Accelerated Roll Out Timeline
Like many organizations, we had some eye opening moments as we migrated from Skype to Microsoft Teams. With Skype end of life coming in July of 2021, we knew we needed to make the move. However, the pandemic forced us to accelerate our adoption timelines.
One of the things adopting Teams enabled us to do was to significantly reduce our application portfolio. We had used Zoom/WebEx, Skype for messaging and voice and Outlook for email. We’ve successfully consolidated the capabilities of those tools, relying now on just Teams and Outlook, reducing costs and easing administrative overhead.
The Impact of Teams on our Team
The overall impression has been overwhelmingly positive. Video performance is greatly improved over Skype. Team member behavior has shifted more to video chats and conferences, which is particularly important for team engagement while working from home. Screensharing has replaced some of the ‘walk up’ dynamic, and we’ve been able to maintain good team collaboration on initiatives. The team is even having some fun with custom backgrounds, seeing who can join a meeting with the most subject relevant or amusing background. Most interesting however is how behavior has shifted. Most users report starting their day on Teams versus swimming through email.
Governance in Teams
That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. Governance in Teams is critical to ensure that information is categorized and stored efficiently. Some of our technology principals formed a governance and oversight team to ensure we developed, and then followed, best practices for our organization. For example, “Do we allow users to create their own groups?”. In our case, the answer was Yes, and No. Our users can request a new group through ServiceNow. Once the request is approved by the appropriate manager, we leverage PowerShell to automatically set up the new Team.
Access and Set Up
Access is another factor we had to contend with, posing challenges such as “When do we use a distribution group vs. an O365 group vs. a Team?” We chose to use them all. Distribution groups still offer fast, easy groupings to distribute messages quickly, and using Dynamic Distribution groups lessens the administrative overhead. Also, it’s important to understand that O365 groups and Teams are very closely related. Each Team needs to be backed by an O365 group. The O365 groups are provisioned in the SharePoint online site, which links it to the Team. The display name of the O365 group is used for both the SharePoint site name and the Team name.
Real World Experiences
These experiences have better prepared us to assist clients as they plan their own move to Teams. We can help them migrate to Teams, and our experiences can help them develop a governance model that works for them. We perform administration and help them configure Teams to comply with internal policies, such as data retention.
The Bottom Line
Our move to Teams has enabled our employees to work remotely and has helped us to maintain much of our office culture, which is critical given the current circumstances. If you’d like to learn more about our experience with Microsoft Teams, or if your organization needs help using Teams to its full potential, feel free to contact us.