As organizations around the globe rushed to adopt tools like Microsoft Teams to keep their employees connected while working remotely, early adopters are proving just how powerful these resources can be when you look beyond their most basic features.

This webinar, filmed in April 2020, invited IT leaders in the trenches at DISHER and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to join us to chat about how they implemented, adopted, and enabled their users with Microsoft Teams to continue operating without a hitch.

During this webinar, we covered:

  • How to set users up for success
  • How to determine best use cases
  • How to increase adoption
  • How Microsoft Team impacted these organizations

Start Leveraging Microsoft Teams

Adam Devereaux:
Hello everyone and welcome to Worksighted NXT. Today, we’ll be talking again about Microsoft Teams. If you’ve watched one of our webinars before, you’ll know that we often use Microsoft Teams live events for these webinars. Today, since we’re going to be having a panel discussion, we elected to use Zoom, due to being able to have multiple presenters on-screen at one time. Here at Worksighted, we always believe in using the right tool for the right job.

We’re going to have a Q&A function. Go ahead and submit your questions. We’ll answer them as we go along if they’re relevant to the question at the time. We’ll make sure to have time at the end of the webinar to get to every question.We will also have a recording of this webinar available. We’ll email it out to you. It will also be on our YouTube channel. We have a lot of other great videos on there as well. If you want to learn more about Microsoft Teams, you can head over to worksighted.com/Microsoft-Teams, and find a lot of great content that can help you with your adaption of Microsoft Teams.

While here at Worksighted, we’ve had our own journey with Microsoft Teams. We have also helped a lot of other organizations adapt to Microsoft Teams and learn how to use that as a tool. We’ve had a number of clients that we would call early adapters. We thought it might be interesting to you, our audience, to hear from them directly.

Today, we’ll be having a conversation on the topic of Teams, how these organizations have found success with the tool. Here with me today is Ann Puckett from Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Richard Campbell from DISHER. Both organizations were using Teams prior to the COVID-19 crisis and we thought this would be a good opportunity for you to hear firsthand why Teams has been useful for them and how they’re using it.

Let’s learn a little bit more about our guests first and their organizations. Ann, can you share with us a little bit about you and Grand Rapids Community Foundation and why you chose to adapt Microsoft Teams?

Ann Puckett:
Yes. Hi, everyone. Thank you for having me today, Adam.

Adam Devereaux:
Of course.

Ann Puckett:
I work for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. I’ve been there for the past 18 years. Our foundation gives grants and scholarships to the community. I’m an IT and I’m thankful for our relationship with Worksighted help me do my job.

Adam Devereaux:
Richard, tell us a little bit about DISHER and what you do with them?

Richard Campbell:
Yeah, you bet. My name is Richard Campbell. We’ve partnered with Worksighted, really, since inception, I believe. A little bit about DISHER. DISHER is really an organization that we deliver innovative solutions in engineering, manufacturing. We also do talent attractions and do talent services through many, many different functions.

My career at DISHER, I’ve been there a little over nine years. I primarily lead a product development team. I’m also the technology lead for DISHER. Although, I don’t really have any formal education in IT, it’s not only a passion but it’s something that I do for DISHER.

Then lastly, really, I’m a native. I’ve been here since ’89. I have four kids. My wife has transitioned from working home or working as a teacher to also now teaching our four kids at home.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah, that’s something a lot of other parents are learning to deal with right now as well. One question that came up is size of the organizations. I think you said that GRCF has about 30 staff and give about 13 million annually.

Ann Puckett:
Yeah. We have 30 staff. We’re a smaller organization.

Adam Devereaux:
You do a lot of collaboration both internally but with a lot of other outside organizations as well.

Ann Puckett:
Exactly.

Adam Devereaux:
Then, Richard, could you tell us a little bit about DISHER and its size?

Richard Campbell:
Sure. For us, it’s a little different. We’ve got both core team members and we also have an extended network of people. That fluctuates based on project load. We’ve got about 123 core team members. We carry some interns along the way as well. Then, our extended network staff fluctuates anywhere from, right now, pretty low so as many as 40 or 50 extended network employees at a given moment.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah and very geographically diverse as well. I mean, a lot of times your staff are all over the place, right?

Richard Campbell:
Yes, absolutely. Even outside of the United States. We’ve worked with extended network folks over in Great Britain, Hungary, China, and other places.

Adam Devereaux:
Okay. All right. I got a couple questions here about your adoption with Teams and I’ll start with you, Ann. When did you start with Teams? How long have you been using it?

Ann Puckett:
I’d like to think we were an early adopter. We’ve been using it for about two years now, which started with a need for document collaboration. I said, “Hey, there’s this new tool out there. Why don’t we test this out?” We did and it quickly caught fire. We shortly thereafter implemented it organizationally wide within small groups of people.

Adam Devereaux:
Kind of a staggered adaption.

Ann Puckett:
Yes. Exactly.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. All right. Then, Richard, how about you? How long have you been using it?

Richard Campbell:
I’d say since 4th of July of last year is really when we started to make the transition into Teams. Before that, we were on a path of rolling out SharePoint and to try and lighten some of our on-premise file and infrastructure. Two things happened. Some of the Skype for Business stuff is coming to an end here shortly, so we’re needing to make a transition for online collaboration tools.

Richard Campbell:
Pretty quickly noticed the benefits of some of the Teams’ side of collaboration for not only some of our internal type projects, but also some of our customer type projects as well.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. That’s something I’ve talked about before that there’s really kind of a couple different main areas of function in Microsoft Teams. You have the chat and online meetings capabilities. Then, you also have the Teams itself, as well as file sharing. It sounds like and something we’ve run into with a lot of other organizations is the impetuous to adopt Teams may have really started in one of those areas. Then realizing, maybe we want to expand into these other functions.

