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Deploying Microsoft Teams for your Small Business

Principal Solutions Architect Tom Arbuthnot​ gives us some insider information on MS Teams deployment

Deploying Microsoft Teams for your Small Business

Microsoft provides multiple software packages for Microsoft Teams. They allow users to choose the best method of deployment for their SMB environment. I spoke with Tom Arbuthnot​ a UC expert, to talk about how easy it is to deploy Teams for Microsoft Office 365 users.

Arbuthnot is a Principal Solutions Architect at Modality; he also writes a regular blog on Teams called Tom Talks, and is a regular contributor here on UC Today. He is an expert in the field of Teams and all it has to offer SMBs. Arbuthnot said, when considering deployment, understand the package you need. Microsoft has a business addition of Teams that allows up to 300 users, which is a great value for SMBs. You should know, if your SMB plans to use Teams as its primary phone or conferencing system, you will need a different level of licensing.

No matter the licensing you purchase, the deployment process is the same, according to Arbuthnot. What will change, is the amount you pay Microsoft. No matter the size of your business, if you want access to premium call and contact center features, you must deploy Teams’ Enterprise Edition.

Teams onboarding is an ongoing process

Microsoft provides extensive end-user training on its website on deployment, to help organizations make the most out of their Teams experience. Arbuthnot explained; the training materials are not exactly end-user-friendly but geared more toward educating an IT professional who would then hold training sessions on how to increase productivity and mobility with Teams.

Arbuthnot said:

“There is a bit of a learning gap associated with Teams, but what Microsoft is trying to do is add helpful tips on how to use Teams from within the platform. For SMBs looking at deployment, it would be useful to have someone in the organization to coach employees on how they can increase their productivity with Teams and get answers to customers faster”

“It is no different than rolling out Slack or other collaboration tools, you should have a Business Champion in your organization to help with the learning curve and get everyone enthusiastic about teams. Most importantly, they should be able to convey the value of Teams so employees adapt quickly.”

The problem with assuming

New Microsoft Teams LogoIn IT, Arbuthnot added, there are often misassumptions. IT professionals, for instance, might assume employees understand the benefits of real-time comms in a growing digital workforce. Conveying these messages will be key in the successful deployment of Teams and should remain an ongoing effort. In the beginning, you might have conversations like ‘well, I like email, so why do I have to switch to Teams?”

“Getting employees to understand why Teams is more useful than email, will take time, but there are several good reasons to use teams that just need selling into the business. Businesses now operate on a 24/7 basis and freelancers are a part of the equation as well, therefore collaboration and mobility are a must” said Arbuthnot.

If your SMB has more than a fifty employees, Arbuthnot explained, you typically have one person dedicated to IT. In 2019, IT is as much about making a business get the most out of Teams and Salesforce and less about patching servers because of Cloud adaption.

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