“Communication is changing and with it the applications we use in organisations.”

This summer Microsoft surprised us with news that some of us had already expected, the end of Skype for Business Online. Microsoft has revealed that this well-known application, integrated in almost all the companies that use Microsoft, will leave us on 31st July 2021.

Furthermore, as of 1st September 2019, all new Office 365 customers will have Microsoft Teams as an application, and it will no longer be possible to activate Skype for Business Online.

So far we have had two cases, Office 365 customers with more than 2 years who will have Microsoft Teams automatically integrated, will also have Skype for Business Online in isolated applications mode, so many users will have 2 different applications to communicate in the company, Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams. Another case is that of Office 365 customers with less than two years, who only have Microsoft Teams as the default application, having the option of using Skype for Business Online while completing their  transition to Microsoft Teams.

With this new update Microsoft is telling us that it is necessary to start to Adopt Microsoft Teams as a tool for communicating and collaborating in organisations.

And how should we deal with this? Well, as Marc Vidal rightly says “what you really need is to understand that the world is changing”. If we look back in time, we don’t communicate in the same way we did 10 years ago. When we see all the new things that Microsoft incorporates and will incorporate in Teams, we ask ourselves, what will Outlook be like in a few years? Only Microsoft has the answer, but it is clear that it will not be used as it has been up until now.

And following what Marc Vidal tells us in the article “Technology, people and the 8 key factors of the Digital Transformation” we must keep in touch with technology as the company culture changes. This means, in the case that concerns us, we must experiment with Microsoft Teams in the process of adopting the tool and the organisation must start to understand how to work collaboratively hand in hand with the tools that Microsoft makes available to us.

Furthermore, according to a study by Forrester (The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Teams) collaborating with Microsoft Teams means savings for companies.

Following the manufacturer’s guidelines, their tool projects must utilise two complementary disciplines, project management and change management.

Project management as the focus on application planning and technical implementation and change management focused on the activities required to prepare the organisation and its people for change by facilitating the transition from the old way of working to the new way of working.

Often, we focus more on implementation and leave user interaction to the end.

Figure 1. Common approach in new application projects.

But, according to Microsoft, the ideal approach is to adopt the application in parallel to its implementation as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Ideal approach to new application projects.

And how do we do this? From Sothis we accompany companies in this process of transformation and change. We are specialists in technology, its functionality and the management and change processes necessary to properly adopt it, which ensures both the success and satisfaction of their employees.

We propose adopting Microsoft Teams, first identifying the key success factors: project stakeholders, criteria for use, awareness and user training.

Figure 3. The 4 key success factors for adoption projects.

Then, we carry out the three phases that we will describe in general terms below:

  • An initial phase that allows us to understand the context of the organisation, define the scope and objectives of the change, identify the promoters of the change and define the tool’s usage policies.
  • A second phase consists of experimenting with controlled user groups who will collaborate in the transition to the new way of working.
  • A final phase where we will measure results, listen to employees to implement the necessary corrective actions and give continuity to the application within the organisation.

In light of everything we have seen, I can only say that it is clear that the evolution of Microsoft forces us to change, but it must be done properly and in a user-centred way. Only then will we be able to guarantee the success of the change and enjoy the advantages of cloud solutions based on efficient collaboration.