Adopting a new system or policy can be challenging for any organization. Managing a widespread organizational change requires interdepartmental coordination, unified messaging from leadership, and consistent updates throughout the process to ensure everyone’s kept in the loop. Microsoft has tools in place that can greatly assist with adoption and change management.
Microsoft’s Modern WorkPlace has a collaboration application known as Teams. This application is great at facilitating your team’s communication in a way that helps drive adoption and change management.
To get the most out of Teams, it’s critical to have a structured, streamlined process in place for adoption and change management. Some industries, such as healthcare, even have sector-specific features that help simplify the process. For example, Office 365 allows healthcare facilities to maintain HIPAA-compliance when using its applications. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how your organization can best use Teams to promote smoother transitions across your enterprise.
Set up a Pilot Group
Adopting new systems often means sending your organization into uncharted territory. Your employees may have to use programs or procedures they’re unfamiliar with, leading to potential confusion if no one’s ability to provide comprehensive briefings on using the new systems. Preparing your entire workforce is one of the biggest challenges associated with adopting new changes. That’s why for a widespread organizational change, you should set up a pilot group before you adopt it. The role of this pilot group will be twofold:
- They’ll test the platform to ensure it works effectively. Before you roll it out to everyone, having a small focus group navigate the system to see how its practicality will help others troubleshoot issues later. They can also help your company get in front of potential issues you may not have foreseen.
- Once the pilot group has reviewed the platform, achieved familiarity with it, and all issues are ironed out, you’ll then be ready to deploy the system to your wider organization. Now your pilot group can act as advocates for the new platform, extolling the new system’s virtues to your new team members. They can also help flag any frequently asked questions.
The pilot group should be cross-cutting, with 3-10 employees from various departments. If you’re expecting your entire organization to use the platform, you’ll want to be sure each specific department (each with different needs from the system) has representation in the pilot stage. Having a diversity of viewpoints at this part of the process is crucial, as different departments will have different perspectives on how various components within the system will impact the way they do their job.
Also, make sure to include a representative from the IT department, as they’ll likely need to assist your other employees with the adoption as the process continues. Finally, include one or more person in a position of leadership within your organization to sit in on the pilot group to hear comments and concerns while also explaining the new system’s value proposition. Consider adding someone such as your chief executive officer or the business owner. These are the “champions” of the new platform you’re looking to adopt. The champions will lead the entire effort, gathering input from the pilot group while acting as a liaison between them and the rest of the team. Your champions should also ensure, at each step, that communications to the entire organization are concise, unified, and clear. The biggest threat to organizations undergoing change is confusion. Champions should act as facilitators in helping your company to avoid that.
Adoption and Tricks
Change management always has some degree of difficulty associated with it. That’s why you should look for any kind of tips or tricks you can to make the adoption process easier.
Many of the features within MS Teams offer helpful shortcuts that help simplify the adoption process while amplifying productivity. One area in which Teams can really benefit an organizational change is through the use of various application plug-ins. Teams allows your employees to access the various Microsoft 365 applications like PowerPoint, Exchange, Yammer, Word, Excel, Stream, and others. If your different departments already use these applications, Teams lets them create workflows that tap into these different applications. You can continue using them throughout the adoption of your new system.
You can also encourage enhanced communication by creating Channels specifically customized to discuss the adoption. This allows for your team members to talk between departments, sharing files and engaging in conversations across your company.
Within Channels, your employees can communicate in a variety of ways, including:
- Phone meetings
- Instant messaging
No matter how your team communicates best, Channels has them covered. They can schedule meetings or connect on the fly. Your meetings can be as small or as large as you need them to be. For meetings of your pilot group or specific departments, you can host smaller groups. You can also hold live events - essentially webinars - that can host as many as 10,000 users. This will be useful later in the process as you get closer to full-on deployment.
Employees can share their mobile device screens in Teams as well. This is helpful when team members need to quickly and widely share documents that outline any new components.
The communication tools offered by Teams are versatile, allowing your users to communicate in whatever way works best for them as they learn and grow in the new system.
Plan and Test
Microsoft also gives users the ability to create technical or non-technical assistance as organizations work their way through adopting largescale changes. The plan you use to usher in system adoption depends on your organization’s size, structure, and type of work. No matter what your answers to those questions are, Teams gives you the capability to create a structured plan.
Companies that have a larger scope may opt to use Microsoft’s technical plan, which is known as FastTrack. FastTrack helps you move existing systems to the Office 365 cloud. Small to medium-sized companies can create a non-technical plan.
Your plan should have clear timelines for testing, implementation, and adoption. Once the plan is finalized and approved by company leadership, circulate it to everyone in your organization affected by the upcoming change.
Once your company’s change management plan is officially documented, your pilot group can begin running tests on projects in the new system. They can also use all the tools in Teams to do so. It’s critical to give your pilot group plenty of time. Rushing through this part of the process can prove to be a costly mistake. This is when you’ll need your pilot group to exercise patience as they actively look for potential issues your organization may find after deployment. The more issues they can identify, address, and solve at this stage, the easier the adoption will be for everyone.
Deployment and Ongoing Training
The most critical component of the testing phase? Ironing out any glitches or lingering concerns surrounding the new platform. This is where the pilot group needs to perform rigorous testing of the new system.
As the testing phase continues and eventually wraps up, your champions and the pilot group should formulate messaging and communicate it to your entire organization. This can include procedures for using the new system, key transitional dates, and how to address issues they may face.
No matter how well your pilot phase goes, it’s important to remember that not everyone in your organization may warm up to using Teams. You can prepare your employees as much as possible, and there will always be some resistant to change. For this reason, it’s critical to include a proactive and ongoing support and training program.
As you deploy the new system, your employees will have questions. By offering both support and training, you offer them the ability to learn or escalate it to someone else if they can’t find a solution. It’s important to clearly communicate what resources are available to your employees and how they can access them. This won’t just be true at the beginning of the deployment - it will continue on as they begin to use the new system.
Change management is never an easy process for a company, but with MS Teams, you can make it a whole lot easier. Teams gives your employees the tools to understand the change, communicate issues, and understand the timetable for adoption.
Teams allows your organization the ability to work, adapt, and communicate better across the board as they move through the change management process. Get started with driving adoption and change management with Teams today.
Agile IT has a proven track record, managing secure cloud migrations for over 1,000,000 users and over 1,500 organizations. To get started on driving adoption into your company, schedule a call today.