Authored by Magnus Eldevik, NTT Communications and Maja Lings Kjelgaard, Arkadin

If you are considering a Microsoft Teams deployment we have one piece of advice: focus on the end-user. With Microsoft Teams stealing the spotlight from Skype, end-users will have a far richer interface to Office365 than before. But even successful Teams deployments can fall short of reaching all parts of the organization. To unlock the productivity gains of digital transformation, organizations must adopt a user-first approach to technology.

From the projects we have done with clients who have deployed Microsoft Teams, it appears that this is not always the reality. By having discussions with end users, asking them specifically about the barriers to adopting Microsoft Teams, there were five that resonated with many. In NTT’s Business Change and Optimisation team, we have since worked on how these barriers can be addressed. The approach that emerged from our insights has informed how we advise our clients on the adoption of Teams and in the process, delivered a stronger ROI.

Integrations, integrations

As an end user, the amount of integrated applications in Microsoft Teams – from both Office 365 and even third parties – can quickly become overwhelming. Considering communication tools as an example, they not only have Teams, but also Outlook, Yammer (and perhaps still even Skype for Business) available.

You can consider creating a “What/Tool/When” approach, to give the end users some guidance on how they can use the applications differently, the most efficient way, depending on your organizational purpose.

Knowledge and ability

Compared to the previous Unified Communications solutions that we have seen – i.e. Skype for Business – Microsoft Teams is bringing a rich set of features that not only supports contacts and instant communication via messages and integrated telephony, but also a complex world of teams, channels, document storage, live collaboration and much more.

When rolling out Microsoft Teams, it might be worth reflecting on whether to pursue a feature-based deployment, focusing on functionalities like messaging and conferencing; followed by telephony; and then address file collaboration at the end. Allowing users to gradually get used to the features, might help the adoption and uptake of all parts of the tool-set.

Risks of deploying without governance

Is there such thing as too much adoption? We see instances of users creating many teams and channels every day, which is a sign of great uptake of the service. However, the more teams and channels a user has to monitor and collaborate in, the harder it gets to locate what you need. Therefore, it’s vital that we communicate and discuss this topic with the end users to ensure the value of quick access to files and information is not diminished.

Deploying Microsoft Teams with governance and policies in place as a business, is one way to address and mitigate a scenario like the above, or consider options like a request-process for creating a team, rather than giving full rights to all end users.

Security in the cloud

Moving all your data to the cloud improves mobility and flexibility in the workplace, but depending on the technological background and previous data storage, you often experience end users raising concerns around the security of their data.

It’s important that we remind ourselves that “security in the cloud” isn’t just a conversation to be had at business-level, but also with end users. Being transparent by addressing these questions from the beginning of the deployment process, will ensure clarity and reassurance for the end users upon adoption.

Let’s ALL collaborate!

Collaboration between people is at the heart of Microsoft Teams – the more people involved and working on documents, the better. Right?

When multiple users are giving their input and editing the same document, it’s not uncommon that important data gets overridden. Extra time is then often spent on recovering that data and combining it with the latest updates.

Therefore, it’s beneficial to teach the end users about best practices for file collaboration. It’s easy to assume that with Microsoft Teams, there’s no longer a need for a version 2, 3 or 4 of a document. In certain instances, it might be worth for all of us to consider, whether we actually should create a version 2 of a document, instead of making a lot of changes to a file owned and edited by others and running the risk of impacting the data and the efficiency of collaboration.

Microsoft Teams supports organisations in their journey towards the modern workplace with a rich set of integrations, features, accessibility and increased collaboration.

But sometimes Microsoft Teams’ biggest strengths can become a potential barrier for end users, when they’re to adopt the service and ensure ROI for your organisation.