Why should I move from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?

Read more

During Microsoft Ignite | The Tour, Microsoft employees collected feedback and questions around Microsoft Teams from end users all over the world. As an outcome, they published on Microsoft Teams Blog an interesting post that group together the Top 10 Microsoft Teams questions from customers around the world.

Among the 10 frequently asked qiestions, one in particular got my attention: “Why should I move from Skype for Business to Teams? How do I make this transition? “

Not that this question comes as unexpected. I was curious to read the content of the blog around this question. The reason is simple: Silverside has an entire eBook dedicated to this topic. And the importance of the topic is confirmed by Microsoft. A topic that needs to be urgently addressed, in order to help customers with the reasons behind the need of a migration (and the migration itself). 

Microsoft’s answer to this question recites:

“As people are collaborating more, we see the opportunity to more seamlessly integrate our communication capabilities into Teams so users can have a single place for their conversations, contacts, and content. With Teams, we can also leverage the modern cloud infrastructure, and create new experiences for meetings and calling, including preparation, delivery, and follow-up.”

From this quote is pretty clear that Microsoft is strongly encouraging Skype for Business customers to migrate to Teams. And in order to incetivate this behaviour, Microsoft is triyng to help with the migration and user adoption of Teams. Indeed, there are many official resources available to support customers in this journey. The following references and resources were listed under the quote in the blog previosuly cited:

  • A success framework to help optimize your transition to Teams
  • A tutorial to guide you to the recommended upgrade paths and resources available to support you in your journey
  • Why Microsoft think you should move to Teams

These are only some of the resources that Microsoft offers to help you (and guide you) through the migration from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. But if you still feel confused or you need a more structured guide, Silverside created a full eBook that you can downlaod for free: “Your Journey from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams“.

When Shifting Desks Doesn’t Work: Pair-Ups

Read more

I wrote recently about Tony’s Chocolonely’s cultural practice of shifting desks every few months, in order to spark the conditions for new human connections and new opportunities for team collaboration. It resonated with me as a beneficial cultural practice for encouraging the growth of a collaboration mindset. For organisations where everyone works in the same location, re-shuffling the desk layout can be an effective method for creating new pair-wise connections. But for organisations where employee proximity is measured in kilometres rather than feet, something more will be required. Several years ago, Fog Creek Software developed an app called CoffeeTime, for randomly pairing people across the firm, with a particular focus on creating connections between people who would not normally interact. At the time, Fog Creek said the intent was to “encourage the cross-team communication and serendipitous learning which otherwise happens naturally when co-workers share an office” (hat tip, Stuart McIntyre). The result of a CoffeeTime pair-up was a scheduled 30-minute chat between the two individuals.

Microsoft Teams Icebreaker Bot 

The Microsoft Teams team at Microsoft sees the value in such pair-ups too. After developing an app for internal use to do the same thing as Fog Creek CoffeeTime, the app has been released to the wider world under the moniker of the Icebreaker Bot.

 

The core idea seeks to create the same conditions for growing a collaboration mindset: pair-up team members for a weekly meet up, to increase the velocity of meeting new team members, fostering camaraderie, and driving stronger connections across a worldwide community. The Icebreaker Bot is available as an App Template for Microsoft Teams. This enables customisation and tailoring for each organisation. It is available immediately.

To know more about collaboration practices with Office 365, download our eBook Collaboration Framework. 

Productivity Growth and Tech Investment: Ouch

Read more

After years of telling clients that investments in new technology can improve productivity (through its Total Economic Impact consulting service), Forrester has recently run the numbers on productivity growth and tech investment in the US and concluded the link isn’t working. The new Forrester report concludes that productivity growth in the US has “stagnated across virtually all industries despite increases in tech spending.” As per the chart from the Forrester report, while productivity growth has plateaued at 1% over the past decade, growth in tech investment over the same time frame has averaged 5%.

