At Insync Technology, there’s always one piece of advice we give to organisations wanting to transition to a modern workplace: invest in Microsoft Teams.
The reasons? We use Teams both internally and with clients. We think it’s essential for keeping projects on track, our customers informed and driving clarity across internal and external staff. We see, on a daily basis, how powerful it is for keeping everyone informed and on the same page.
In this blog, we look at how we use Microsoft Teams for service delivery and offer some tips for organisations who might want to start using Teams.
Our day-to-day work – and how Teams helps keep it on track
Insync’s work falls into two main areas. The first of these is projects – working with clients on implementing new solutions or upgrading existing solutions. With projects, Insync follows a formal process, with a set of criteria and methodology.
The other area is managed services. With this, someone raises an issue either proactive or reactively, and Insync work to fix it.
Our team has been using Microsoft Teams for service delivery for about a year, and is employed extensively with our cross-functional delivery team as well as specialist resources for projects and highly strategic work.
“With the maintenance and operational side of things, we have to work out whether there’s a trend across different environments or if the issue is isolated to that individual location,” says Insync’s Russell Kowald, Principal Consultant – Modern Workplace.
This is just one area where Teams can be beneficial.
“When an issue is fixed, it could be that we discover something that could help others. But if it isn’t communicated properly or it gets lost in the noise, you can end up constantly reinventing the wheel,” says Russell.
With current projects, Insync create a customer facing Team on Microsoft Teams. It has a lifecycle for the duration of the project, and is then archived. That way, if anyone has a question or needs to look back at a project element, they can look at the archive. This is in the process of being automated from our resource planning and management software, ConnectWise. So from the word go, when a project is created, it automates the creation of the Team, associated artefacts and integrations, so our team can jump in and start work on the project immediately rather than be caught up in administrative overhead.
With Teams, instead of having phone calls and emails, everything is brought together in one location. People can be redirected to Teams if they start to communicate in other places.
“The Files tab is really useful,” says Russell. “You can share files and have conversations about those files. Even if you go outside of Teams it is very easy to bring it back into the Team and ask for feedback or collaborate.”
The benefits of using Teams
Organisations typically start thinking about using Teams when they adopt remote working.
“For companies that don’t use Teams and have remote working, there’s no communication between the people outside and inside the office until those outside the office come back,” says Russell. “Teams creates a virtual workplace where you can have the same interactions and discussions you’d have if everyone was in one place.”
If an organisation has used Skype for Business or another type of collaboration tool before, the transition to Teams isn’t too challenging.
“The biggest change is around the files and collaboration,” says Russell. “You don’t just store a document in SharePoint and tell someone to go look at it. It’s a single file everyone can work on at the same time. There’s no emailing backwards and forwards, no different versions and revisions living in different places – its in the same place, every time.”
At the moment, Insync is working on a project delivering Telstra Calling for an organisation. Between Insync and the customer, there are eight people in the team.
“We’ve divided it into multiple channels,” says Russell. “We found there is a need for creating a separate channels for training and internal communications because different people are focused on that side of it. That way you can filter out the ‘noise’ for those who aren’t involved. Everyone has visibility if they need it but they can focus on their elements within their channels.”
Top tips for using Teams for service delivery
Based on using Teams internally and with clients, Russell has the following tips for organisations planning to introduce Teams as they transition to a modern workplace.
- Without a well-defined information architecture or management of documents, people might start to create their own teams, which can confuse things. Structure your teams in advance and ensure you filter out ‘noise’, mute chats etc to keep all the conversations in the right places.
- Familiarise yourself with how Teams works before you start using it – don’t throw yourself in at the deep end.
- Prepare for change – because Teams is a Microsoft product, it’s constantly evolving. This is both a positive and a negative. It’s positive because your team can take advantage of the improvements; but negative because your team can experience change fatigue. Plan a change management strategy that can easily be replicated for any new or changing feature.
- Actively encourage your team, customers and clients to circle back to Teams any time a conversation starts outside its walls. Leading this from the top will drive adoption and increase collaboration, but it needs consistent motivation.
At the end of the day, Microsoft Teams has only been around for two years, so it will change a lot! It’s still a powerful new product, well worth investing in.
As Russell says,
“We have two projects running at the moment, one is using Teams and one isn’t due to some restrictions on the customer side. I feel a lot more comfortable with the project that is using Teams. I can ensure everyone is on the same page.”
Interested in Microsoft Teams for service delivery?
Not sure how to implement it in the way that’s right for you?