Is your Microsoft Teams deployment properly implemented?
There’s no doubt that Microsoft is making an ambitious move into the communications and collaborations arena. Two years after announcing the release of its Microsoft Teams platform, the technology giant has made it clear it intends to go head to head with Slack. And indeed, it’s enjoying somewhat of a meteoric rise, with 200,000 organizations reportedly using it – up from 125,000 in September, 2017. However, as more and more organizations transition to Microsoft Teams, it is important to examine if your Teams deployment is being properly implemented. Although deploying Microsoft Teams can present its own set of challenges, this guide serves to make your Teams implementation journey a little easier.
There are typically two challenges to a Microsoft Teams implementation: technical issues, and user adoption resistance, so how do you ensure a smooth transition to Teams? Let’s take a look at how to implement Microsoft Teams from a deployment perspective – preparing your organization for the rollout, and some pitfalls to avoid, to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Selecting Microsoft Teams
While popular apps like Slack have a head start in the chat-based communications platform area due to their large array of integrations, Microsoft Teams was built from the ground-up to work closely with Office 365. The tool fully integrates with the Office 365 suite, bringing together chat and communications capability with productivity tools such as Office, and other products.
And since a third of organizations worldwide rely on Office 365 for their productivity tools, Teams offers a clear competitive advantage.
How to Navigate A Microsoft Teams Deployment Correctly
Image Credit: Microsoft
1. Prepare Your Organization for Microsoft Teams Deployment
Before you begin deploying Microsoft Teams, it’s best practice to determine your organization’s technical and legal readiness for Teams. The platform combines several traffic forms:
- Traffic between Office 365 environment and Teams client
- Peer to Peer communications
- Conferencing traffic
Since the amount of traffic you’ll need depends on your environment, you need to ensure that you have sufficiently planned for any bandwidth requirements.
To a large extent, this will depend on which Microsoft tools you currently use. Companies that already deploy Exchange Online and SharePoint online will give users the best experience. In addition, if you’re looking for more details on how Teams works with SharePoint, Microsoft has helpful documentation.
At this stage, you should verify:
- Bandwidth and technical capacity
- Office 365 licensing agreement compatibility with Teams
- Your Office 365 domain
- Identity and authentication models
2. Determine and Organize Teams & Channels
Prior to a Microsoft Teams deployment, your organization should give thought to how to implement and configure Teams for maximum effectiveness. Decide how you will set up your various teams and channels. Essentially, a ‘team’ is a larger overall category which is further divided into communications ‘channels’. You’ll want to decide what each team’s purpose is and how it will be used before assigning groups.
Some best practices for organizing your teams:
- Determine your goals in advance
- Decide which people or groups will be added to each team
- Establish roles and permission in advance
- Start with a smaller number of team members and scale upwards
- Designate multiple owners for each team
3. Become Familiar with Security and Compliance Tools
At this time, Teams uses a variety of security and compliance tools and protocols, and offers a number of ways to configure them depending on your organizational needs. In preparation for a Microsoft Teams deployment and rollout, take the time to ensure you are familiar with the following tools:
- Auditing and Reporting – interfaces with the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center to configure the level of audit reporting logs and security alerts
- eDiscovery – a crucial tool to conduct forensic audits and legal reporting, with an option to choose from In-place eDiscovery and Advanced eDiscovery
- Legal Hold – place a hold on team or group mailbox activity during eDiscovery
- Data Retention Policies – Configure and set up data retention policies for channel messages and communication
4. Adopt a Change Management Strategy
Change can be difficult for an organization; when people become used to working with a particular app or tool, they may resist adopting new products. Ultimately, this boils down to their unfamiliarity with the tool, along with a worry that they will lose efficiency. That’s why a change management strategy is essential: you can explain the benefits, offer training prior to deploying Microsoft Teams, and let users prepare for the eventual switch over.
Your change management strategy should:
- Create advance enthusiasm for a Microsoft Teams implementation
- Select and train a small user core who can act as influencers
- Outline current business challenges and show how Teams can help overcome them
- Ensure new users have access to ample training and support
- Allow users to leave feedback directly and act on it accordingly
Ensure a Smooth Microsoft Teams Implementation
Overall, launching a new deployment of Microsoft Teams doesn’t have to be a daunting task. One of the key strengths of the platform is its unprecedented amount of configurability and control – as opposed to Slack, which offers little direct user control. Unfortunately, the amount of choice you have also means that, depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of your IT infrastructure, it can be a challenge to ensure it’s configured to meet your needs.
However, following these best practices will ensure that you’re well on your way to enjoying all the features and strong communications capability that a Microsoft Teams implementation will deliver.
Unify Square is a global leader in providing Unified Communications solutions helping businesses improve Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams performance. Connect with a consultant to see how Unify Square can help ease your Microsoft Teams deployment.