How To Prepare For A Successful Microsoft Teams Transition

In many ways, the pressures and changes to the workplace caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated a big change that was already planned for many enterprise companies: the Microsoft Teams transition to enable improvements in unified communications and collaboration. When faced with the prospect of moving tens of thousands of workers to online-only remote work starting in February and March, some companies opted to make the switch right away rather than stick to timelines that called for a gradual Microsoft Teams transition over most of 2020.

During a recent webinar with UC experts from AstraZeneca and Ingram Micro, we learned how those organizations quickly switched gears and have benefited from widespread usage of Microsoft Teams.

At AstraZeneca that meant speeding up a change that was already underway because of the planned move away from Skype For Business, bringing roughly 70,000 workers on board with Teams in less than a week.

Stephen McLellan, lead architect for conferencing at AstraZeneca, said the availability of enterprise-level chat and collaboration functions as well as video remote meeting and event capabilities met a lot of needs the company had been looking to address. That made hastening their Microsoft Teams transition an easy decision. The company is waiting for even more functionality from Microsoft and is using other cloud-based tools such as Zoom as needed, but Teams has become the preferred solution on desktop or on more than 1,500 video endpoints over the previously used Cisco CMS.

“We use pretty much every feature out of Teams,” he said. “We use it as our enterprise voice solution, or our conferencing services, audio and video. Of course we have the persistent chat spaces. All the users have the ability to create teams, create channels and things like that.

“Another area where we use Teams is where we’re kind of going from a world where we were Skype For Business and Cisco CMS on premise to Skype in the kind of desktop way of connecting conferences and CMS being the way of connecting video conference rooms together. That’s transitioning to primarily Teams as a single meeting platform.”

Tracking The Data on Microsoft Teams Transitions

Such a fast and massive shift to a new tool means that UC and IT teams need to keep a close eye on usage patterns to chart adoption, and monitor quality issues so that poor calls and video meetings can be addressed. Charles Wade, senior collaboration engineer for Ingram Micro, said the data captured by Vyopta quickly and easily makes it possible for the teams monitoring usage and quality to do their jobs easily, with far less time needed to identify subtle issues like an unapproved headset leading to poor audio quality.

“Different groups that are looking for different types of metrics… but for the most part, it all pretty much boils down to quality, whether it’s a good call or bad call, and then being able to drill down to see where the where the issues occurred and also seeing what is going on with the network,” he said.

“Vyopta gives us the ability to identify whether the user was connected in with the wrong wireless network headset. And then we also look to see how the usage is happening, who’s the highest user, what location, how many events we’re having, how many registered teams, what users we have that are active and how many are inactive. So that’s kind of a variety of different tools and analytical tools and things that our groups are looking at as far as what is missing to make my job easier.”

McLellan said there is a clear need for analytics tools that can perform better than data provided by OEM tools from Microsoft or other platforms. And he said the ability of Vyopta to present data from all vendors in a single pane of glass offers more opportunities for comparisons and other insights that would otherwise be unavailable, especially with the bulk of users working remotely for the foreseeable future.

“It’s great to get insights into where those problems were, since users may not actually be reporting issues because we found when it comes to quality issues, a lot of users don’t rate but do the call ratings. The other plus would be real-time data…Vyopta delivers a real-time view on Microsoft data and it’s very helpful. We use it today. We’ve been using it. We were part of the early adopters and tested it for Vyopta, and we appreciate it. It’s been a great asset to our troubleshooting.”

With Microsoft Teams data from Vyopta you’ll have the clearest view possible to make your transition successful.

Chad Swiatecki

Chad Swiatecki is a business writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, New York Daily News, Austin Business Journal, Austin American-Statesman and many other print and online publications. He lives in Austin, Texas and is a graduate of Michigan State University. Find him online on LinkedIn.