Microsoft Teams is the collaboration solution that not only stands in line with the trend towards a networked and digital workplace but also ensures support for any project communication. It empowers digital routines in the new paradigm and offers a reliable tool for work efficiency.  

Enable communication with MS Teams  

With all its benefits and capabilities, MS Teams can help any company to:  

  • Ensure the internal communication flow is up to date 
  • Manage and share important content between departments 
  • Enforce clear task management and define responsibilities 

One of the main reasons why Microsoft created this platform was to ensure business continuity and work efficiency for companies and individuals worldwide. The old way of working via e-mail often led to stakeholders that were not informed of updates or incomplete tasks. Information had to be forwarded again and again in a time-consuming manner. 

With functionalities like team chat, SharePoint document storage, a planner with simple task management and the possibility to record calls, Teams represents the new way of working. The most important part, MS Teams is a collaboration platform with modern communication and collaboration interface that works seamlessly on all devices.  

Over the past years since its launch in 2017, Microsoft has enhanced the capabilities of Teams by constantly adding new features. As a result, Microsoft has decided to declare Skype for Business EOL starting with July 2021 and migrate all development capabilities and resources to MS Teams.  

As more and more companies enable communication in the Cloud with MS Teams, when considering implementing this communication platform across your business platforms you should make sure that you go through all the steps to ensure that MS Teams deployment is done correctly. 

5 steps towards a seamless adoption plan  

1. Assess your technical infrastructure

Performing a technical readiness assessment is critical to understanding how the platform will meet the needs of your end users. Make sure that you gather the information needed to obtain a user-validated MVP. This should include chat, call, channel and meeting features. Once you have this information, you can expand your requirements during the pilot phase.  

Depending on the amount of traffic the company faces and your infrastructure, make sure that you have sufficiently planned for any bandwidth requirements. This will depend on which Microsoft tools your company decides to use or is already using. Companies that already deploy Exchange Online and SharePoint online will give users the best experience. At this stage, you should verify:  

  • Bandwidth and technical capacity  
  • Office 365 licensing agreement compatibility with Teams  
  • Office 365 domain  

2. Plan your governance and user-adoption phases

A structured adoption plan is a sure way to deliver the best user experience when transitioning. For example, if your company was using Skype, a period of using both platforms can help users understand new features, differences, and additional benefits Teams brings. 

By comparing the user interface and observing how easy to use Teams is, employees will start using it more themselves.   

The differences between the two platforms should be visible as MS Teams has been built on the current Skype for Business capabilities. This means users won’t miss any of the existing features they particularly find useful. 

During the transition Skype to Microsoft Teams it’s important to consider how to protect, secure and govern. Microsoft Teams benefits from the same advanced built-in security, compliance, and management features within Microsoft 365. MS Teams comes with advanced security controls that prevent data loss, information barriers, retention policies, eDiscovery, legal hold, and more.  

Keep in mind that ROI and KPIs should be set when creating the adoption plan. 

A proven effective way to ensure a seamless adoption is creating a dedicated team of users who can test and become familiar with Microsoft Teams first. You will gather feedback immediately and identify the features which help your business ensure a successful rollout. Afterwards, the team can offer support to colleagues as the rollout initiates. 

3. Adoption and onboarding  

The third stage of the project is the adoption and Teams onboarding program. To avoid any disruption and potential implementation challenges, a phased rollout across departments throughout the business is necessary. 

Holding training sessions and creating personas are key steps to your Teams Adoption Program success. Personas will allow you to assess the activities, interests and pain points of your end users. These personas need to be a representative subset from across the company, including different job roles and seniority. Once you have your personas, you can start mapping functionality to help solve specific pain points and onboard the teams with training sessions and feedback rounds.  

There are of course several adoption activities that you should undertake with the implementation such as:  

  • Engage end-users to give feedback  
  • Create collateral and activities to drive awareness  
  • Use data to constantly and consistently measure success  
  • Think about different generations within the workforce  

4. Post-adoption change management strategy  

a. Keep in mind that change can be difficult for an organization. When people become used to working with an app or tool, they may not like adopting new products. That’s why a change management strategy is essential. Your change management strategy should:  

  • Create enthusiasm for Teams  
  • Outline business challenges and how Teams can help overcome them  
  • Ensure new users have access to training and support  
  • Allow users to leave feedback directly and act on it accordingly

b. Get regular feedback. You should create regular feedback sessions for your general user base. They are going to be using the technology so you should also listen to their input. If you don’t have the data, you can’t expect users to embrace the change.  

c. Outline the accessibility benefits that empower all categories of users in your company. Some of them are:  

  • Screen readers to navigate Microsoft Teams  
  • High contrast mode for Teams  
  • Dictation for Microsoft Teams meetings that automatically upload meeting transcripts to Stream
  • Integration with accessibility tools, such as magnifier tools

5. Measure and optimize  

Measuring the ROI of Teams Implementation shows the value rolled out. Chosen criteria and the KPIs you set help you showcase the impact MS Teams is having on your organization to the company's leadership teams.  

By looking at usage statistics within Teams, gaps in user knowledge can be identified. Business scenarios can be created, and certain cross-sections of the organization can be targeted with specific training to help drive usage and consumption of unused capabilities.

Conclusion  

Using MS Teams to empower communication across your company is an answer to the business needs and can support desired business outcomes. Having a stable and secure migration path by following these 5 steps will trigger a powerful boost in company-wide performance. 

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