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3 Steps for Optimizing Your Microsoft Teams Deployment

Teams is packed with useful, integrated features that excite users — here's how to make the most of them.

Microsoft isn’t retiring its Skype for Business Online solution until the summer of 2021, but we’re already seeing a growing number of organizations transitioning to Microsoft Teams — which will eventually replace the cloud version of Skype.

Some of this transition is due to Teams being included with the Office 365 suite. But more than that, organizations are finding that their employees really respond to an environment that ties together collaboration tools such as chat, file sharing, calendar, voice and video. According to Microsoft, Teams is the fastest-growing business application in the company’s history, and much of that proliferation is happening organically — with pockets of users inside workplaces experimenting with the software, using it in their departments and then sharing their enthusiasm with colleagues across their companies.

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While it’s exciting to see users adopting a powerful tool on their own, it’s also important for organizations to be strategic in how they roll out and support Teams. Here are three ways to ensure your Teams deployment improves operations and helps your organization achieve its business goals.

1. Plan Thoroughly and Tap Adoption Services to Maximize Productivity

By giving users a central collaboration platform (rather than requiring them to juggle multiple tools), Teams can enhance users’ productivity and efficiency while also improving their experience. The more organizations can encourage usage, the greater gains they’ll see.

Still, a little upfront planning can go a long way. Left to their own methods, users may create redundant and sprawling groups inside of Teams, rather than groups that will best support critical workflows. Also, leadership should be intentional about governance and policy. Organizations operating in sensitive or regulated industries, for instance, might opt to prevent sharing documents with stakeholders outside of the organization.

Adoption services can help organizations and their employees to get on the right track with Teams. Because Teams is such an intuitive tool, end users may not require extensive training. Rather, CDW’s adoption services for Teams often focus on how to implement appropriate monitoring and governance practices.

2. Create Huddle Spaces to Facilitate Effective Meetings

It usually doesn’t take very long for employees to begin using Teams for informal video chats with their colleagues. But organizations can increase the value they get from the solution by making Teams their primary meeting platform, and by building out huddle and conference room spaces to better facilitate meetings. To ensure that things work together effectively, Microsoft certifies third-party hardware for compatibility with its platform, and organizations can use this equipment to build out both large conference rooms and smaller huddle spaces to enhance collaboration.

3. Replace Phone Systems to Simplify User Experiences and Management

Some organizations are retiring their legacy phone systems and leveraging the voice communication capabilities of Teams across the enterprise. Particularly if Teams is already being used widely in the organization for other forms of collaboration, it often makes sense to route voice traffic through the platform as well, keeping collaboration in one cohesive environment.

The greatest benefit of this approach may be simplicity, both for the organization and for users. Employees can use one client for all of their communications — perhaps starting an interaction via chat, and then escalating to a voice or video call when the situation warrants it. And IT shops have fewer systems to support.

It’s a win-win proposition.

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