Adam Devereaux:
That’s kind of part of what this conversation about is to help people understand, even if they’ve started using Teams, what are the benefits potentially of using those other areas as well. The Skype for Business end of life was obviously a huge driver for a lot of organizations as well. I think that takes me to the next section where I want to talk about how you’re using Teams in your organization and how you started and then maybe what that journey has been. Richard, I’ll start with you on this in terms of how did you roll out Teams? How did you message it to your users? Any challenges or things you did well that helped with that?

Richard Campbell:
Sure. Like I said, around the 4th of July last year is really when we were using SharePoint, we had migrated a lot of our on-premise corporate information into the SharePoint environment. Then, we started to convert those into Teams and roll them out to a lot of our users. We took a gentle approach. The first thing to go was our human resource environment. That was something that, as you can imagine, with personal protection of information, we needed some very granular permissions and controls for a lot of our coaches and approvers. We move that over to the SharePoint environment first and then eventually into Teams.

Richard Campbell:
The second piece to go for us was really a lot of our corporate information. We’ve got two sides to our business. One of them is our breadth of solutions, which is really a lot of the solutions and services that we offer outside of the organization. Then, our corporate steward areas, which are a lot of our internal things, a lot of our internal initiatives were very stewardship focused organization. We’ve got a lot of things, especially right now with the COVID-19, we’ve got a lot of initiatives that we’re doing both internally and externally to really help with what’s going on right now.



Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. I think that’s a fairly common need a lot of organizations have is to figure out where do we put standard documents or standard forms, internal corporate documents that everybody need access to. It seems to be a pretty easy win in Teams’ adaption is to have an all company group and have standardization as to where people can go to access that information.

Richard Campbell:
Yup. Absolutely.

Adam Devereaux:
Go ahead.

Richard Campbell:
Let me just add one last. As a result of all of this, we were pretty well structured that way with the human resource environment and our company portal. We weren’t planning on rolling out some of the customer projects in SharePoint in Teams until next year, because our adaption rate for SharePoint and Teams was good, but it maybe wasn’t as good as what it should be really for us to kind of roll in and do customer side things and then open up Teams externally.

Richard Campbell:
We did that right away as the shelter in place order came about. We’ve got, I think, four projects in there right now. They’ve been very successful. That level of collaboration for customer projects has really opened everybody’s eyes to the power of Teams and what it could really do for us going forward.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah, I think, that’s something that seems to be pretty universal across our experience as well as that there may have been an adaption plan but the COVID-19 crisis and remote work requirements really elevated and escalated that. Ann, I’ll ask you the same thing, how did you roll it out and challenges that you had?

Ann Puckett:
Fortunately for us, we started two years ago. I feel like we were ahead of the curve. We first focused on our departments in committees and we wanted to see or focus on a couple of things. How can we continue our paperless journey? Also, how can we reduce inbox overload?

The biggest challenge we faced with all of those was change management. I would say we had about 50% of staff was onboard 100%. Then, we had 50% of staff that really were resisting the change. They felt like they were having to go to multiple places to look for things. They love Outlook, they had all their little folders set up. We definitely had to continuously work on messaging and how this tool was valuable and how it can actually make their work more efficient.

I would say though, obviously, when we flip the switch, as my president likes to say, she was one of the resistors. Now, she is one of my big champions, right. She totally is on board and sees the value and is very grateful that we did start this journey much further along than others. I did some statistics just to give a little idea. In the past 90 days, we had 14,465 chat messages, however, approximately 50% of that was in the last 30 days.

Ann Puckett:
You could see a pre COVID-19 …

Adam Devereaux:
It just.

Ann Puckett:
Right, the curve went right up there. That was an interesting trend to see.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. For those of you that don’t know, you can go into the Teams’ admin center. There’s usage reports in there that are really useful. Most of the client environments that I’ve worked with and looked at in that regard that were starting that adaption. You saw chat messages, Teams messages, active teams, and then all of a sudden, within weeks, it just week on week would grow and grow and grow.

I think that challenge that you called out of another place to go for information is kind of a common concern and rightfully so one that I had as well when we started adapting it. Because if you still have to do everything else that you normally did, you still had to deal with the same volume of emails. Now, you have to go and look elsewhere to get critical information that can be challenging. What we found is that for chat, for example, once everybody in the organization is using the Teams’ app has it on their laptop or desktop, has it on their phone, then all of a sudden you get this great value increase because multiple people can … it’s like a de facto way to get ahold of people quickly.

Then, once the organization figures out the communication strategy and what kind of information is going to go into Teams and people can understand that, then it helps them to understand where do I go for what? Over time, it seems like you get to where Teams is almost all of your internal communication. Email becomes the way that you interact with truly outside people. As you increase your adaption of Teams of working and collaborating with your frequent external collaborators, even that communication starts to move into Teams.

I think with that said, understanding, I think, that aspect of it, the primary use case is the way that you’re using it within your organization. We talk about the video conference in meetings, versus instant messaging, company channel communication, file sharing. I think what would be interesting to me and maybe our viewers would be like, what did you start with? Where you went from there? Richard, I’ll start with you on that. I think we talked a little bit about this, but if you want to go into a little more depth on the timeline of those functions.

Richard Campbell:
Go ahead. What was the question again, Adam?

Adam Devereaux:
What did you start with as your primary ways that you were using Teams? What have you adapted if you look at like video conferencing meetings versus instant message, company channel communication, file sharing? Was it all together at once? Or did you start with certain functions in terms of how you messaged and trained users?

Richard Campbell:
Yeah. Our first kind of lean into Teams was pretty light. It was mostly for collaboration, person to person type communication and Teams type meetings as part of some of those internal initiatives and some of those external and now especially with some of those external projects.

