Future Collaboration

July 19, 2019 Claranet Limited

Sharing documents via email inevitably leads to the break down of version control. Instead of efficiency, there are errors and duplication of effort; instead of doing their best work, people end up fire-fighting. That’s not the case with Teams. Teams is a truly transformative technology which allows you to work on a single version of a document in real time with your colleagues no matter where you are, so you’re always up to date.



10 ways Teams can help transform your business

Teams isn’t like other platforms. It isn’t a new app or a complex new system. It’s a way to streamline and simplify everyone’s communication and collaboration, to remove obstacles and irritations and to use the incredible power of technology to make your people’s everyday activities easier and more efficient. Here’s how to bring it into your business the easy way:

1. Prioritise the pain points
Every job has its pain points, the things that make us grit our teeth in frustration. If you can demonstrate that Teams will be the ultimate workplace painkiller, you’ll find it gets a much better reception. As our cartoon demonstrates, one of the big benefits of Teams is that everybody has the correct version of the content they need. 

2. Get the message right
The key to any successful adoption is to make sure you’re putting out the right message, so that people know what you’re doing. Teams isn’t about installing new and unfamiliar technology. It’s about unifying the tools your people already have to help them do more with less effort. As McKinsey & Company explains, very many change programmes fail not because of resources or budgets, but “behaviour: specifically, employee resistance and management behaviours that do not support the intended changes. Between them, these two factors account for more than 70 per cent of failures.”

3. Define your teams
As with any rollout, “Ready! Aim! Fire!” Is better than “Ready! Fire! Aim!” It’s important to identify which teams and channels your organisation will need, and what roles or permissions will be necessary. For example, your finance department doesn’t need access to the marketing team’s resources, but there may be data shared between it and your HR department.

3. Find your champions
One way to ensure Teams isn’t seen as something imposed by senior management is to find champions from every major part of the organisation and get them up to speed first. Your champions’ practical knowledge of how Teams improves things at the sharp end will be invaluable. A champion is someone who’s positive, informed and who enjoys helping other people, and whose enthusiasm for Teams is contagious.

4. Ask for questions
Champions don’t just need training. They need to be given an environment where no question is off-limits and where they can talk about existing practices and procedures to identify the ways in which Teams will deliver benefits in those areas. Regular meetings – which can be virtual ones if real-world meetings aren’t practical – and positive reinforcement help ensure champions feel included in the process and valued by the organisation. That reinforcement needn’t be financial. It could be as simple as praising someone’s efforts or highlighting them as examples of best practice. 

5. Lead by example
If Teams is so good, then, of course, senior people will be using it too. Not only that, but they’ll be seen to be using it, and heard evangelising it. We’re not suggesting you start talking like a Teams advert, but there’s a lot to be said for practising what you preach. If the marketing director is using the same tools and communicating on the same platform as the marketing intern, that says more than any amount of promotional material.

6. Tailor your training
It’s crucial to tailor your Teams training so it’s specific to the organisational roles of the people who’ll be using it. Remember this isn’t a one size fits all product, its personal. It’s a toolkit to empower your people, and how it does that will differ from role to role. For example, sales staff will be very reliant on calendars, meetings and support documentation, while creative staff will spend more of their time using document collaboration and remote workers will make more use of phone and videoconferencing.

7. Know your obstacles
Resistance to change tends to come in several flavours: fear of change; Not Invented Here Syndrome; force of habit; and lack of knowledge. These issues are best anticipated and tackled during the training phase, not during the rollout when they can become entrenched.

8. Get feedback
It’s important to solicit feedback before, during, and after the implementation of Teams in your organisation. Nobody knows the job like the people who are doing it, and what might seem like a minor issue could be really major to the people who are dealing with it. In organisations that don’t already have established feedback procedures, that might involve creating a separate team for employees to communicate with Champions who in turn can liaise with the appropriate senior staff, or it might be an open, company-wide channel that everyone can participate in.

9. Act on feedback
Nothing scuppers faith in management like a feedback system that’s like an unanswered phone. It’s not enough to solicit feedback; the organisation needs to be seen paying attention to it and where appropriate acting on it too. Different organisations solicit feedback in different ways. Some use staff surveys; others regular breakfast meetings; still others use online tools such as Yammer or just rely on internal email. Whichever format you use, it’s essential that the feedback is passed on to the right people quickly, that everybody knows what the process is and what they can expect, and that responses and/or actions are communicated to the interested parties quickly. 

10. Reap the rewards
Identify measurable outcomes that you can use to gauge the success of your Teams rollout and report back to the people at the sharp end. Share your progress and give due credit to the people helping make it happen.

Moving to Teams is the beginning of the journey, not a one-off event. It’s about using the powerful collaboration features in Office 365 as a toolkit to remove pain points, simplify and streamline processes, and empower your employees. Do it right and you’ll reap the rewards anywhere, any time and on any device.

Key takeaways:

  • Teams isn’t a new technology. It’s a better way of getting things done.

  • Successful adoption is all about communicating effectively with your people.

  • Choose champions who will understand how Teams can remove pain points.

  • Tailor your training to the specific roles of your staff.

  • Always solicit feedback, and be seen to act on it.

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