Microsoft Teams was made generally available to all O365 customers in March 2017. Since then it has become very popular with its capabilities to bring and bind various O365 features together while providing a chat based collaboration platform for organisations.
Microsoft recently announced that two powerful collaboration tools, Skype for Business and Teams, will be coming together. Teams are built on the cloud infrastructure that is also used by Skype for Business and Microsoft are now further building Skype for Business capabilities in Teams as part of their intelligent communications vision that outlines a single hub for all teamwork collaboration including – chat, voice, video, information, third party apps, documents, AI, LinkedIn, Cognitive and many more.
While Microsoft plans to continue supporting Skype for Business in Office 365 (and on premise), there is a roadmap in place for MS Teams that outlines various Skype features available on MS Teams today and timelines for new features to be rolled out. This provides an opportunity to evaluate potential of Teams (to possibly replace Skype for Business) for your organisation. Teams comes with multiple benefits apart from the magnitude of features it provides to users, Teams is built on scalable infrastructure that increases efficiencies for bandwidth consumption, allows easy upgrades and provides a platform with opportunities to tap into wide range of services including cognitive, machine learning and more.
Each organisation’s journey & process in evaluating new softwares may be different based on various factors. Your organisation may want to run Teams either independently or in parallel with Skype for Business. Microsoft outlines MS Teams evaluation journey as either Unmanaged side by side ( User controlled, Teams as a collaboration solution) or Managed side by side (IT managed, governed and controlled) and the selection of the right option depends upon your organisation size, change history, culture, change readiness and change appetite, IT landscape, helpdesk and support available, existing use and deployment of Skype for Business and many more factors.
Unmanaged side by side options is great for small teams and teams with great change appetite. This needs smaller number of transition steps to get to the end state of Teams only ( of course that is if it suits you’re the requirements of your organisation). Your support teams should be empowered early on to provide that extra support to your users helping support the adoption.
Managed side by side option is the controlled way of rolling Teams and it involves initially identifying the pilot team and defining a scope/business scenarios of what will be allowed (for example your organisation may not allow external third party apps to be connected with Ms Teams in the initial roll out, or catering for a business rule that end users cannot create teams on an ad-hoc basis and enforcing them to raise tickets via their helpdesk – this may require integration with your helpdesk application).
For either of the Guidance or Governance (or a mix of both) scenario we suggest (at a very high level) considering following –
- Take time to review and understand all that MS Teams has to offer (both features available now and on the roadmap)
- Decide if you would have all the features available to your users or would you consider a controlled evaluation
- Define your collaboration use cases (Team Collaboration, Ad-hoc projects or more formal areas etc), these could be outlined at a high level while running a Pilot (of course you may generate many more applicable use cases during your pilot)
- Clearly outline and differentiate between use of Teams, SharePoint Team Sites, Groups, Intranet Portal
- Here is a link to one of our articles outlining what to use when in terms of various collaboration tools.
- Like any other new technology roll out, carefully select your Pilot users to represent your a cross section of your business users
- Review your organisations Information Management framework if it exists.
- Define your success criteria
- Leverage surveys, Net Promoter Score, user feedback and various other available techniques
- Adoption forms the most important aspect of any technology roll out, a focused Change effort needs to be planned while rolling these out Teams irrespective of which option you choose. Microsoft Teams is designed in such a way that organic growth is expected. Change management and effective support mechanisms remains the key for encouraging your users and deciding the right choice for your organisation. (and of course this is a no brainer!!)
It’s very exciting to see that some of our customers at Prometix have already commenced evaluating MS Teams in parallel with their on-premise Skype for Business and validating their Use Cases. We have been working with them particularly in developing the required governance (naming standards, workflow automation, moderation of apps & features, roles & permissions, auditing & reporting) and processes to support their pilot.
About Prometix: At Prometix, we design implement and support Microsoft based technology solutions that help our client’s staff to more easily use and share information as individuals and in teams. We work with our clients to establish a structure that makes information easier to create, store, find and share with others. We’ve worked hard to understand how people want to access and share information.
For more information on our success stories please feel free to call us on (02) 8072 0666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org