Organizations everywhere have switched to new ways of operating. Remote working is new norm as a result of the ongoing health crisis.
It’s been a learning curve for many businesses. Some have sought to accelerate their existing plans to transform how they communicate and collaborate. Others are having to jump in head-first to a new digital reality.
Microsoft Teams, the ideal choice for remote working
Finding the right way forward can be challenging. Enterprises need a solution that provides business continuity now, and yet also provide the right framework for the future. For many, Microsoft Teams is the ideal and logical choice. This modern collaboration solution is natively integrated with the Microsoft 365 suite but also more than 450 other apps. It’s perfectly tuned for efficient and productive use by employees wherever they are. And ideal when your workforce is remote working.
But if it’s all a leap forward into the unknown, how do you get started? How do you equip everyone in your organization? How do you lead the way forward, and ensure that you have launched safely, securely, with the right set up and necessary procedures in place?
A very relevant example is considered below. It illustrates how we helped one organization here in the UK to achieve their own rapid roll-out of Microsoft Teams. It couldn’t have come at a more crucial time to aid their business continuity.
Day One – the initial discovery call
In the UK, the lockdown to try and limit the spread of Covid-19 was announced by the government on Monday 23 March. That same day, our partner Microsoft called us, asking if we could help their client.
The business in question has hundreds of customer-facing locations throughout the UK. These are all essential and are remaining operational during the lockdown due to their essential role serving health workers and other keyworkers. The client needed to quickly find a way to connect their head-office workers – a cohort of more than 500 – and enable them to efficiently communicate and collaborate.
Within one hour of that initial contact, we had arranged and conducted a discovery workshop; a three-way call with Microsoft and the client’s IT management team. Thanks to their existing investment in Microsoft 365 licences, activating Teams for everyone was always going to be a quick and easy win, but to make it a successful launch, the client needed expert guidance on not just a quick roll-out, but an effective and secure one too. With speed of the essence, it was agreed to progress to a Teams Workshop Assessment for planning and implementation.
Establishing the requirements
Ongoing discussions enabled the exact requirements and considerations to be clarified, and these can be summarised as follows:
- Activate Teams for employees as soon as possible
- Establish governance plans before users are activated
- Issue a security plan for the use of Teams
- Communicate and educate the user base on main functionality
- Enable the client to understand the technical underpinning on the platform
- To date, the only active users in the business were the IT team
- The majority of users are largely unfamiliar with Teams or collaboration software
- The IT team’s need to monitor usage and adoption as part of the roll-out
- The technical department’s need to support and manage this in future
- How the solution could be used for the client’s long-term strategy, post Covid-19
Day Four – the Teams Assessment Workshop
Just three days on from that initial call, the Teams Assessment Workshop took place, on Thursday 26 March. This was delivered – not surprisingly – using Microsoft Teams and focused on Governance and Change Management.
In usual circumstances, our Organizational Change management team take a root-and-branch approach when working on a new Teams deployment with a client. They get to understand the structure of the business, how people work, and the workflows and processes involved. With this attention to detail, they then can create a strategy, work out the roadmap, and deliver best-practice guidance.
It may typically require several days’ work to cover the terrain. It covers programme design, change management, data governance, and the ongoing continuous delivery of services. In this case, to meet the ‘need it yesterday’ demands, the team delivered a stripped down version of the programme in just one day.
Getting it right
The main problem is that without any governance in Teams, you will get uncontrolled usage. You can end up with a ruinous, anarchic data sprawl. Duplication. Unrestricted file sharing and access. Data and privacy concerns. Confusion and chaos. On the other hand, if you lock down too much from the outset, users may complain that they can’t get things done as they ought to be able to.
Our task was to try and get the balance right. The team achieved just that via a ‘crawl-walk-run’ strategy. This meant the client could put in place a collection of best practice protections from the outset, and still ensure people can work effectively and productively. There is then room for incremental improvements to be introduced as the IT team and users adjust to the roll-out.
Day Six – full report delivery, ready for remote-working roll-out
Following the Teams Awareness Workshop, we delivered a full report to the client within two further days, (Saturday 26 March). We covered all the essential bases, providing the expertise and guidance required. They were able to roll out Teams to its core 500 knowledge workers and achieved this well within the two-week timeframe they’d originally identified as optimal for success.
Working closely to fully realize the benefits
We were delighted to launch Microsoft Teams with the client in such a very short space of time. Our rapid response for business continuity did exactly what it set out to do and, as a result, the client has the solution they need. It’s given them business continuity now, and the right framework for the future with all the suitable guardrails in place!
Our involvement didn’t – and – doesn’t end there. We continue to work closely with the client so that the business and its employees can fully realise the benefits of Microsoft 365 and the ever expanding capabilities within Microsoft Teams.
And we’re here to support you too.
Learn more about how we can activate Microsoft Teams for your organization. Our remote readiness assessments provide experienced guidance and access to our experts to get you enabled on Teams in a very short period of time. And depending on your needs we can help you get the most out of Teams to fully enable your remote workforce by turning on Voice.