Adam Devereaux:
It really started more like a chat and meetings functionality? I remember we did some training events with you and kind of focused on the whole thing. I think that was the big area that most people’s questions were around, initially, was how this replaces Skype for Business. Then, they started thinking and using it for the other functions as well for Teams themselves and things like that.

Richard Campbell:
Yup, that’s correct.

Adam Devereaux:
Ann, how about you? What were the primary ways you started with Teams? Then, what did that rollout and adaption process look like?

Ann Puckett:
Initially, it was mostly for document collaboration but also a way to once again go on that paperless journey, where rather than printing agendas and meeting minutes, we were storing it all within these teams and channels that we’ve created. Our staff can just go there and find what they need versus looking for an email, printing it off. That was just part of our journey. Some chat, but mostly document collaboration and meeting collaboration.

Adam Devereaux:
Really, you started using it more on almost the teams and channels functionality first before it is an instant messaging platform for your whole organization?

Ann Puckett:
More to have start having those conversations outside of email for internal staff.

Adam Devereaux:
Got you. Did you use like online meeting functionality as much from the beginning or no?

Ann Puckett:
No, not at all. Because we’re 30 staff, we are mostly all working in-house till about a year ago when we did get one full time staff who was working remotely.

Adam Devereaux:
Did that start, like the online meeting start with that staff member or would you say that it really didn’t kick off until this COVID-19 crisis?

Ann Puckett:
It started with that staff person for sure. I mean, there were some people who still work remotely, so we did it a little bit off and on. Once this one person went offline, so to speak, we really ramped that up, which was a great ad hoc training, right, for staff prior to COVID-19. Yeah.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. Along that way, I guess, if we look under the optimization category, what did you do after you started that journey to continue to refine how you were adapting it or change your messaging or focus on those next features? Ann, I’ll start with you on that one.

Ann Puckett:
Okay. At our foundation, we at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, we really like to emphasize education and training. Part of the optimization included ongoing training with staff and learning how we could be more efficient in some of those tools that were available. We started to migrate to such as planner. We were using other project management tools but we decided we wanted to stay within the Office 365 stack to make things a bit more efficient.

Ann Puckett:
The next phase was mostly seeing how we could utilize some of those tools such as planner and to do.

Adam Devereaux:
You said you were doing training along the way, kind of tips and tricks, did you have any sort of cadence or frequency that you focused on with that?

Ann Puckett:
I did, it was either based on need, if I saw a lot of support requests coming in and or a new feature, then I would. Mostly probably I would say once a week or twice a month. Just to try to, once again, keep the management of how often people are getting communication. I also created a tech tips channel.

Adam Devereaux:
You created a channel in your all company group?

Ann Puckett:
Yup. In the all company group rather than emailing everyone like I would I just said, “Hey, if you want to learn the latest and greatest,” making it a reason for people to come to Teams, right. You have to have a purpose for it. I felt that was a great way for people to get that information.

Adam Devereaux:
Got you. Okay, Richard, how about you? Did you find any lessons you learned after the first month or two? What did you do to optimize your adaption to Teams?

Richard Campbell:
We did a few things. Rather than giving everybody everything, we drilled it down with a couple pilot groups. We drilled it down to the tools as part of Teams and or SharePoint that we really wanted to make available to everybody right away. Then, we locked down some of those other tools, so that it wasn’t too much at one time for our user base. With the large number of folks that we had and as distributed as we normally are, Monday through Thursday, we kind of joke about it, but we don’t.

Richard Campbell:
Monday through Thursday, prior to COVID-19, we were typically on site with most of our customers. Now, that’s not necessarily the case and who knows what it’ll be going forward. We needed to make training available to everybody. We’ve done that in a few ways. We’ve had in-session type training opportunities, bring your own laptop and work through some things. Then, as of course, those Teams got rolled out and permissions were signed, we had working sessions where from 2:00 to 4:00 Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next few weeks.

Richard Campbell:
You could just pop in and we could work through things together or if there was permissions issues that needed to be resolved. Or, if you just needed a hand to better understand Teams, it’s kind of just an open session. They could just drop in and we could work through things individually or even a couple times, the whole teams came in and said, “Hey, this is how we need to be able to use our Teams environment. Can it be done with the way it’s currently configured? Or could we maybe change it a little bit so that it serves our purposes better?”

Adam Devereaux:
Right. I think that’s a standard prompt or standard request that we’re seeing is that people will start to use it in a certain way. Then, they see the other functionality that’s there or they hear of somebody else using it, or even internally, they may see somebody else who’s a little bit more of like a leader in it, who’s like, “Here, access this file this way,” or, “I’m using planner this way.” Then, they start going, “Could we do that? How would this help us,” and start to extend maybe just that group or that department’s use of it.

Adam Devereaux:
I think there’s a lot of potential moving forward on that. I think I’ll return to ask you a little bit more about planner later. I guess, my next question is, really, where do you see it going from here? What are your future ideas on where to go with it? What’s the next challenge for you with Teams? Richard, you want to start?

Richard Campbell:
Sure. Yeah. Like I mentioned earlier, we didn’t plan on rolling out projects, customer projects, in Teams yet. That’s really where we’re headed. Right now, we’re still operating on those internally only. They’re not externally focused yet. We all see as we work in that environment with us being even more distributed than we were before, how advantageous having that is for us as a team. Quite often, our teams consist of not only our internal engineers or project management or, I mean, you name the service.

Richard Campbell:
Quite often, we’re embedded with those customers and being able to expand that even further and offer guest access into DISHER’s Teams environments, if they don’t have one of their own is really where we’re headed. Then, the other side of things for us, not only internally because we’ve deployed some of these already is kind of leaning into the power platform and some of the business intelligence, not only for us as a business, but also being able to provide that as a service to our customers.

