It’s an exciting time at Microsoft, as they converge all unified communications to a single platform. New Microsoft cloud voice and collaboration program Teams will unify Office, sharing and planning with chat, video conferencing, and voice services. It’s a whole new world for corporate productivity and collaboration. But it’s also bringing a fair amount of change and some angst.
Sometimes big changes deter adoption. Change scares and annoys people. In order to nudge it along, Microsoft is already doing away with the option for using Skype for Business with Office 365 as they migrated existing clients to online Teams platform and we’re on our last version of on-premises Skype for Business. So, if you have it in the cards to move to Microsoft’s cloud voice program going forward, you have no choice but to adopt Teams. And if you have an on-premises version of Skype for Business, its days are numbered, too.
If you are staring down the barrel of a Teams adoption, here are a few things we urge you to consider:
There are still very few handsets on the market today that are Teams ready. AudioCodes, Yealink and Polycom have models that will work, and only a few that are fully Teams integrated. Choose wisely or find a partner (like us) who can help. Before you make the leap, make sure that the handsets you want are available, supported and will provide the features you need. Teams-enabled phones have unique features. It’s not just a phone anymore.
Or do you even want phones? Many organizations today are ditching the plastic handsets and going for USB-connected or wireless headsets or speakers.
We wrote up a whole thing on this, so I won’t rehash it. Just weigh your options, do the budgeting and math and, again, find a partner (like us) who can help.
Change Management/Adoption Planning
Change is hard … and it can be even harder when you’re fundamentally changing a mission-critical program like the phone system. We recommend you develop an adoption plan that includes a pilot group and then a phased rollout to different subsets of your organization. Pair this with training.
Teams is a great tool that will allow your organization to do more in a single program, and they’ll be able to access it from anywhere. But, as with any new program, how you set it up and roll it out will define its success. Timing is everything.
Temporarily, there is a way to roll back to Skype for Business if you really want, but eventually you will have to move to Teams.