Digital Transformation Today

The Time Is Now for Your Microsoft Teams Roll Out: Part 2

Withum is delighted to be partnering with the profile experts at Hyperfish on this four-part. Microsoft Teams series to share with you real world success stories from customers that are already winning with Microsoft Teams; what you need to know and have in place before rolling it out; and the hidden gems of Microsoft Teams. 

Microsoft Teams is feature-rich, we’ll take you through some brand new and lesser known features that can save you time and effort.

In this second part of the series – this article and Part 3 will walk you through a list of steps to prepare for your Teams launch and share stories of customers who are going through these actions right now. 

This article, Part 2, will include:

  •  Defining Your Launch Plan for Microsoft Teams
  •  Understanding Configuration
  •  Setting Up a Pilot

Part 3, includes:

  • Bringing Users into Teams
  • Managing Teams
  • Training and User Adoption

Launching Microsoft Teams in Your Organization

In the first post of this blog series Jeremy Thake from Hyperfish shared insights on the growth of Microsoft Teams, and how it has evolved in the last year.  If you’re still wondering if Teams is right for you, here are some signs you should be using Teams:

  1. You need to email a document as an attachment to the colleagues sitting next to you.
  2. As a project manager, you need to email individual task lists out to members of your team.
  3. You lost the email thread that contained important input from your boss on the briefing you’re preparing.
  4. You and a partner are co-authoring an article, but without a collaboration platform, you need to email the document back and forth to edit.
  5. You are onboarding a new team member and need to dig through mounds of emails and files to get them what they need to get started.

If you identified with any of these scenarios, then you need to get working on Microsoft Teams.

Your Plan to Launching Teams

You’re ready to launch Teams for your organization but are wondering where to start.  Microsoft has a QuickStart to Microsoft Teams article that walks through steps that are recommended to planning your Teams launch.  This article can guide you through a launch plan, in addition, it links to specific Teams’ configuration settings for your reference.  For our customers, however, we walk them through a high level four-step process described below:

  1. Building the Business Case/Creating the Steering Committee – Often a business case is already established in launching a collaboration platform, but sometimes it’s a necessary step to justify why this platform, aside from others in the marketplace, and even within Office 365, may be the ideal fit. Your business case should simply state what Teams should be used for and compare how it relates back to other apps that perform similar functionality.  Creating a Steering Committee is intended to establish the executive sponsorship behind Teams and how governance decisions will get made.
  2. Configuration and Settings – The focus on configuration and settings should be at the Office 365 Administrator level. These settings pertain to provisioning new Office 365 Groups/Creating new Teams, enabling guest access, setting up channel emails and sender lists, allowing users to edit and delete their own messages, adding apps, enabling GIFs, Stickers and memes, and content rating.  With Azure Active Directory Premium, there are additional settings that can be configured for Office 365 Group Expiration policy and Azure AD naming policy.  Both of these features could be very helpful to automate governance within your tenant.  
  3. Defining and Launching a Pilot – Pilots can be very helpful. For mid-size and larger organizations, a pilot can help bring a smaller subset of users into Teams to gather real feedback on use cases and features that can help with adoption, training and governance for the roll out of Teams to the rest of the organization. 
  4. Bringing Users into Teams – Following a pilot, ramping up to release Teams to the larger organization should include a couple of activities: responding to Pilot feedback and applying any needed changes to the configurations and settings, defining Teams usage governance, and creating a training and adoption strategy.

Case Study: Nonprofit Launches Teams to Fill a Gap for Communication

For example, a thousand-person animal welfare organization has people working across the U.S. to further its mission.  Within this workforce there are many different job roles ranging from knowledge workers, animal care, to the front line operating their locations. Some of their users are very savvy with technology and have adopted Slack and favor online collaboration tools when working on documents.  For others, email and phone calls by simply knowing who’s who is the way they get work done.

The organization adopted Office 365 as their digital workplace and is using Teams for collaboration.  For their Teams roll out, the IT and Training teams kicked off with their own pilot of a Teams channel to get to know the product and to put some of their own use cases into action.  This helped with making decisions on the configuration of Teams, as well as governance rules for managing content and the life of a Team.

Some of their configuration decisions include:

  • Limiting who can create a Team to a select group of administrators in IT and lines of business who have completed an Office 365 Groups Creation training course.
  • Adding the Office 365 Group Expiration Policy
  • Adding a Naming Convention Rule for Teams and Office 365 Groups
  • Enabling Channel emails and sender lists
  • Not enabling guest access

The group decided that Teams should be a place for working on document collaboration.Teams-quote-hyperfish  Final documents, and those subject to retention should be stored within document libraries associated with their departments in SharePoint.  App integration would also be permitted following a request and evaluation.

As mentioned, they began with their own internal pilot of Teams for IT and Training but invited a few other groups to the pilot.  One of the groups identified was a smaller working team who had been used to working with Slack.  This group, already familiar with persistent chatting for communication, was able to seamlessly move their conversations over to the Teams discussion interface.  The group also liked the ability to have document storage and sharing capability in the same channel. 

Lessons from the Pilot

Feedback and some lessons learned came out of the pilot.  They realized that not every group would naturally gravitate to using Teams as easily as the pilot group.  Training and coaching with departments and small working groups would be needed for everyone to see correlations in how they work with the new Teams and Channel interface.  They also realized they’d need to get a few more power users up and running on Teams prior to a full roll out across the organization. 

The Teams roll out continues to be a work in progress, but the IT team in charge of the roll out is optimistic and continues to look at ways to be good stewards to the rest of the organization.

More Ways to Prepare for Your Teams Roll Out

This organization’s journey and success in rolling Teams out focused heavily on pilots and working with users in understanding use cases.  To achieve the most out Teams they’ve realized their need to better train Teams Owners and power users who can help their groups leverage the technology.  In the next article in our series, Withum’s Melissa Hubbard, Microsoft MVP, will walk us through additional ways to prepare for your Teams roll out, and include another real-world scenario from our clients.

Need help with custom Microsoft Teams integrations? Contact a Teams consultant online today, or give us a call at 240-406-9960. 

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