Adam Devereaux:
With that, you mean, for those that may not know there’s Power Automate, Power Apps and Power BI. Power Automate is kind of an if this then that type platform where you can set up workflows. Power Apps is a no code or super light code app development platform. Then, Power BI is a business intelligence platform. If you want to just give a quick example of how you’re using that, I think, that would be helpful.

Richard Campbell:
Yeah, sure. I can figure out how to share my screen here. I’ll pull one up. This one is one that is actually being run out of SharePoint. I can find it here. Prior to having some of these very powerful tools available to us, year after year setting IT budgets was a challenge because we didn’t have a really good heartbeat on where our assets were in their live stream. After Power BI once we got all these data inn here we had a very good visual as to where in the lifecycle of an assets kind of fell as well as where it was in its lifecycle as well.

Richard Campbell:
As far as warranty, we’d like to carry all of our equipment under warranty but sometimes they fall out of warranty. Once we saw that as we transition from 2019 to 2020, we had a very good visual picture of what assets were needing to be retired and which assets needed to be replaced.

Richard Campbell:
This is just one example of many that we not only created a Power BI visual, but on the backend for us to use and we’ve extended that on to Worksighted as well. We’ve got the ability to manage all these as well.

Richard Campbell:
If you could imagine this asset, this is a very old asset, but as it gets retired, we can very easily come in here and edit the status of that asset and change it to a salvaged asset. Then, what happens, we use Power Automate to take that and I’ve got some code written so that if one of these assets changes status from being in use or available to a salvage type state, an email automatically gets generated and sent to not only our finance department but also to a few other users at DISHER so that they can take that off of our asset ledger.

Adam Devereaux:
Here is a combination of SharePoint, Power BI, Power Automate and Power Apps really to make this. This wasn’t an off the shelf app, right?

Richard Campbell:
Right.

Adam Devereaux:
Excellent. I think, Ann, if you want to take a stab at the kind of the next steps for GRCF with Teams and what you guys are looking at.

Ann Puckett:
Being a community foundation, we are a very collaborative organization with our community and nonprofit organizations and business partners. As you can imagine, COVID-19 has really probably, for at least a good while going to change how we work and I foresee this becoming a … You’re muted. I foresee this becoming a much more utilized product for how we do our work where people will really think, “Okay, do I need this to be in an in-person meeting? Could I set up an external team?” Because right now, we are using the product also to collaborate with some of our vendors and that has worked really well on some of our projects.

Ann Puckett:
We may see ourselves doing that more often than having in-person meetings where, I think, people will appreciate that. Also, it could be much more efficient as well. I see that post COVID-19. Also, looking at how we can keep more of our tools within the Office 365 tool stack. I’m already looking at okay, do we need Basecamp? Do we need to use Google Forms? Do we need SurveyMonkey in re-evaluating all these applications that we currently have in our CloudStack and possibly bringing them more into the Office 365 environment?

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah, and there can be a lot of advantages to that from whether you’re extending your security measures that you put in place or cost savings. Oftentimes, Microsoft may not have the most fully featured capabilities in any one area, but it’s enough for a lot of organizations on how they need to use that and typically is improving as well.

Adam Devereaux:
One area that I was excited to kind of talk to you guys about is what the impact has been whether that’s potentially specific about remote work, but what have you seen as both the benefit or even if there’s negatives that you’ve had to adopting Microsoft Teams? Richard, do you want to answer that first here?

Richard Campbell:
Sure.

Ann Puckett:
Can I interrupt, Adam? I just noticed there’s questions, do we want to answer any of these questions? Or are we going to wait till the end?

Adam Devereaux:
The ones that are in there now I think we’ll hit at the end.

Ann Puckett:
Okay. All right. Cool.

Richard Campbell:
Yeah. For DISHER, I mean, prior to us adapting Teams, we were using Skype for Business a lot for communication, whether it’s person-to-person or person-to-group or group-to-group communication. Especially prior to the COVID-19, typically it was groups of less than 10 or 12, maybe 15 on the outbounds of that. Now, for our Friday staff meeting, we’ve got 120 to 130 people connecting every Friday in the meeting. I’m not sure that Skype would handle that very well, or even if it could even handle that very well.

Richard Campbell:
Those meetings go very, very well and we’re just starting to test out some live meetings a couple times here and there and see where that’s a good fit for us as well.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. That’s, I think, probably a kind of a common at least in this remote work, the ability to have all staff meetings and department meetings and one-on-ones has been a pretty big benefit. I’m assuming that’s really been driven a lot because of this crisis. Ann, I’m curious the same that your usage has been a little bit longer, what impact or what improvements or effects have you seen from adapting teams? Then, how did that change with COVID-19 as well?

Ann Puckett:
Like I said earlier on, we had some staff who were all on board and we had some staff who were the outliers, I’d like to say. Having this already in place has really assisted us very well with moving to a virtual workforce. Very rarely did we have people working remotely. We went very quickly from just almost 100% in office to 100% outside of the office, but they were able to see that we were pretty easily able to make that switch fairly painlessly.

Ann Puckett:
I think the overall impact have we not had Teams, we would have still been able to do it but it would have been a patchwork of applications we would had to put together and people had to go for this and here for that. It’s really nice that we’re able to keep it under one umbrella. It’s just so much user-friendly for staff. I think we would have seen a lot of disconnect from staff, who would have been hesitant to try all these different tools and feel a little bit intimidated. I think with the user friendliness that’s really helped our adaption very well.

Ann Puckett:
People who normally would have been strugglers, I see them really just going full force with teams and doing really, really well.

Adam Devereaux:
They’re all in.

Ann Puckett:
They’re all in.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. I think, Richard, would you say the same in terms of the unifying platform has been powerful to help to make sure that everybody feels more connected?

