How to ensure the successful adoption of Microsoft Teams

by Adam Skovron 

21 May 2021

People sitting in front of a laptop
While Microsoft Teams is mature, credible and ready to be the hub for your organization’s teamwork; there are some challenges that we – as cloud communications experts – continue to encounter. These apply to businesses adapting to new ways of working and those wanting to enable employees to work remotely and productively.
I’ll also give a couple of real-world examples of common pitfalls we often see in our client work. In particular, I’ll focus on problems caused by a lack of understanding how Teams fundamentally changes how people collaborate and communicate.

Microsoft Teams is not a like-for-like replacement for Skype for Business

In part, this is because some clients underestimate what a transition to Microsoft Teams will mean. They view it as simply ‘the Skype replacement’. To be fair this is how Microsoft first talked about it when they launched Teams. As such, it’s unsurprising that this is what a lot of people took on board.

But although Microsoft Teams replaces Skype, it is not a like-for-like replacement. It goes way beyond this, changing the way people communicate, collaborate and how they can be productive.

While it’s vital to understand all the ways Teams can empower your workforce, for a successful Teams adoption Teams, you also need to understand your organization’s culture, and people’s willingness to change. Only then can you look to ensure your end users fully understand the potential of the technology and maximize their use of these new solutions.

Business professionals in a meeting

Example One: No change management program

‘Client A’ is a global telecoms organization, established in around 30 countries. It’s a mid-sized company with around 1,000 employees. They already had extensive Microsoft knowledge and were immersed in the Microsoft 365 suite. They also had Skype for Business – and before this, OCS (Office Communications Server). What’s more, they were using Exchange, SharePoint, Yammer, etc., and had a good experience using the whole Office 365 stack. The idea was simply to transition from Skype for Business on-premises to Microsoft Teams with voice.

On the face of it, they were well placed. They’d lots of previous technical workaround Skype. What’s more, they’d already done most of the ‘being ready’ technical work. The network was also ready. They had everything necessary to cope with video streams, heavy video usage, meetings and so on. They were also prepared for the roll-out of Teams – because when you have Office 365 you can relatively easily transition. And their IT Support was up to speed too. I might argue that they were not perfectly trained, but they certainly had enough knowledge to start the project.

Adam Skovron 

Senior Vice President, Innovation Frameworks & IP Capture, NTT Ltd.