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December 11, 2018
By Elaine Murray, Arkadin
The introduction of Microsoft Teams into Office 365 is creating clear business benefits, offering a simplified IT system with centralized management, built-in security and compliance features and the potential to maximize customer productivity. Microsoft Teams also has the capacity to enrich employee’s teamwork experience, enabling effective collaboration and driving greater business outcomes.
While Microsoft Teams isn’t the only collaboration software game in town – see Cisco’s Webex Teams, Slack, Google Hangouts and others – it was expected to have 33 percent of the market by the end of the year.
Every organization is unique, but common trends around employee expectations and work culture are becoming evident across the board as workforces seek more collaborative environments, a deeper connection to the work they do and a greater sense of purpose. As trusted advisers to an organization, it’s the responsibility of the service provider to identify and offer the best technology solutions with the most suitable deployment approach.
Implementing new software is more than just a technical challenge, it is a people challenge, with 50 percent of U.K. business leaders claiming that employees express fear of change when digital transformation initiatives are introduced, according to Microsoft research. Providing effective end-to-end change management to your customer while introducing Microsoft Teams will empower individuals, enhance their teamwork experiences and drive a successful digital transformation.
Consider these best business culture practices for a service provider to ensure end-user awareness and adoption:
1. Build the right team to consult on complexities. Before anything else, it’s the service provider’s responsibility to bring together the key stakeholders, senior team members and technology champions in an organization and begin to build a trusted team to help with later stages of implementation. It’s important to make sure that a cross-section of people and departments are represented to ensure feedback from a range of perspectives and pain points. IT professionals can provide insights on health, security and operational capabilities of the organization, while senior business users can focus on specific scenarios and how they envision the role of the service provider in contributing to wider company goals.
Once the team is briefed, help to establish the individual roles and permissions of each team member in advance, and more importantly, create early enthusiasm. It is key that employees understand how this new technology will improve their work life and get excited about the prospect of being in the heart of this deployment.
2. Prioritize business scenarios for accurate planning. To ensure strong foundations for a digital transformation strategy, it’s important to communicate that implementing collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams is centered around the user. With the help of the internal team, discuss the different scenarios and potential pain points of the business and end users, rather than just focusing on functions and IT solutions. It’s important to know how each team and department works in the organization so you can design the most meaningful and effective deployment strategy for each group.
Ensure that the workforce is highly engaged in the process of defining business risks that are company- and employee-specific to create an accurate picture of concerns and how your change management strategy can address them. By investing efforts in determining business goals and keeping team members in the loop, your customer can be sure that …
… employees feel valued, which will help move the needle toward a more successful rollout.
3. Prepare and support technical deployment. During a technological transformation, supporting the development of an efficient technical plan can enhance the user experience. Having a clear idea of the practical implications of introducing a new technology into different businesses will minimize the chance of obstacles and dissatisfaction.
To ensure a smooth transition, the service provider should assess the technical readiness of an organization for Microsoft Teams — review the current infrastructure, identify the key requirements and plan for future developments to ensure a successful delivery. This will help the customer understand what processes will need to be completed in good time and what expert training will need to be provided to guarantee the technology is used correctly. Be sure to prepare a plan for ongoing support that reaches beyond the deployment phase.
4. Complete trials and assist with on-boarding. Conducting initial pilots across different departments, in collaboration with key team members from the organization, is important for gathering information and valuable insights into how your customer is receiving Microsoft Teams. Listen closely to feedback and then make the necessary changes when planning for the broader deployment. Align the implementation plans with business priorities and provide guidance for employees across all platforms to increase usage and satisfaction however employees choose to use the software.
5. Measure and manage ongoing support. Empowering collaboration and positive culture change is always about more than just technology, and deploying software isn’t the only thing to drive digital change in an organization. Be sure that the focus always remains on the user experience. To do that, provide project management that includes listening to concerns and keeping communication channels open, steps that help providers make changes to deployment plans as needed. Reward those who are embracing new ways of working and celebrate wins with the whole team to keep enthusiasm and engagement levels high.
As a service provider, we know that deploying new technology into the workplace doesn’t need to be a stressful undertaking. A key strength of Microsoft Teams is the unprecedented levels of configurability and control it provides. Providing project management that follows these best practices will ensure that user adoption challenges are overcome, enabling your customer to enjoy the collaboration and communication benefits that Teams can deliver.
Elaine Murray is global marketing manager at Arkadin for Microsoft Intelligent Communications. She began her career in IT in 2005 as a marketing specialist for an IBM partner and most recently was head of global marketing at Applicable when it was acquired by Arkadin Group, an NTT Communications company. Elaine has been Arkadin’s global marketing manager for Microsoft since 2017.She is an active volunteer for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and is passionate about bringing people and ideas together through collaborative technologies. Follow her on LinkedIn or Twitter @ArkadinServices.
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