Richard Campbell:
Definitely. We don’t even have a lot of the call plan and stuff turned down as far as Teams. There’s a few of us that are using it. Even the messaging capabilities, if somebody is unavailable to have kind of like a Visual Voicemail, and then have it convert to text and it’s not unsearchable even, just kind of having all of that really tied together has been huge for DISHER.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. I think that’s an interesting, we could probably have a whole webinar about that topic of unified communications. There are some questions about that that we’ll get to. It’s interesting because some of our client organizations had on-prem phone systems, with phones at everyone’s desk. In retrospect, we’re paying a lot of money for those regardless of what system it is, if you total everything up the phone service, the maintenance, everything else.

Adam Devereaux:
In many cases, they’re doing nothing. They’ve done nothing for them or provided little-to-no value for the organization over the past weeks and months. Some people will say, “We don’t have a phone system.” In some ways, Teams is that for a lot of organizations because almost all peer-to-peer internal calling, and in some cases, client meetings have shifted to being taking place in Teams. You can’t say that it is your phone system, but it’s certainly taken over a lot of what would have been done over the phone system traditionally. Let alone the fact that you do have the ability to add full phone system capabilities potentially as well.

Adam Devereaux:
I think that takes us to kind of our last area, and then we’ll get to questions as well, would be things that you specifically did to get your users excited about it. I think we’ve kind of touched on this a little bit. If there’s anything else you wanted to add in terms of how you … particular things that you felt were key to your success with Teams. Richard, if you have anything in that regard, you want to add?

Richard Campbell:
Sure, you bet. We got two sides for our business. The breadth of solutions and the corporate steward areas and you could even split off human resources as even a third one. We started with one of those areas, we started out with the breadth of solutions area which is our externally facing services that we offer. We really identified some leaders in those areas to kind of be our pilot group and help us understand how our services side of the business really needs to be able to work and operate in Teams. That’s what we created as a blueprint to roll out those Teams environments.

Richard Campbell:
Then, from there, we took a lot of those best practices and then we moved it over to our internal side of our business, which is the corporate steward areas and used that to help build out that side. Then, a lot of those people that we used through that pilot phase were our champions, kind of leaning into the next phase. We did it in phases for sure but we identified who those champions were along the way. It was kind of a train the trainer kind of approach which really, really helped us.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. I think the champions, and you probably echo that but it’s important to get people that are really the ones that will help create that organic adaption and help answer those questions because no one person can be there for every time somebody has a question that comes up. I asked you the same, is that one of the areas that you’ve seen success and are there other things that you’ve done that you think were really helpful or instrumental to you being successful?

Ann Puckett:
Yeah, so like Richard, we also do create champions. Those who were really fond of Microsoft Teams, I would ask them to share tips and tricks and get other users excited with what they’re doing or we’d have a training and I co-present with someone else and staff. I also believe in bribes. No, not really bribes. I would do rewards and gift cards when people attend to trainings or give them little badges for doing a great job. I know it seems a little but people really like those little things. They really get people excited, incentive. Thank you, Richard. Incentive.

Adam Devereaux:
Bribes works also.

Ann Puckett:
Incentives.

Adam Devereaux:
Any particular ones that you did that you thought were … was it giveaways or?

Ann Puckett:
Yeah. I would do a lot of that little giveaways and stuff just to have people watch some videos and answer some quizzes and I’ll do a raffle. Any of those little types of things. A lot of the items, I would go to conferences and grab all the goodies at the tables, and then those would be my giveaways. All right, say, “Hey, we’re excited, what do you got that I could give away?”

Richard Campbell:
That’s great.

Adam Devereaux:
Re-gifting.

Ann Puckett:
Yes, re-gifting.

Adam Devereaux:
All right. I think we have a fair amount of Q&A questions we want to get to here. I think the last question that I’d have for you guys really is what advice would you give to other organizations? Richard, what would you say you would tell somebody that if they’re thinking about adapting Teams, what they should think about?

Richard Campbell:
I don’t think that there’s just one thing. I would say that there’s a few things that we learned along the way that I would definitely been somebody’s ear a little bit and maybe say, “Don’t do it this way because we learned kind of the hard way.” One of them was because we took the SharePoint route into Teams. We built out all on-prem AD security groups for kind of those permissions and those permission structures in SharePoint and that ended up causing us a lot of grief. When we wanted to convert from SharePoint into a Teams environment…

Adam Devereaux:
Sure.

Richard Campbell:
Had we created Office 365 groups for all those people. Our lives would have been a lot easier and we wouldn’t have to redo a lot of those permission structures once we wanted to make the Teams switch. That would be definitely one of the things that I would tell people as to, if you’re going to move into the cloud Teams environment or even cloud SharePoint environment, lean more heavily towards Office 365 groups and Office 365 permissions and less on-prem.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. It’s kind of a general theme which is that you don’t want to necessarily recommit efforts into the on-prem infrastructure, whether that’s even storing files, right? Like if somebody was looking at doing a new file share, I wouldn’t recommend that you create that on the server right now. You’d really want to evaluate if you could put that in the cloud right off the get go.

Richard Campbell:
Absolutely.

Adam Devereaux:
Anything else you wanted to add to that or? Ann, you want to answer that question next in terms of what advice you’d give to companies?

Ann Puckett:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mine would be two. One is continuous education and two is governance, probably governance and then education. Prior to rollout, you really want to have a plan of how you will manage your environment, who will be the team owners? Who is responsible for creating channels? Who’s responsible for document retention? Where are your final documents going to be stored? How you will continuously keep that updated and maintained?

