Millions of workers were forced out of the office in March, leading to a large migration to cloud-based unified communications and videoconferencing services.
One of the most popular applications was Microsoft Teams. The company said in April it grew its daily active users by about 70% to 75 million, but that number today could be north of 100 million, says Kevin Kieller, digital transformation strategist and co-founder of EnableUC.
In an Enterprise Connect Virtual session, “Taming Teams for Distributed Work,” Kieller said despite the large growth, some organizations may be misusing Microsoft’s flagship unified communications and collaboration app.
Businesses could be misconfiguring, misunderstanding or misaligning Teams’ capabilities with their business requirements. Or, they could be lacking in education and training for end users.
“Microsoft Teams is many things,” Kieller says. “It’s like a Swiss Army knife.”
Those different functions include collaboration, online meetings, videoconferencing, phone systems, workflow automation, social engagement and more.
With a myriad of functions and capabilities, Teams has the potential to be confusing for the average end user, Kieller says. Now, with remote and hybrid work the new normal for the foreseeable future, it should be incumbent upon organizations to maximize their return on investment with Teams.
Why Teams is an effective distributed work tool
Citing different studies, Kieller said productivity actually increased during the pandemic with the help of communication tools like Teams. But, like vehicles, there are many of these tools on the market.
According to Kieller, organizations should adopt and use Teams for these reasons:
- It is already part of the Microsoft 365 and Windows experience
- It’s been proven to be an effective distributed work solution
- Microsoft is rapidly releasing new features and updates to meet that demand an improve the platform
- It’s a true unified communications platform that is meant to be the hub of work
At the same time, Teams may not make sense as the UCC app for every organization, Kieller says:
- Data residency issues
- A critical business feature not available in Teams that’s available in other apps
- Business is still operating locally with on-prem solutions
- Requirements call for basic phone only
- Your business is already aligned with another solution like Cisco Webex Teams, G Suite, Slack or others
If your organization is considering going down the Teams path with Microsoft 365, Kieller suggests IT departments provide continuous end-user training and utilize analytics to determine if the app is being used correctly.
“Taming teams for distributed work – just like taming Huskies — takes for sure experience and effort, but it is well worth it.