Implementing Microsoft Teams successfully

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a new flagship product of Microsoft, which will be of central importance in the future. The comprehensive communication platform combines chats, meetings, document collaboration, notes, to-dos and even phone calls – of course, everything also on the road via mobile app. As you may have already heard, even Skype for Business is being scrapped and will be completely transferred to Microsoft Teams by 2021. Microsoft’s vision is to make teams the hub of teamwork and establish it as the heart of the modern digital workplace. So far, Microsoft has succeeded very well. In the number of daily active users, Microsoft has already overtaken its main competitor Slack. In my opinion, companies can reach a new level of productivity with Microsoft teams and put an end to the annoying “E-Mail Ping-Pong”.

To help you get started with teams, here are some tips on how to best introduce teams into your organization. One thing I can tell you right away: If you want your investment in Teams to pay off, it is not enough to simply enable your users to use the platform from a technical point of view. You have to take specific measures to increase user acceptance, to transfer knowledge and to change the communication culture in your company.

My three tips on how you will succeed in introducing Microsoft Teams

 

1. Make your users aware of the advantages of MS Teams

Make different user groups aware of the benefits of MS Teams. If everyone knows what the personal benefits are, this can significantly increase user adoption:

You could mention the following points, for instance:

  • Sales representatives can communicate much more effectively and are better integrated through the mobile app
  • The automatic translation function can help to communicate better with colleagues from other countries
  • Specialist departments can on-board new colleagues much faster because they no longer start with an empty e-mail box
  • The flood of email is decreasing as Microsoft gives teams greater visibility and easier access to relevant information without having to send emails back and forth.
  • Employees who often work on projects with external parties can simply invite guests or join external organizations as guests and thus drive projects forward more successfully

1.     Think about the governance of MS Teams in advance

Especially in larger organizations with multiple locations, it is important to define the framework for the deployment of teams. Questions that need to be clarified in advance are in particular:

  • Overarching tenant settings: You have to define which general settings you want to apply to your tenant. This refers, for example, which external apps and cloud storage services your users can connect to teams. My advice here is to deviate from the default settings and to restrict access from external applications – simply because there may be problems with data protection if your data ends up with third-party providers.
  • External access: You also have to decide whether and, if so, who should have the authority to grant guest access to external users. In my opinion, it makes no sense to completely prevent external access, because your users will probably find another way to share files with external users and you will lose control completely. As a best practice, I recommend a separation between teams that are purely for internal use and teams that can also be shared with external users, e.g. for individual projects with service providers and partners.
  • Team and channel creation: To keep teams organized and to avoid duplication of content, it makes sense not to allow every user to create teams and channels. You can control appropriate permissions via different user groups. You should also control the archiving or deletion of teams and channels. This way, you prevent the proliferation of data and ensure that data that must be retained is not accidentally deleted.
  • Determine naming conventions: The introduction of naming conventions may seem somewhat trivial, but it helps to keep teams well organized. This is especially true for larger companies with multiple locations.

3.   Start with a group of early adopters

Your Microsoft Teams project will succeed best if you roll out one team at a time. First, find a suitable group of early adopters who will be the first to start using Microsoft Teams. Give your early adopters the support they need to get up and running. The “Get started with Microsoft Teams” guide and Microsoft’s video tutorials are great for getting started. Don’t forget to get regular feedback from your pilot group. This will increase user acceptance and help you set the right course for further roll-out.

Conclusion

I hope my tips will make your transition to Microsoft teams easier. From my own experience, I can tell you that working with colleagues in teams is much more fun and effective than with conventional communication tools. The effort and persuasion that you need to invest in a successful introduction will be worth it for you. Let us know if you need support with your Microsoft Teams implementation project.

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Dennis Kionga

Dennis Kionga

Dennis is Managing Director of Cloud Cape, an IT services company that implements and operates future-proof IT security and cloud solutions. He previously worked as a Business Development Manager at Lufthansa Group, where he was responsible for global sales of outsourcing solutions for airlines. He graduated from the University of Mannheim with a Master of Laws (LL.M.). He also holds a postgraduate certificate in Project Management from the University of Cape Town. In his career, he has spent extended periods abroad in Portugal, the Czech Republic and South Africa.

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