Ann Puckett:
Then, two, is education, don’t just roll this out and then walk away. They’re continuously updating features. Every week, I’m learning something new. Then, I share that with the staff as it makes sense. It also creates an excitement. Or they’re like, “Oh, I didn’t know I could do that” or “I got this workaround or I didn’t even know that can work in Teams.” I just really want to emphasize you need to make sure you are educating yourself so you can educate others.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah, that’s a really good point that maybe as simple as fun things like the backgrounds that recently became available. Obviously, there are some larger strategic things that either have been implemented or will be implemented. Private channels is one that was a much requested feature that was implemented earlier this year. You need to understand how those work to use them effectively. Keeping up-to-date, keeping yourself educated on Teams, I think, is a really good advice to give for sure.

Richard Campbell:
Three by three coming down the road is an example of that, right, Adam?

Adam Devereaux:
Yup, exactly. Another big one that we’ll be talking about in the near future will be tasks in Teams. That’s kind of a rebranding, relabeling on planner and furthering that integration. I think that’s going to be really a game changer for a lot of organizations as an aside, something that I found really fascinating going into the remote work requirements is, we had a ton of work across lots and lots of organizations in Michigan to help them on the technical readiness side. Some of which, they were much more setup than others. Regardless, the technical readiness for remote work was kind of a differentiator for businesses.

Adam Devereaux:
Another differentiator was, how well prepared were you for understanding what people were doing workforce utilization, efficiency, who’s assigned what, and how much work is that going to take?

Adam Devereaux:
In the technology space, it’s almost kind of an advantage as a service provider. We have ticketing systems and timesheets and projects and all of these constructs in our software that we have to be putting our time utilization into. That actually really was more of an advantage than we realized because we run into a lot of companies who don’t know what people are doing. I think the worst direction to go down is to say like, “Oh, can we put software and track what people are doing on their laptops at home,” or things like that? I think it’s a more of an issue, if you thought people sitting in seats in the office meant that they were doing what they needed to do and that was the only way you could track that. That was a bad system in the first place.

Adam Devereaux:
These platforms, and there’s certainly others, like Mondays and other systems that you can use to try to get an understanding of what people are doing and where they are putting their time into. That can be a big advantage for your organization. Any last items before we get to Q&A? Any additional input or feedback on Teams itself? What you’d like to see or things that you would recommend people implement?

Adam Devereaux:
Sounds like no. I think it’s Q&A time. Rebecca is going to moderate this part, ask the questions. I will try and answer them or ping them over to you guys. If you feel like there’s anything you want to add to those, feel free to let me know. Take it away.

Rebecca Zaagman:
All right. The first one we have is we just started using Teams as we moved to working from home last month for unified communications, we use Cisco including Jabber. Obviously, there are some overlap between Jabber and Teams in terms of chat, presence, et cetera. Does anyone have experience with moving from Jabber to Teams? Can Teams be integrated with UC environments in terms of call presence and so on?

Adam Devereaux:
That’s a good question, but fairly specific as well. I don’t know if either of you have used Jabber before. I certainly wasn’t a Jabber power user prior to this. I know there are some organizations that have made that shift on a much larger scale. Spectrum Health is one for example, that was using Jabber widely across their organization. Then, within the last year migrated to Microsoft Teams.

Adam Devereaux:
UC is an interesting term, unified communications, because it’s really meetings, chat, presence and phone calls. I would argue that Teams is probably one of the most comprehensive UC platforms that I’ve seen in that it ties into your email environment as well. I’ve seen a lot of organizations struggle when adapting things that are called UC but really only using some of the capabilities because it’s not featured leaders in those other areas.

Adam Devereaux:
I would say that, to me, the advantages are integration into the rest of the Office 365 platform extending that security environment that you may have around SharePoint files, file synchronization, it can end up being a lot more robust file environment, file sharing and file collaboration environment. Putting those files, such as office files, in Office 365 storage like SharePoint immediately gives you benefits like multiuser editing and auto saving and things along those lines.

Adam Devereaux:
They’re definitely competitors both Teams and Jabber. Jabber was made as an add-on to an existing phone system so to speak, Cisco phone systems. Then, Teams, it’s almost the other way. It started as kind of the UC tool, focused more on the meetings and chat and everything else. You can also add full phone system capabilities onto it in terms of having external calls coming in and being able to place external calls and having a desk phone and everything else.

Adam Devereaux:
Certainly, Jabber is a very full featured platform and we wouldn’t necessarily be able to go into all of the features. That might be a good webinar topic in the future is comparing the different UC platforms out there. Hopefully, that helps. I know that wasn’t a clear answer.

Rebecca Zaagman:
Kind of a similar question, somebody asked about using Slack. They’re currently using Slack but looking to migrate to Teams, do you have any immediate selling points for moving to Teams? I think document storage is the main benefit. Maybe a quick answer to that. Let’s do some rapid fire question and answering because we’ve got about 10 more to go.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. I would say document storage is a big one but having meetings combined and instant message combined is probably … it is more unified, certainly. It has the potential to extend into more of your user’s day, right? Again, it’s not about creating new tools, new places, and having another additional place to go. That Teams can start to become a more condensing place where you can go to communicate with people and collaborate on files.

Richard Campbell:
Yep.

Rebecca Zaagman:
Kind of similar in terms of unified communications, can you expand on using Teams for full phone usability? Maybe a quick answer to that because I know it can get really complicated.

Adam Devereaux:
Yes. Office 365 or Microsoft 365 and Teams, there’s Teams voice. There are plans that you can add-on and one thing I’d quick touch on would be for a lot of organizations out there probably most relevant would be the new Microsoft 365 Business Voice that became available. There are enterprise capabilities that are a little bit more √† la carte but it’s a simple $20 bundle that you can an add-on that gives you full phone system capabilities.

Adam Devereaux:
That means, every user can have a DID number, you can place external calls, people can call you directly. You can have a desk phone that is fully capable and fully featured. You have an audio conferencing capability that’s added to that. You can have auto attendance and call queues and all of those kind of capabilities in the cloud platform. It’s really like a lot of other cloud phone systems that you would see out there like RingCentral, 8 x8, Vonage, et cetera.

