As more large organizations migrate collaboration and telephony services to Microsoft Teams, Enabling has seen patterns in non-technical organizational challenges. This blog outlines some of the trends that we're seeing, as well as some techniques to optimize project success and long-term satisfaction.
Branding the project: What’s in a name?
Dial tone is a God-given right. Since phone systems are changed infrequently, people will resist change. When they view Teams as simply a replacement for their old phone, they fail to see what's new and what’s possible. They’ll also ignore training and open more help desk tickets.
On the other hand, successful customers talk about how Teams has changed the culture of the organization (see Bright Horizons' case study). They succeed by creating a brand name for the project and help end-users see the big picture. They don’t simply reference an “Office 365” or “Teams project.” Using the software name pigeonholes the message, and leaves users open to preconceived biases about a product. Brand names that we’ve seen work include “inTouch,” “Connected Revolution,” and “Collab2.0.” You can use something catchy to tie in your organization’s name (“ContosoConnect”) or a mission/value (“Better Together”).
Through your brand, create visual and written communication to get people talking. More than a software rollout, this journey (when done correctly) can change your culture for the better.
Resource Planning: FTE estimates
A major impact to ROI and future planning is headcount. The cloud shifts an IT pro’s role from managing infrastructure and systems to managing services. If your organization hasn’t yet truly operationalized Office 365, consider defining owners of each service, and assigning responsibilities for each. Service owners carry a bigger role than system admins. Our prior blog provides more recommendations.
Even if your organization has already operationalized Office 365, adding Teams voice will still impact resources. We typically see Skype administrators move on to own Teams. If a third-party phone system was in use, those skills are somewhat extensible to Microsoft Teams, although having knowledge of O365 Groups and Teams governance settings are also critical (see FAQs). Often this muscle can be built after some specific training and by working with Enabling’s engineers during planning and rollout.
In organizations larger than 500 people, we typically see a full-time staff member handling Teams and Teams voice. We've seen organizations as large as 7,000 handle Teams with two staff members, while also looking after other apps. There is a surge in project management and hands-on resources during rollout. Plan for more than you think, in both headcount and training time to get competent.
For early adopters, a drain on resources has been the manual labor of administering simple tasks. Now, there’s an ever-growing set of Microsoft PowerApps and PowerShell scripts available. Building automation in from the beginning will ultimately save resources and money. Savvy organizations customize existing PowerShell scripts created by partners and/or MVPs, and find PowerApps libraries on GitHub.
Shift Support Left
We regularly meet with organizations whose adoption ramped quickly, but whose operating procedures lagged. In one memorable case, a large manufacturer had a single tier three resource with 30+ help desk tickets assigned to them. The individual lamented being unable to proactively continue their successful migration because they were so busy troubleshooting.
Savvy organizations support the ITSM concept of “shifting left.” They engage their help desk and tier two resources at the beginning of the project. Having named delegates as part of the core team allows them to be trained, develop standard operating procedures and automation, and build a sense of ownership. Successful firms then ensure their learning is propagated through to their teams. Enabling endorses train the trainer sessions to facilitate this trickle down. If time/resources aren’t spent building the right support model, all user triaging will get escalated to the solutions architect or service owners, aggravating all parties involved.
Decision Making: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward
Teams covers many IT facets from retention and archiving of instant messages to protecting confidential documents from guests. Inevitably, tough decisions will need to be made. Enabling has seen large organizations completely stop their projects to debate whether fundamental decisions.
- Which features and functionality to enable
- When to onboard executive VIPs and their administrative assistants
- Which person or dept owns what aspects of the system
Successful organizations keep projects moving through sticking points with a decision-making process. It’s best when kept simple, with a goal of minimizing the decisions that need to be made by busy execs or a large panel of interested parties. The spectrum below shows how simple decisions should be shifted left to first-line workers, and how more impactful decisions need to be escalated.
To improve ROI and user satisfaction, optimizations must be made throughout the lifecycle of operating Microsoft Teams. Here are three key takeaways as your organization heads down this path.
- Engage a broad team of interested stakeholders from HR, corporate communications, information security, legal/compliance, help desk, and IT service owners. That way, your branding, communication, automation, and support can take shape early in the process and minimize fumbled handoffs.
- Empower the team to make certain types of decisions on their own, but have a simplified escalation and decision process to handle exceptions.
- Shift left by using automation and well-trained operating procedures that can be executed by help desk personnel, freeing your service owners to continue to improve the service and user satisfaction.