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Microsoft Teams deployment update

last modified Feb 28, 2020 03:19 PM
UIS’ recent Collaboration Tools Strategy identified Microsoft 365 as a solution that met the needs of many University users and UIS has embarked on a project to deploy and encourage adoption of the collaboration tool, Teams.

The objective of deploying Teams for the University

Several University initiatives are looking at how digital services can enable new ways of working and collaborating across the Collegiate University, including The Digital Transformation Strategy, the Digital Presence Strategy and ourcambridge, which is in part focusing on improving how professional services staff collaborate.

There are dozens of collaboration tools currently in use across the university, however it would be easier to work together if we started using a common set of tools. UIS’ recent Collaboration Tools Strategy identified Microsoft 365 as a solution that met the needs of many University users and UIS has embarked on a project to deploy and encourage adoption of the collaboration tool, Teams.

The business objective is not to make yet another tool available to students and staff; it is to facilitate a transformation in the way we approach working collaboratively, both within the Collegiate University and beyond – a change in mindset and behaviour, not merely switching software.

For those who are unfamiliar with Teams, it is a powerful collaboration tool that is part of the Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) ecosystem. It integrates with Outlook, SharePoint and Yammer to provide a coherent suite of tools that can support collaboration in a number of ways – every collaboration group is different and will want to adapt these tools to support their own ways of working.

Deployment is just the start, not the end goal

The concept of ‘the digital workplace’ means effectively using digital services to transform how we do things; to work smarter and achieve more. It is not about using a new piece of software as an end in itself.

Once we enable Teams, people will have a wide choice of tools at their disposal within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, so it’s important that we provide some guidance about which is the best approach for their needs – for example, when to use instant messaging as opposed to posting in a Teams channel or sending an email, and whether creating a Yammer channel would be preferable to creating a Team. We are using the pilot phases to work with selected small groups from a few institutions to help us create a set of use cases that will form the basis of our adoption strategy at the time the service is enabled. Beyond that, we will be continuing to build on feedback from the user community to expand the best practice guidance over time.

Users will be able to set up Teams themselves, so it will be critical to provide an understanding of when creating a Team is appropriate and what the naming conventions are in order to avoid people’s Teams workspaces quickly becoming unwieldy and disorganised which would undermine the goal of trying to make collaboration easier.

Once a Team has been created by a user it is not easy to simply integrate it with another extant Team in future, making it important that we avoid an unstructured ‘free for all’ Teams environment to grow organically during the pilot phase that we would have to clean up before deployment. We don’t have the capacity to support more than doubling our pilot user base by extending access to the IT Community yet.

For these reasons, we have decided to keep the pre-launch userbase limited to the pilot end users already identified so that we can evaluate how the Teams environment develops organically at a scale the project team can support.

Project news

We are planning further communications to keep you fully informed and give you a chance to see the user-facing comms and support materials before the enablement of Teams to all. There will also be opportunities for training before Teams is deployed to the University.

There is a project update page to keep you informed about the roadmap towards the enablement of Teams to all students and staff covered under the University’s Microsoft EES Agreement.

We are also developing a SharePoint site that will be the hub for all information and communications supporting the adoption of Teams. We will share this link with you as soon as there is something to see.

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