A 3-Step Approach to Identifying the Proficiency and Productivity Gaps of Microsoft Teams UsersJune 8, 2020
In my prior post, I discussed that while the adoption of Microsoft Teams has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many organizations have found that their users were not very skilled at using Teams. This is not surprising given the rush to support employees working from home, but now it’s time to start truly helping those remote workers to get the most of using Teams when collaborating with their colleagues.
To bolster Teams proficiency and productivity, we first must define what successful adoption looks like and then identify the areas that need improvement. What follows is a 3-step approach to identifying the proficiency and productivity gaps of your Microsoft Teams users.
1. Understand What Successful Adoption Looks Like
Based on the Forrester study commissioned by Microsoft on The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams, the vast majority of the value produced by Teams comes from helping users improve in three areas: in collaborating and sharing information; in having more effective and efficient meetings; and in reducing the amount of time they spend switching between multiple applications.
Below are some examples of the ways success with Microsoft Teams should look based on insights found in the Forrester study and in research notes from Gartner.
Enhancing collaboration and the sharing of information
- Users will start shifting their crucial conversations from internal emails to postings in team channels.
- Important team messages will no longer be buried in the clutter of user mailboxes.
- Teams is being used as a group drive that is organized around the same channels as team conversations and where users edit documents in Office applications.
- Departmental use of network file shares has declined considerably as users are now storing group documents in Teams.
- The number of meetings is reduced as users work more in channel discussion threads that encourage more participation and viewpoints and a persistent history of the discussion topics.
- Meeting durations are also reduced as Teams’ enhanced audio/video integration enables meeting organizers to spend less time setting up calls while also reducing the amount of call-quality issues.
Reducing time spent switching applications
- Users open Office documents from the Teams app and can edit documents together at the same time in Word, Excel or PowerPoint.
- Users now avoid wading through multiple email threads and attempting to find documents in a cluster of Windows File Explorer folders as team channels now act as the hubs of their communications, collaboration and file sharing.
Now that we have a better understanding of what success with Teams looks like, now we can move on the next step of analyzing and classifying your Teams by their level of engagement.
2. Analyze Your Teams Users by their Level of Engagement
This part of the 3-step approach is mainly a focus on WHO is using Teams. Look not only at individual users, but study your users by the groups, departments, business units and regions they operate in.
Identify users, groups, departments, business units and regions by their level of usage
The first thing to do here is to assess the level of Teams usage by users, groups, departments, business units and regions, and then to further categorize them by their level of engagement with Teams.
- Power users and groups can provide use case examples and also help rally others into better use of Teams with guidance and encouragement. Power users also often possess specialized expertise and skills that others seek out and that should be shared in channels that others can easily access, not in private chats.
- New users are typically at the other end of the spectrum with little or no use of Teams. Help these users to learn how to use the basic functionality of Teams.
- Average users are in between the two groups above. Build upon their basic understanding of Teams and show them how to take their productivity in Teams to the next level.
Identify who might benefit from extending Teams access to external groups
Extending guest access to external enterprises you collaborate with could make it easier for the two organizations to innovate.
- Formal business partners, organizations your company has formal business agreements with already, should be evaluated as to whether or not they have guest access. And if not, consider reaching out to the relevant internal stakeholders to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of extending the partner organization with guest access.
- Informal business partners, organizations your own users collaborate with but where no formal business agreement exists, should be identified by studying your email volume by internet mail domain. From this you should be able to identify groups in other domains, tenants or organizations that your internal users and stakeholders frequently collaborate with.
3. Identify Proficiency and Productivity Gaps that You Can Influence
The last step is primarily about studying HOW your users are using Teams. Study how your users and groups are holding online meetings and calls as well as how they are collaborating via channel discussions, co-authoring and file sharing.
Calls and Meetings
- Compare the Use of Teams vs Other Technologies for Chat, Calls and Meetings
Here, you’ll want to analyze the usage of Teams against other technologies your organization has used for chat and for teleconferencing and videoconferencing. Compare the use of Teams against the use of Skype for Business and other services like GoToMeeting, Webex, and Zoom. Hopefully, you will find the use of Teams growing and the use of the other services declining.
- Evaluate Your Trendline for the Number and Length of Meetings and Calls
You also should assess the usage trends of Microsoft Teams. Track the volume of calls and meetings over time as well as the number of minutes used. Comparing this trendline with the usage of similar technologies used prior may uncover time efficiencies gained from switching to Teams. In addition, comparing this trendline to the volume of channel discussions and private chats will let you see if your Teams users may have become more productive by shifting to collaboration methods that automatically document the flow of the conversation and allow colleagues to contribute when it best fits their schedule.
Team Collaboration via Discussions, File Sharing and Co-Authoring
- Evaluate the Usage of Channel Discussions and Private Chat in Teams
Assess whether your users are transitioning their usage of email for internal correspondence to channel discussions and chats. While Teams won’t completely replace email for internal messaging, over time it should diminish as users leverage messaging in team channels and chats. Similarly, compare the usage of private chats to messaging in channels to look for signs that users are using the right method for their conversations.
- Evaluate the Usage of File Sharing in Teams
Here you will want to evaluate the use of file sharing in Teams versus other storage options like network file shares, public folders, and even SharePoint and OneDrive folders that are not stored within the Teams file structure. Over time, you should see a shift to storing files within Teams, so users don’t have to switch applications to access the files they need.
- Evaluate the Usage of Co-Authoring in Teams
If feasible and time allows, consider assessing the usage of co-authoring in Teams as this capability has the potential to not only save time for the team authoring and editing content, but can also eliminate over-writing someone’s edits because a different team member uploaded a file they edited on their laptop rather than online.
For more insights and best practice recommendations on analyzing your organization’s use of Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, watch our on-demand webinar Intelligent Insights for Microsoft 365. And if you’re looking to leverage the power of Teams right away, contact us to learn more about our solutions for migrating, onboarding, and managing Teams today.