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How to successfully implement Microsoft Teams with change management

How to successfully implement Microsoft Teams with Change Management

Have you ever moved the cutlery from one drawer to another in your kitchen?

My wife did it a year ago as she was feeling that things were more productive this way. For me, that was quite an experience. For the first 3 months, I continued opening the old drawer to find a knife. Even today, once in a while, I continue to make the same mistake when I’m not concentrating on what I am doing.

Our day to day activities are based on a mix of conscious actions and automatism that drives our behaviour. Both need to be taken into consideration when anticipating changes. This is true for me in my kitchen as well as for productivity improvements, such as implementing Microsoft Teams in an organization.

Rolling out Microsoft Teams as the intelligent communication tool for your business is a great idea. It centralizes numerous different tools in one user interface:

  • Your users’ document management (SharePoint / OneDrive)
  • Your users’ collaboration tools (Voice / Video / Live Document Sharing)
  • Your users’ communication tools (Telephony Services / Voice Mail)
  • Artificial Intelligence capabilities to optimize usage on all streams

However, implementing Microsoft Teams is also a big change for the workforce. Just like I was used to finding knives in one and forks in another drawer in my kitchen, employees are used to mastering their day to day activities with multiple tools and processes. As Microsoft Teams will replace and change many of these, companies need a proper Change Management Strategy to get their employees on board.

Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without… a visionDigital Workplace Strategy

Instigating new solutions such as Microsoft Teams in an organization is not only done because it is a great tool (even if it is). It is done because of the tremendous impact these solutions can have on the company’s productivity. To achieve this big advantage, organizations need to have a clear strategy – and share it with the entire workforce.

Sharing the reasons behind the change is key to gain employees’ acceptance. Explain how the change to the new tool fits into your company’s entire digital strategy, why it requires adaptation of some of your central business policies and how all of this will contribute to achieving the businesses’ overall vision.

During the Envision Workshop Arkadin’s consulting experts help you to build this clear strategy by reviewing the alignment of your UC project around Microsoft Teams with your company’s overall vision as well as relevant business and HR policies.

Employees need to be at the heart of digital transformation

Implementing an Intelligent Communication tool like Microsoft Teams needs to be perceived as it is: Not a solution that IT people want to implement, but a solution that will

  • simplify employees’ life
  • optimize communication capabilities
  • facilitate teamwork & collaboration
  • increase productivity

Sharing the “Why?” of implementing new technology, and explaining the benefits for the organization as well as for the employees, is key to achieving these advantages and accomplishing the transformation.

Resistance to change is normal but can be anticipated

So we covered the reason behind the change. I am now sure why my wife considered it to be more efficient to have knives stored in the drawer under the sink. But what if I don’t see the benefit of this change for me? What if I feel that this benefit isn’t worth the change?

This question usually comes up if the impact of the change on a person’s job and work habits has not been taken into account sufficiently during the planning phase.

Change management needs to concentrate on the current situation more than on explaining everything that will be doable with the new solution.

Leading change through human interaction

For example, reassuring users that all PBX features they currently use will be replaced, and showing them the improvements they will benefit from by migrating their phone system into Microsoft Teams (Click to call, integrated voicemail…) is key to gain their acceptance of the tool. But it is also important to analyze the various use cases of the current service and build these into business scenarios and concrete actions according to different personas. (Example: Giving the appropriate headset to desktop users, and other ones to mobile workers.)

Adapting the change strategy to the way people work is hence essential to anticipate potential resistance to change, and eventually validate the transformation plan. To meet this challenge, encountered during multiple project deployments of our UC services, Arkadin’s Change Management teams have developed profiling tools to validate a persona model for each typology of users, supported by an employee survey & matrix.

Managing automatism through training & adoption plans

Now the vision is shared & explained. My wife has clearly presented the benefits of rearranging the kitchen – for the entire household as well as for me personally. The conscious part of the change is covered. But is this sufficient to ensure the success of the project? Well… as human beings, are we always rational? Personally, I have known for years that it is good for me to quit smoking, but it took me time and multiple attempts to finally succeed (for now).

Implement Microsoft Teams with Arkadin Cloud Transformation Services for Teams

In reality, this is where the real meticulous work of transforming peoples’ habits and automatisms starts. Microsoft Teams is user-friendly and a really easy to use service. However, it has plenty of features to discover, thousands of usages and best practices that allow users to adopt the different services. Discovering all of that and getting used to it requires adoption plans and training programs. This needs to be done by professionals with the right level of expertise. The “Do It Yourself” method may be dangerous as users, especially management teams, will only allow one chance to get the right training. Delivering a wrong or incomplete training will have a terrible impact on overall project adoption.

Learning portals can be a great tool to deliver training as the content is well managed and secured. Nevertheless, human interaction remains key to allow empathy and personalized programs. From the numerous UC projects Arkadin has been driving for organizations, it has always been clear that human proximity is extremely helpful to unlock user issues and drive adoption.

My wife, for instance, did not simply write me a note telling me where she put the knives now. Instead, she called me into the kitchen and showed me what to find where. Simple and personal.

In conclusion, implementing high-value Intelligent Communication tools such as Microsoft Teams is a great technological move to increase productivity and drive efficiency within the business. However, success strongly depends on the level of user adoption within the organization. It is indispensable to embed change into every single corner of the business during the transformation. Implementing a new tool is not just about the technology, but all about the people who will use it.

Find out more about how Arkadin can guide you on your Cloud Transformation Journey

Arkadin Cloud Transformation Services

About the author

Benoît Grosse is Arkadin’s Director for Unified Communications & Strategic Partnerships in Europe, leading the European Sales organization to support Arkadin’s customers in their Cloud Transformation Journey to Microsoft O365 as well as strengthening and expanding Arkadin’s partnership with Microsoft in Europe. Truly customer oriented, he has had multiple missions within Arkadin over the past 8 years, such as managing Arkadin’s Global Account headquartered in Southern Europe, leading distribution partnerships with major carriers in Europe, or leading the sales transformation to UC services in Western Europe. Previously, Benoît was managing vendor programs in the finance industry.

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