How expert support can help you make more of Teams

With so many people working from home, the COVID-19 lockdown has dramatically escalated the use of Microsoft Teams. However, we believe this growth would have eventually happened anyway, when you consider how valuable this flexible collaboration platform can be for organisations.

The benefits of Teams were spelled out in a Forrester report last year: For a 3-year outlay of $3.3M (this was for all of Office 365, not just Teams), Forrester saw benefits of $30M. So, for every dollar spent, the return was almost 10-fold. These cost benefits covered a range of areas – less time wasted in meetings, reduced business trips, better use of business applications, faster onboarding, as well as improved communications and collaboration.

Benefits all-round

Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, the benefits were not just enjoyed by desk workers – gains of $675K resulted from better collaboration by front-line workers alone.
However, the urgent manner in which organisations have hurriedly adopted Teams has inevitably encouraged them to overlook some of the key questions that need to be asked if they want to make full use of this flexible platform. In this blog, we take a closer look at some of these questions:

Is your Teams set up in a secure and safe way?

To answer this question properly, we need to take a look at how your Teams is being managed and how it’s been configured. Understanding your Teams environment will help you establish if the platform is set up securely and structured correctly for future growth.
This isn’t just about IT security, it’s also about whether people are using Teams in a way that keeps data safe, and whether it’s been set up in a way that supports both users and the business.

There’s a balance needed here – too much governance will discourage adoption and innovation, too little could lead to confidential documents being inadvertently leaked and a sprawl of Teams where no one can find anything.

Have you considered business-focused governance?

No? Relax, Resonate has a business-focused governance template that can help here, guiding you through all the necessary basics to deeper data compliance issues.
Some of the key things to decide at the start are issues such as: are ‘guests’ (i.e. people from other companies), allowed into Teams and Channels? What file sharing rights are in place, and, if Enterprise Voice is enabled, are calls to premium or international numbers allowed?
From a Teams structure point of view, the questions to ask are who can create a Team, who can create a Channel, who can delete a Team and is there an agreed approval process in place? Without some sort of controls and processes, there’s a big risk of too many Teams being created resulting in a lot of duplication. This will only result in data being lost. If a Team is deleted, for example, so are all the documents stored in it. The SharePoint site associated with Teams do back these up, but only for a short period.

There’s plenty more to consider here when we look at data: where documents are stored, file naming conventions, expiry dates, tagging and taxonomy. The aim is not to create a draconian governance, (some of us may have experienced similar in SharePoint intranets), but, rather, to create a ‘digital employee experience’ that is easy to use, intuitive, and even enjoyable.

Still weighed down by too many emails?

Finding out if there is still too much email traffic and communications noise in your organisation, is once again a case of simply asking people. The question to ask here is if Teams is cutting down ‘noise’ and being used for effective communications and collaboration?

Teams should be helping to reduce e-mail traffic and this will help with knowledge management. With Teams, documents can be found more easily and relevant expertise can be identified more quickly.

Tackling this area is rarely easy and never quick – it’s an ongoing exercise and one best done in partnership with internal communicators or whoever sends out all the company news. In a smaller company that might even be the MD!

Work with them, agree on the best channels to use for news and updates and define what success looks like. This might be a mix of e-mails, Teams and Yammer communications; it could be a lot of mixed online and offline communications, or it could be a complete shift to Teams. It will vary from company to company – the main thing is to agree on the aims and approach early on, and then stick to them.

Are your Teams meetings as effective as they could be?

Teams Meetings are another key area you need to fully consider. You need to understand whether Teams’ meeting functionality is being used effectively, in a time-efficient way. Is the Teams calendar being used to set up meetings and find free slots where all attendees are available? Is the quick and easy ‘Join’ button being used in Teams or are attendees going to Outlook calendar to get meetings details? Are documents for the call stored ahead of the meeting? Are attendees using the built-in ‘Notes’ tool for logging decisions? Does everyone have the ability to use video, and if needs be, to customise their backgrounds?

Taking this further, are meeting roles understood and being used? Do those running larger meetings know how to mute an audience to cut background noise and can they easily switch ownership during a meeting?

Are you using analytics to track progress?

The information and insights gained from asking these sorts of questions are an essential way of understanding where your organisation is on your Teams journey. Ideally, all this information needs to be backed up with hard data.

The details to establish include: how many people in the company are using Teams on a daily basis, how many Teams and Channels have been created, how many meetings per month are being held, who are the top users and where are they based?

To discover answers to all these questions requires an analytics capability. Office 365 comes with a degree of reporting out of the box, and with a lot of data in the system. But for a deep dive into this data to provide meaningful, actionable insights, you need more developed analytics capabilities.
Having a dashboard, where all this information is presented, is a great way to share successes with not just management teams, but also all your colleagues using Teams. Resonate works closely with analytics tool providers and uses Microsoft’s Power BI to conduct in-depth reporting on Teams uptake, adoption, and usage. We can also share Teams best practices on reporting dashboards and BI.

Did you know how much Resonate can help with all this?

The discovery audit of where Teams is at in your organisation, looking at noise and e-mail usage, reviewing Teams meetings, creating the right level of governance, and setting up the Teams structure correctly are just some of the things that can help create the right foundations to grow and succeed with your Teams rollout and adoption.

If any of this seems daunting, please get in touch.

At Resonate we have dedicated Teams experts who can help you in all these areas, and more, such as Enterprise Voice for Teams, Change & Adoption and training. To support Teams adoption and change, we have created some Teams Accelerator Packs to guide you through these areas. Please fill in the form below to download details of the packs.

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