The impact of Microsoft Teams on the world of work has been profound; it now forms a major part of many enterprises’ digital workplaces, and a collaboration hub for countless individuals. In fact, it is not unusual for some employees to be spending most of their working day in and out of Teams. Anybody with a digital workplace based on Microsoft 365 needs to be thinking about Teams, and even those who aren’t may find employees are using it when communicating with third parties.
What next for Microsoft Teams?
The growth of remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated Teams usage, and by October 2020, the platform had reached 115 million daily active users. This growth has been so rapid that many digital workplace teams and IT functions may have found themselves with a well-adopted Teams platform that was not initially installed with the planning and guardrails which would normally be in place for such a launch, leaving some necessary governance and formalisation yet to take place. They may also be wondering how they can best utilise Teams going forward now that attention has shifted away from driving adoption.
Some organisations who aren’t quite at this level of maturity, or are still undergoing their Microsoft 365 digital workplace journey, may also be thinking about the best way forward. A Microsoft 365 implementation will likely involve a Teams roll-out in some way.
It’s also worth remembering that Teams is still undergoing investment from Microsoft, with new capabilities emerging regularly. With an aggressive roadmap and many other third-party applications working to integrate with Microsoft Teams, the tool will continue to evolve.
Talking about Teams
We are increasingly finding that existing customers and other professionals from across the digital workplace community are talking to us about what the next steps for Microsoft Teams are, the role it plays in various digital workplace related strategies, and ways they can improve governance.
As part of our Microsoft 365 and SharePoint consulting service, we provide comprehensive advice on different aspects of Microsoft Teams. Here are some of the main themes that customers are talking about, all of which are areas that anyone using Microsoft Teams should be considering.
Digital workplace strategy and roadmap
If you have a Microsoft 365 digital workplace, then Teams needs to be part of your digital workplace strategy and roadmap. The continuing investment from Microsoft, ability to integrate applications, high levels of adoption and potential for value, means that Teams is difficult to ignore. Questions to consider include the possible use cases for Teams, its role in key organisational processes, how it is supported and other themes listed below.
App delivery framework
For many organisations, Teams is now where work happens. This means it is emerging as a key platform for delivering both third-party tools and custom apps created using the Microsoft 365 Power Platform. An app delivery framework involving Microsoft Teams takes a structured approach to defining Teams apps and integrations, ultimately helping employees to work better and smarter. As part of the app delivery framework, the value delivery of bots and automation should also be considered.
Microsoft Teams governance
During 2020, many digital workplace teams and IT functions were forced to roll out Microsoft Teams in a hurry to support business continuity. For the sake of expediency, this means that they may not have employed the usual governance measures which might be put in place on a major launch of a tool like Teams.
Some organisations might now need to be playing catch-up with Teams governance, ensuring that the platform meets any security, compliance and regulatory commitments, but is also optimised for use and findability.
The settings in Teams, both at the platform level and across each Team, allows for considerable levels of governance, while site provisioning processes are critical in order to reduce site sprawl and duplicated spaces. Organisations may also have specific requirements around auditing, for example. Governance is one of the key areas in which we are regularly advising clients on their options.
Digital communications and channel strategy
Teams is primarily a team communication and collaboration tool; it is not necessarily an internal communications tool. However, it is a channel that is hard for internal communications teams to ignore for several reasons, including its high adoption and length of time employees are using it, as well as its ability to consume content and information from other tools. Additionally, new functionality, such as the ability to run large events on Teams, offers new options for internal communicators.
Here, key questions include the role of Microsoft Teams in your digital communication and channel strategy, and, more specifically, the relationship Teams has with your intranet, Yammer and even your broadcast channels.
Meeting rooms and hardware
With Microsoft Teams still continuing to grow, there is an emerging ecosystem that offers hardware that is designed to enhance the Teams experience, as well as help to equip meeting rooms that may involve connecting users via Teams. This includes everything from headsets and webcams, to desk phones and more complex meeting room equipment.
With the new reality of hybrid working likely to be a permanent feature of the way we work, and Teams being a primary collaboration platform in this prospect, hardware can be an important area to consider. A key question is how to optimise the Teams experience both in the office and outside of it; for example, many organisations are now offering hardware such as optimised headsets to assist employees working from home.
Unified communications and telephony
When Skype for Business was incorporated into it, Microsoft Teams effectively became a unified communications platform. This means there are multiple options to consider when using the system (including the hardware you use), including a number of specifics regarding telephony; Teams can have an impact on your in-bound dialling, so how to deal with call-routing, call-waiting and conducting calls when working from home are all themes that need to be explored.
Digital literacy, support, adoption and launch
While the huge scaling up of Teams during lockdown may have moved the focus away from driving adoption, there is still considerable thought that needs to be put into how to best support employees with optimal use of Teams, and how wider digital literacy programmes can train employees to get the best out of the platform. There may also be further launches that are required to facilitate this. Support and training programmes are important in helping get maximum value from Teams.
Many organisations are migrating data, content and collaboration spaces over to Microsoft 365, such as from Jive. This migration may involve Microsoft Teams; here, the details of the migration need to considered to ensure the migration process is smooth and the new environment delivers a good employee experience.
Need advice on Microsoft Teams? Get in touch!
Microsoft Teams looks set to be the main pillar of many digital workplaces for years to come. It is a highly configurable tool packed with a wide variety of features that has the potential to make a real difference at an organisational, team and individual employee level. If you need support and advice on Teams and think you may want to utilise our Teams Consulting service, then get in touch!