Adam Devereaux:
It can be all in that interface so you’re using the same app for Teams on your phone, for voice calls as you are for calls with your colleagues and meetings and everything else. Either of you have anything you want to add to that?

Richard Campbell:
I’m a call plan user already. It’s got some tangible and some intangible benefits that come along with it. One of the intangibles is, you’re not giving out your cell phone number. When you go away on vacation, it doesn’t necessarily have to ring your cell phone while you’re trying to spend time with family. It can be set to not ring through to you before business hours or after business hours and it’ll go direct to voicemail.

Richard Campbell:
From there, it’ll be converted to text and from there, it will either send you a Teams message or send you an email and you can choose whether or not it’s something that you need to respond to immediately or wait until the next day.

Richard Campbell:
There are some very tangible and intangible benefits to moving over from a traditional type PBX phone system and even divorcing individual cell phone plans or even a corporate cell phone plan versus I just use the Teams’ app on my cell phone and it rings and works just as good as just a cellphone type call.

Richard Campbell:
You can instantly switch between just a voice call to a video call. We’ve got people that are out on the manufacturing floor all the time with our customers. If they need to grab some more of our guys back at the office and say, “Hey, look at this …”

Adam Devereaux:
Right. Add more people to the call, things like that.

Richard Campbell:
Yeah. As long as they’ve got a good signal, either cellular or if they’re on …

Adam Devereaux:
Wi-Fi.

Richard Campbell:
… the Wi-Fi of the customer that they’re at, they can have a video call right then and right there.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. Good stuff. All right, one more or next one?

Rebecca Zaagman:
Yeah. What level are licenses needed to use Live Meetings? We have 130 employees we want to include in our weekly meetings and are using Zoom webinar now, is live meeting included with Office 365 Business Premium License?

Adam Devereaux:
It is, yes.

Rebecca Zaagman:
Okay.

Adam Devereaux:
Live Meetings are and I believe that’s up to 10,000 people. Way more than what you need. There is potentially a license difference for public Live Meetings. Although in practice, I haven’t seen that actually be the case. The quick answer is, yes. If you have Teams, you have the capability of doing Live Meetings. There’s a few caveats to that. For your specific question at that license level, yes, Live Meetings are included.

Rebecca Zaagman:
We have two questions on review best practices for organizing chat teams, channels, public versus private, as well as just helping provide a structure to each team. I know we could probably do an entire webinar just on that and just so …

Adam Devereaux:
We have a little bit.

Rebecca Zaagman:
Yeah. We have a couple other webinars.

Adam Devereaux:
Again, on our YouTube channel, you can watch those if you’re interested.

Rebecca Zaagman:
Yeah. Maybe, Ann, I know you’ve done a lot of work on this, do you want to just briefly comment on how yours are structured and how you decide public versus private?

Ann Puckett:
In the beginning, we created, well, we have an internal tech team and that’s where we created a plan for governance and that each team would have an owner which they do. That team owners also, everyone can create a channel on the team, but they have to get approval basically from the team owner prior to creating a channel. As far as private channels go, we have just been experimenting with those.

Ann Puckett:
I’ve already been fielding some questions because some people made something private, and they didn’t mean it to be private. I think just really, once again, it goes back to also education. I would definitely come up with a plan for governance and there are some resources available in Microsoft that I could throw in the chat that helps with the governance.

Adam Devereaux:
Let me ask you both two quick questions. How did you decide to structure your Teams? What Teams did you create and how does that correspond or map to your internal organization? Is it by department? Is it by project, et cetera?

Ann Puckett:
We have two levels, which I spoke of by department. We have our overall, all staff one, and then we have a department and by committee.

Adam Devereaux:
Okay.

Ann Puckett:
Yeah. Pretty much that’s how it works.

Adam Devereaux:
Richard, how about you?

Richard Campbell:
We’re the same. On our breadth of solutions side of our business, it’s more by department but our corporate steward area side of our business is more a little bit by committee and by people’s interest.

Adam Devereaux:
I’ll add one other quick thing to that which is extends to what you were talking about or asking about with chat as well. Chat is very organic. It’s meant to not be structured group chats, I would say are the same way. What I’ve seen is that group chats come and go. People create group chats as they need to. For those of you that don’t know, if you start a chat and you add more people to it, and you’ve got this group chat of four, five, six, seven people or more, you can rename that as well and it kind of becomes this persistent thing that you can keep using. That is for more short lived things, in my experience.

Adam Devereaux:
Something that’s relevant for a week or two. You don’t need to tie in other resources. You don’t necessarily need to add a lot of files. There are limits by how many files can be stored in a group chat, for example. When you’re looking at teams, that’s where I’d be a little bit more deliberate about the teams that you’re creating. It would be a matter of either around a more extended way that people need to collaborate around the topic, whether that’s a department level topic or a department that needs to kind of have internal communication or a more of an organic group of people that frequently collaborate on something and maybe even a project or client.

Adam Devereaux:
I’d say that Teams are kind of a group of people that need to collaborate. Channels are the way that you would divide up that communication. By moving to a team from a group chat, you have the ability to add a lot more capabilities to it. Then private channels, really are where you need to restrict information inside of that group of people to a smaller group of people that are a subset of that group of people. Hopefully that helps. Next question.

Rebecca Zaagman:
Great. A couple questions around notifications. One, specifically in Microsoft Teams, is there a way to turn on notification for all users in the all-user Team and channels? Another person asked, we want to make Teams open to the organization to foster collaboration, but still keep some separation so as not to overload or overwhelm users.

