Blog_09062018

Get More Value Out of Microsoft Teams

We recently wrote about usage vs. value with Microsoft 365 and highlighted steps organizations can take to increase adoption and value for Power BI, Flow and Planner. In this post, we take a look at Teams.

As we have noted before, Office 365 is more than just Outlook, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint—it’s an integrated system that also includes Skype for Business, SharePoint, Flow, Delve, Yammer, Power BI, Planner, and more. Each app plays a part in the larger productivity picture, and Teams is designed to bring it all together.

Teams offers enormous potential:

  • It brings everything together in one hub—chats, calls, meetings, and private and group messages specific to projects.
  • It enables people to share applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, as well as calendars, files and email—all seamlessly and in real-time. Teams channels can use Connectors to communicate with third-party apps like Salesforce and Evernote. Teams also enables communication with bots—artificial intelligence applications that can complete tasks using chat-based commands.

But employees cannot be expected to figure out the best way to use Teams on their own—they’re already overloaded, overtasked, and struggling to keep up with the pace of technological change. They need nudging and guidance in the form of communication, training and support.

With Microsoft Teams, the greatest challenge will not be getting people to use it—it scored well for usage in the Gartner survey (49 percent) and, as noted above, increased use of technology does not mean increased value—but teaching them how to best use it. Plus, considering Microsoft’s plans to fold Skype for Business into Teams, the need for training and support will become even more critical. Here are a few steps business leaders can take to increase use and value:

Communicate: When implementing a solution like Teams, inform everyone of the change. Explain what the organization hopes to achieve by implementing it, the benefits it can deliver to both the company and to individuals, when the implementation is scheduled to begin, how it will impact employees, and where to get help. Don’t limit communication to just one form: Send emails, hang up posters, announce it on company bulletin boards and intranets. Get people excited about the change.

Teach, reinforce, develop: Provide thorough training before and during the implementation to prevent employee frustration and downtime—and to lay a foundation for change. Focus on building new work behaviors and skills. Reinforce what they learned and develop it further with customized, ongoing training and support.

Assess, tweak, repeat: Don’t wait a year to assess Teams’ usage and value across your organization—continuously analyze it and shift focus where it’s needed. Continue to offer robust training and support to strengthen employees’ new skills and work approaches.

Jen is an award-winning journalist who writes about workplace productivity and technology for Vitalyst. She believes in the power of using plain language, especially when writing about technology, and lists “achieving and enabling clarity” among her life goals.

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