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Three Challenges IT May Face with Microsoft Teams

When introducing any new application to your organization, there are certain considerations to be made before launching it with end users. These may run the gamut from ways to get employees excited and on board with the new app to how to satisfy (or improve) existing security requirements.

As Microsoft Teams gains more feature parity with Skype for Business and eventually replaces it as the dominant intelligent communications platform, it’s important to consider three things your IT team may face when launching this application.

1. Security and compliance challenges

Comparing Microsoft Teams to Skype for Business isn’t really a one to one comparison. Skype is primarily used for calls, meetings and instant messaging, and though you can share documents through a chat, content sharing has never been its primary focus. You have SharePoint for that.

Teams, on the other hand, is inherently content-centric. With SharePoint running in the background, Teams easily brings together content and communication.

This type of collaborative environment creates challenges for IT since you not only have to consider how to secure communications, as you would with Skype, but also how to get a handle on document storage and sharing. And let’s not forget about compliance and retention. The content that users create and store within Teams should still follow your corporate retention policies.

The demand for mobility is high, and since Teams is also built to be easily accessible on any device, that means that anyone in your organization may access any content anywhere. So how do you stop a user from downloading a presentation onto their local device, then sharing that out?

IT needs to think about not only protecting the network and the device, but also the content that’s shared on the platforms that are now widely available. This is where solutions like Azure Rights Management come into play. By managing security at the document level, IT can ensure that important data never gets into the wrong hands.

If you happen to be in a sector that manages confidential information, you’re probably already thinking about how to manage and protect the data that needs to remain HIPAA- and GDPR-compliant. With the multitude of third-party applications that can connect to Teams, such as a CRM loaded with contact information, you need to be prepared with a solution that keeps your organization in compliance with various data regulations.

2. IT administration challenges

Everyone’s favorite word: governance. It’s an important one. When laying the foundation for a successful Microsoft Teams experience, your IT team needs to determine how to handle the creation of Office 365 Groups (and, therefore, Teams), any naming conventions to institute, and how to manage the Teams that may expire or become irrelevant in your organization.

According to Microsoft, “By default, all users with a mailbox in Exchange Online have permissions to create Office 365 groups and therefore a team within Microsoft Teams.” However, there’s an easy solution to this: You can set up a group for specific users and grant only those users the rights to create other Office 365 groups. (Collective sigh of relief.)

Now, on to email addresses. As we mention in our other article, you can generate an email address for any channel in any Teams team. However, the generic email associated with a particular Office 365 Teams channel is not exactly “friendly.” It’s a mash-up of numbers and letters, and global across all organizations in the world – so ends in @amer.teams.ms (or something similar depending upon your region).

If it’s a business requirement to have a vanity email address to use with vendors during a sales conference, for example, you may have to set up mail forwarding, which creates one more thing for your team to manage and keep up to date.

3. End user and change management challenges

We’ve discussed the importance of end user adoption at length, and the same principles apply when introducing Microsoft Teams to your organization. Employees need to have a thorough understanding of how and when to use Teams versus other Office 365 applications, and they need to slowly shift their mindset to one that’s Teams-first.

It’s also important to have a plan for how you’ll roll out the new Teams client to all of your end users’ machines. Using your security and asset management system, you should be able to do this through a group policy, Microsoft Intune, or Microsoft Systems Center. The last thing you want is for your support queue to overflow with tickets from users who can’t find the application on their laptop.

You can help support the increased adoption of Teams by enabling it side-by-side with Skype for Business. Especially until complete feature parity exists, we highly recommend running them simultaneously so that end users don’t become frustrated and resistant to Teams as a whole.

Lastly, keep an eye on the Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams roadmap so you can make consistent announcements to your organization on new features available in Teams. A user may go to record a Teams meeting, but realize there’s no button to do so like there is in Skype (it’s on the roadmap!). With proper communication, you can acknowledge the limitations that currently exist, and suggest alternatives or workarounds so end users remain productive.

Ready to launch Teams in your organization?

We’re here to help you establish the best path forward. With extensive change management experience, our adoption experts guarantee a smooth launch. Try our services for yourself for 30 days by clicking here.

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Join our webinar on May 2 to learn the best ways to manage data, user access and security features in Microsoft Teams.


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