Out Loud: Microsoft’s Migration to Teams

In this episode we speak to Microsoft about their own Teams transition

Out Loud: Microsoft’s Migration to Teams


Patrick was joined by special guest Pouneh Kaufman, who is a Principal Program Manager, at Microsoft.

Pouneh explains that it has been quite a journey for Microsoft, in terms of transitioning to the Teams platform. The process, not only crucial internally, would also provide Microsoft with valuable information that they could relay to their customers and partners about what the process would involve for them.

“It was amazing for me to see what an opportunity we had to do this internally to ensure that everything is in place so that our customers would have the best experience possible.”

Although Microsoft’s internal migration was from the Skype for Business platform to Teams, Pouneh is clear to identify that Teams is much more than just a like for like replacement for the Skype platform. “It truly becomes the hub for teamwork. It enables us to become more productive working together in one platform, and brings all the other powerful apps that we have.”

The planning required for such a large migration, Microsoft are over 220,000 users globally, was huge and Pouneh and the team focused on three key pillars to ensure the process was as successful as possible. The value proposition has to be clearly defined for the users to fully engage: technical readiness, user adoption and a framework for change management were some of most critical aspects. Microsoft also employed a sponsorship or evangelist program throughout the organisation where Teams experts, in different locations, were able to assist with the migration to the new platform. There are now over 800 of them globally. Many of the approaches adopted by Microsoft are directly relevant to their own customers who will in turn go through the process of migrating to Teams.

“That’s why it was so important for us to be able to tell our story because so many customers are faced with the same challenges that we are today.”

Patrick and Pouneh then move on to discuss that ideological change that it required to fully utilise the potential of a collaboration platform like Microsoft Teams. It is not as simple as just shifting behaviour from one application to another, collaboration platforms like Teams provide so many additional features that users really need to be able to use them to transform their own ways of working. Microsoft examined this by measuring the data usage metrics to ensure that they were enabling their users to get the most from the new Teams platform.

“We measure month over month usage and we look at it and say if we are doing this, and we have champions in place and we are bringing more awareness and engagement, is this helping our usage and adoption as we are rolling out Teams? We found out it truly is.”

“The more engaged we become with a user, the faster adoption goes up.”

Finally Patricks asks Pouneh about the Microsoft Teams meeting add-in for Outlook. Outlook is still the one of the most popular office applications and email popularity shows no sign of declining. The Skype meeting feature within Outlook was widely utilised and now Microsoft are going to use this feature internally but now with a Teams add-in. Pouneh explains that this has been incredibly popular and before they started the implementation so many of their employees were asking for this function.

“This was pivotal for us. The reason I say that was because having this meeting add-in within your Outlook gives someone some familiarity.”

Microsoft’s own internal insight is fascinating for all of their customers globally who are considering using Teams. Many of the approaches used by Pouneh and the team could be invaluable for others in the industry.

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Presenter and Tech Journalist Patrick Watson and special guest Pouneh Kaufman, of Microsoft.

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