along with an overall framework to help people make the right decisions. Best practices include assembling the right talent, testing with champions and early adopters, and engaging people throughout your business to help maximize value. The following three phases have been identified to help with management of the adoption process:

1. Start – make plans, assemble teams, and assess organizational readiness.

2. Experiment – create champions, gather feedback, and define usage scenarios.

3. Scale – set success measures, implement training, and affirm business engagement.

4 expert tips when adopting Microsoft Teams

Despite the in-built and potential power of the Teams platform, making the most of new business tools is not always easy. In order to benefit from MS Teams adoption, it’s important to identify, integrate, and improve all products and services that are integral to your business. The following four tips are a great place to start:

1. Establish a framework

Developing an adoption framework for Microsoft Teams will help you think ahead and get the most from this exciting platform. While Teams is based on collaboration and agile service management, structured and layered adoption is needed to experience the benefits. While experimentation can work in some situations, pro-active management will always save you time and resources in the long run.

Undertaking an organizational and technical readiness assessment is a great first step, after all, how will you know which features to implement and how deep to go unless you’ve spoken to end-users? A viable product based on user feedback, that simply meets the needs of the user, will fulfill your business goals with the least amount of effort. For Teams, this should include, Chat, Calling, Channels, and Meetings functionality.

2. Implement training and governance

Like any IT product, training is critical in order to make sure your people are all on the same page. Change management requires planning and discipline, with training sessions needed to educate employees before, during, and after the adoption. Whether or not you can inspire people will have a huge impact on your success, so try and excite people before you get stuck into the details. There are lots of Teams training resources out there, including admin training, instructor training, and end-user training.

Closely related to the concept of training is the concept of governance. It’s important to establish and enforce specified rules of engagement so end-users always know what to do. While it might sound counter-intuitive, establishing too many teams and channels can slow things down at the outset, so restrict access initially and stick by your rules. Using some of the features of Teams during training is a great way to get people familiar with the platform.

3. Start small and scale-up

When it comes to adopting Microsoft Teams or any large software suite, it’s important to start small and scale up over time. The ambitious size and scope of Teams can create problems if you try and do too much too soon. Think about adopting teams in a single department or with a small group of users. Even if you’re planning an eventual full-scale migration to Teams, co-existence with other applications and platforms is OK in the meantime.

Building a network of Microsoft Teams champions can help you to lay the foundations of success and create a cultural shift for using a tool like Teams. When it comes to new technology, change often comes from the top-down, with a motivated team of change champions able to inspire other users and offer valuable feedback throughout the adoption process. When you’re ready to scale up, you can incentivize certain activities, roles, or departments.

4. Integration and collaboration

Once you have activated champions across your organization, it’s time to benefit from Teams implementation. Make sure some of your champions are in leadership roles, experiment with support roles and feedback routines, and create outcomes defined by real measures of business engagement. Integrating Teams applications can be challenging at first, as there is a range of communications tools to choose from.

Collaboration is the real beating heart of Microsoft Teams, with effective communication and teamwork essential for most business activities. While Teams features a rich set of communication features and tools, it’s always important to focus on productivity above interaction. Initially, you may want to measure and benchmark adoption successes in order to allocate your resources more effectively. You may also want to develop custom apps and creations to streamline workflows and give you a real edge. Eventually, you can go through your organization and identify additional opportunities/use cases that can take advantage of Microsoft Teams.

Softlanding provides professional and managed IT services across many business sectors. If you want to enjoy the benefits of productivity and collaboration in your organization, we can deploy and implement leading Microsoft Solutions such as Azure, Office 365, and Microsoft Teams. Contact us now for more information or download our Microsoft Teams playbook.

Caroline Blivet
Written By:

Caroline Blivet

As Softlanding's Marketing Lead, Caroline and is responsible for driving lead generation, developing a go-to-market strategy and, delivering marketing campaigns. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys hiking the beautiful trails of British Columbia.

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