Adam Devereaux:
On the first one, I mean, I think what you’re asking for is a way to make sure that if there’s a message in an important channel that it would show up in their feed. One thing off the top of my head is that you can, if you add the channel in that message, then it will typically show up in their feed as long as they’re a member of that channel, that group. I would say …

Richard Campbell:
By mentioning them specifically, right?

Adam Devereaux:
Yup. By mentioning them specifically as well. If you have like an all company channel or all company team and you’ve got a channel and that’s like important communications, if you at mention the team itself, that will typically send a notification. What I don’t know is, if you can override that to make sure that they can’t change that, it may be possible with PowerShell. That’s something we can look more into. If you’d like, you can reach out to us directly and we can dig into that a little more. What was the second half of that?

Rebecca Zaagman:
Is basically around wanting to enable collaboration but not overwhelming users, so having separate teams. I think the answer is basically private versus public and then being able to mute certain channels.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. I think you may both have something on this. What I would say off the bat is don’t make too many channels and teams to start, keep it minimal. Start with maybe like an all company team and then do training on how to manage your notifications. Make sure that your users understand how to customize their notifications and then what your organization’s best practices are. It kind of goes back to if you train users not to try and hide notifications for the important communications channel then, if they are, then, at least you trained them not to and you can hold them accountable on that. What would you say?

Richard Campbell:
Yeah, I would agree. I mean, there’s some control that you can set at an organizational level, but for the most part, it’s kind of up to the user. They’ve got pretty granular controls that you can go in there and set up for notifications for yourself. Like Ann has done, we’ve done some string videos and created news feeds on our SharePoint side of things. We have the IT site and specifically a SharePoint site created those news feeds and then of course, sent those newsfeeds out to everyone.

Richard Campbell:
They get them in their email, but also, just to kind of let them know like, if you want at any time, you can go and you can not only read the newsfeed but also watch the videos to kind of walk you through step-by-step on how to set some of those notification settings for you individually. Because not everybody is going to want to be notified immediately and not everybody is going to want to be notified daily. Some people just want to get a summary now and then on some of those notifications.

Richard Campbell:
At mentioning somebody or at mentioning a group, definitely brings it to the forefront of your attention like “Hey, there. This didn’t work …”

Adam Devereaux:
You should look at this. Yeah.

Richard Campbell:
… and I should look at this.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah. Agreed. Ann, anything you want to contribute on that?

Ann Puckett:
No. I just …

Adam Devereaux:
You don’t have to. I’m just asking if you had any thoughts.

Ann Puckett:
Yeah, no, no. I think Richard nailed it.

Adam Devereaux:
All right, perfect. Any more?

Rebecca Zaagman:
All right. One more there, it was the first question that was asked.

Adam Devereaux:
Finally getting to it.

Rebecca Zaagman:
I know. Basically, they’ve not rolled out Office 365 yet, what advice can you give to orgs looking to adapt Office 365? I’ve used it before, but many colleagues are very hesitant to using a cloud based email or file sharing system.

Adam Devereaux:
Yes. There’s a couple of layers to that. By that question, I’m going to assume that you’re probably using exchange on-prem then, probably not using G Suite if you’re concerned about cloud email. I would say that I would start from a compliance and security standpoint. Microsoft has some great resources out there as to the security. The compliance that they’ve had to meet and all of the certifications and everything else. Their cloud platform is probably the most robust out there in terms of security.

Adam Devereaux:
You can even set with licensing. They have an option called Lockbox, where you can restrict Microsoft’s access even to your tenant as well with certain licensing levels. They will sign off on a business association agreement as well, if that’s necessary to you in your particular client environment. In my experience over the last 15, 20 years in IT, there are more issues related to data integrity with on-prem. On the other hand, user identities become all the more important in the cloud and protecting those user identities.

Adam Devereaux:
I would say if you’re concerned, you would want to start from a security perspective, look at the security controls that are available to you. I would also make sure that you’re implementing multifactor authentication and some of those other technical tools that you can use to secure the environment right from the get go. MFA alone and making sure that’s it set up correctly, is probably one of the most powerful tools to make sure that that is secured.

Adam Devereaux:
I would say that the power of being able to access that information in those files from everywhere and eliminating the need to create all these VPNs and workarounds. Oftentimes, that’s a compromise itself. Moving to cloud based file sharing can become much more secure because if you’re sharing the files through SharePoint, for example, with external collaborators, you have a lot more control over those files than if you were sending those by email.

Adam Devereaux:
If you don’t have cloud file storage and you don’t have cloud collaboration tools, then your users still need to collaborate. They still need to share those files. They still need to access them remotely. Typically, they’re going to be working around the limitations of your system rather than being enabled by it.

Richard Campbell:
Yeah

Adam Devereaux:
Anything you guys wanted to add on that?

Richard Campbell:
I would totally agree. I mean, between legal hold and data governance policies, some of the other, maybe a little bit less used by some tools as part of that platform are the check-in, check-out, the recycle bin for the 30, 60, 90 day they restore. Even being able to roll back to an early revision if somebody happens to do something, on accident, you can instantly undo it.

Adam Devereaux:
Yup. I just used that yesterday where I needed to go back and see when I made a change to an Excel document, I could go back to that previous revision and see what cell I changed and change it back again on the original document.

Richard Campbell:
Yup.

Adam Devereaux:
Yeah, I would say that there are definitely ways that you can set it up to be more secure. It can definitely be HIPAA, PCI, DFARS. They have tenants that are even more restricted if you have particular compliance requirements. They have the gov level Office 365 and higher yet. If it’s good enough for the DoD, I think it’s probably good enough for most of our viewers out there. Yeah. With that said, is there anything else we wanted to add? No, I think we’re all set.

Adam Devereaux:
Thanks again to Richard and Ann for joining us. I think it was really great to hear from you and how things have gone. Hopefully, you found this helpful and we’ll see you again next time.

Richard Campbell:
Thanks, everybody.