Ouch.

productivity growth and tech investment in US

Source: Forrester

The past decade (and a bit) has seen the market introduction of:

  • (2008) Apple introduces the App Store for iOS
  • (2010) Twitter users sent 50 million tweets per day in February, up from 100 million per quarter in 2008 (about 1.1 million per day)
  • (2011) Microsoft introduced Office 365 in June
  • (2012) Facebook‘s went public with its IPO
  • (2013) Slack’s team messaging service was released
  • (2015) Workplace by Facebook was introduced in pilot mode
  • (2018) Microsoft released Microsoft Teams in March, after announcing it late the previous year

Something isn’t working, and it appears that it’s us. Despite all the investment in software and tech equipment, we aren’t delivering the more that’s being sought.

Why is this?

  • Many of the above tools are designed as interruption factories, not places of productive, sustained and focused work.
  • More generally, the embrace of open plan offices has created a chatty, noisy and unproductive environment for work.
  • Many workers feel disengaged – passively or actively – and where there’s a lack of engagement, the true fruits of productivity are hard to grow and flourish.

Productivity growth is a good thing for an economy, an organisation, and for people too. It means you are creating greater value – becoming better, becoming more valuable, and helping more people. But perhaps we need to reshape the pursuit away from a direct goal to productivity to an indirect outcome of many other triggers, starting with purpose, creating the conditions for productive and creative work, and a re-emphasis and re-empowering of people, not machines.

Have you seen our new eBook on Office 365 and ROI?

From Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams: Not only a migration!

Read more

In August 2018 Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams was a complete calling and meeting solution. Skype for Business Online features were included in Teams and Microsoft started to encourage Skype for Business customers to migrate to Teams. 

But upgrading to Microsoft Teams, a completely new technology for a Skype for Business user, is not an easy task. Indeed, it is not just a change of application or a technical migration. It is about a full business transformation. 

Your “Upgrade Journey” from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

The migration from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams is called by Microsoft “Upgrade Journey”. If you are looking at the possibilities for this change, you need to know that there is no “one size fits all” approach. Many variables influence this journey. However, there are a few main migration modes.  These are more or less gradual, depending on your needs and on your position in the migration process. 

 

  • You can start by using Skype for Business for chatting, calling, meeting and start integrating Teams into your organization as the main collaboration platform.
  • Alternatively, you could use Skype during the migration for chatting and calling, while Teams will be your app for meetings and collaboration.
  • Another option is to have all workloads on both products or going for a “Teams only” approach, where chats, calls, meetings and collaboration are done exclusively in Teams.

Despite the approach you will use, the central issue here regards the change management and user adoption process of Microsoft Teams, coming from Skype for Business. How to plan this change? How to deal with the implementation? How to help users to get used to the new functionalities in Microsoft Teams? 

Guidance and planning are needed, as well as the right support. Training can help, but it won’t be enough to ensure a productive use of Teams among your employees. Microsoft provides some helpful resources that can support your upgrade journey. But there is not enough focus on change management and user adoption. 

Silverside knows that this upgrade journey is not easy. That is why we wrote a complete eBook focused on the migration from Skype for Business to Teams and the user adoption process of the new technology for your employees. You can download the eBook for free here below.

Strategic Allocation of Minutes Saved

Read more

The week before I presented on ROI for Office 365 at the Digital Workplace Conference in Auckland, I did a trial run of the slide deck with my team at Silverside. They provided several helpful points of feedback, such as slow down (yup, I definitely raced through the trial run), offer better signposting in the slides (yes, good call), and add a section on strategically allocating freed up minutes in advance. I heard the last one in passing during the trial run, but it was only afterwards that the a-ha moment hit.

The new section – which I inserted as Value Pattern 4. Strategic allocation of minutes saved – is now one of my favourite sections of the slide deck (and our new ebook) because it actually offers a way of seeing an uplift in effectiveness, productivity and business value. The idea is very simple: rather than trying to sweep up as many 1-2 minutes of saved time at the end of the day to create enough time quantum to do something with, invest the totality of them upfront in a key strategic project, opportunity or client.

Here’s the thought flow:

  1. You can see logically how using the new tools in Office 365 can save time – eliminating waste, making things faster, streamlining tasks, etc.
  2. Add up how many minutes you could expect to save out of your regular workday – given what you actually do and the new tools that you could actually use. That number could be 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes or more.
  3. Brainstorm a list of key strategic activities that you could be doing but haven’t found the time to get started on. Perhaps it is being more intentional about coaching members on your team. Or calling one important client every day that you’re not currently working with to check in. Or writing a blog or a book in your area. Or reading a book a week. Or working on a new idea for a product or service.
  4. Select one or two of these activities and invest the number of minutes you calculated at step 2 directly into this activity – and do it first or early every day, before the demands of the day derail your plans.

Investing 30 to 60 to 90 minutes every day in a key strategic activity holds the potential for opening up brand new client opportunities, new lines of business, new products and services, and new career opportunities for yourself. What will you create?

Taking this approach is also a key idea in the time management area: identify your priorities and intentionally order your day around those. Don’t get caught out by trying to finish all the little and often low-value tasks at the expense of the major one or two initiatives that would make a transformative difference in your work and career. The Harvard Business Review has a nice article on this – see Make Time for the Work That Matters (September 2013).

It’s also similar to the idea in creativity and innovation, where a firm empowers employees to spend 15% to 20% of their time on tinkering, inventing and attempting new things. For 3M, the Post-It Note line is the most famous result of its 15% Culture which was introduced in 1948. For Google, the number is 20%, or one day a week for projects that employees “think will most benefit Google” (although whether this policy is still in force, or is actually “120% time” is a matter of debate).

The Post-It Notes market globally was over $2 billion last year, and even has its own market supply and analysis report and forecast. That’s got to be a whole lot better for business than attempting to do email 2 minutes faster a day.

There are of course many ways in which you can measure your ROI. But it is quite clear that measuring it in terms of minutes saved, might not be so useful.

Download our eBook User Adoption for Office 365: How to Lock-in a Return-on-Investment and find out the possibilities of getting your ROI with Office 365.

Yammer for Work and Learning: A Story from Kellogg’s

Read more

There’s a cool blog post on the Yammer Blog in Microsoft TechCommunity on driving new skills and behaviour change through Yammer. Written by James Tyler – who now works at SWOOP Analytics – the post reflects on an adoption strategy used at Kellogg’s to help the field sales teams. At the time, James was the Global Social Collaboration Lead for Kellogg’s and was responsible for creating Kellogg’s Social Centre of Excellence.

With the field sales teams registering low engagement rates and variable delivery quality, James introduced a set of Yammer groups to enable reps to share pictures of their displays in grocery stores. Product placement and the display is the front line where product development, marketing and branding come together – either the consumer does or does not pick up a Kellogg’s product and place it their shopping cart. If it doesn’t happen, all the hard work in the background has been wasted. As reps started to share pictures from their stores, James coached several of the senior leaders on the first steps of participation – in this case like a post. As likes started to be given, the reps saw that their work on the front lines was noticed, and engagement improved. James then coached leaders and managers on how to ask open-ended, non-judgmental, learning-oriented questions in response. The two specific examples James gives are:

  1.  “How did you manage to get an endcap display in that store!?”
  2. “Great job [rep], but it’s missing a few of our required products. Can you tell us if you weren’t able to get them on the shelf?”

Not being involved in the Yammer groups at Kellogg’s, I can’t speak specifically to the conversation flow on the above questions. But I can imagine that in response to question 1, the rep had an opportunity to share something that he or she had discovered to work that went beyond current sales training and practice. For any other reps listening and reflecting on their own sales approach, this would have been an insightful and potentially transferable idea. The rep was able to demonstrate their sales discoveries, and other reps would be able to improve their own. In response to question 2, by contrast, the rep would have had an opportunity to speak to what wasn’t working – a particularly challenging selling experience, a lack of resources, the strong presence of a competitor, or one of many other roadblocks. And if the best outcome prevailed, other reps would be able to share their sales tactics, perhaps a sales leader would go on the next customer visit and offer some reflective coaching, and if required, executives would have been able to offer their help in navigating the situation.

Yammer – a place for work that drives improvement and betterment across everyone involved.

In the PACE methodology, James’s approach above fits into the Process Impacts stream at the Activate phase of Focusing on Target Situations. And as the transformation of work and learning starts to happen, it would link to the Communication stream in the Capitalise phase, for Capturing and Sharing Stories of Value. Please check out our PACE Whitepaper for more.