Every technology change project brings its challenges. To guide you through your transition to Microsoft Teams, we have compiled the top questions asked during our four-part Teams insight session series - addressing telephony capabilities, migration paths from Skype for Business, and best practices for governance, security and scalability. Read on for expert insights and tips from Principal Solutions Architect Tom Arbuthnot.
TELEPHONY IN TEAMS
When will Teams have contact centre functionality?
I don’t believe that it’s Microsoft’s intent to make Teams a contact centre; however, there are a number of third parties that are looking to work with Microsoft and its future Teams APIs to integrate this functionality. Anywhere365 and Enghouse are two Microsoft partners I recommend speaking to about this.
Are there any solutions for call recording in Teams?
Microsoft Teams offers meeting recording in the cloud but no compliance recording for calls or meetings at this time. If you have a requirement, it’s worth having a conversation with Microsoft.
Can geographical numbers be ported to the cloud?
If you are porting into a Microsoft PSTN Calling service in a country that supports it, you can usually port geographical numbers in. The rules vary slightly from country to country.
We are in higher education - where telephony needs are not going away any time soon - and are in the process of moving to Skype for Business. Should we reconsider and look for another solution?
Skype for Business on-premises will be around for a good while yet. There will be no more development on it, but it will still work. Even if it went end of life now, it would be another five years before it can be shut down completely. Until 2024, this is an option.
Use of Skype for Business Online, on the other hand, is actively discouraged. Some organisations are being moved by Microsoft to Teams but again, it’s not going away any time soon.
Teams is where Microsoft’s development is being invested, so at the very least it should be on your radar. Whilst many organisations think they can’t move to Teams because of the telephony functionality they need, most use less functionality than they think they do.
The way people communicate is changing and telephony is now just a function. You can move away but you will risk fragmenting your communication experience in the future.
What methods has Microsoft developed for bringing conference rooms to Teams meetings?
Standards based video endpoints can join via cloud video interop from Polycom, Pexip and BlueJeans. There are also native Microsoft Teams rooms. If you are using legacy video conferencing hardware or a system incompatible with Teams, you can bridge that gap using Modality Systems OneMeeting.
Learn more in our insight session, ‘How to use Microsoft Teams for your telephony and conferencing in 2019’.
USING TEAMS ALONGSIDE OTHER OFFICE 365 TOOLS
Is Skype for Business going away completely?
There is no end-of-life date for Skype for Business Server or Skype for Business Online at this time; however, all future investment will go into Microsoft Teams.
What would be the benefit of using Kaizala over Teams?
Kaizala and Teams overlap a lot in terms of mobile experience. Microsoft recently announced that Kaizala will become part of Teams, so those two worlds are coming together.
In terms of the main differences, Teams has files, application integration, a desktop experience and meetings. Kaizala focuses more on mobile-first or frontline worker scenarios.
What would be a use case for utilising Yammer as well as Microsoft Teams and how do you prevent confusion between the two?
There are strong use cases for both. The way I describe the difference between these tools is Teams is designed for project-based working, whereas Yammer is best suited for internal communications.
It ultimately depends on what your end goal is but for example, if you were looking to get feedback from employees around a certain topic, Yammer is the better tool for this. Our Internal Communications Specialist Lydnsay Ansell recently wrote a blog exploring top Teams and Yammer use cases, which will provide you with more guidance on this.
Does Teams chat have the benefit of end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp?
Yes. Teams is encrypted throughout the journey and in storage. From a compliance point of view, I would argue that it’s a super set of what WhatsApp can do because you get the ability to search and index alongside all the things important to IT.
In local government, freedom of information and GDPR are a big deal. Teams and Yammer do not provide the option to disable the storing of individual chats in the same way as Skype for Business. Does Microsoft have anything in terms of governance on individual chats?
There are some options around private chat. Generally, the business world is heading towards instant chat and storing it. If you’d like to find out more about policies and functions, I’d suggest getting in touch with us to discuss this further.
How do I know who is using which tool?
There are some great reporting tools in the Office 365 portal including one for user adoption. There’s also a Power BI adoption reporting pack, which gives you a reasonable view. For more detailed insights, third parties such as Modality Systems can take data from Microsoft Graph to provide you with more detailed insights into who’s using what, when and how.
Start with the native reports and if you require deeper, actionable insights, get in touch with our team.
MIGRATING FROM SKYPE FOR BUSINESS TO MICROSOFT TEAMS
What is your expectation surrounding Microsoft's continued support for coexistence modes - keeping chat and telephony on Skype for Business Server and collaboration in Teams?
Running Teams in ‘collaboration only’ mode - using it for files and chats, and not using it for audio or meetings – is a perfectly supported scenario.
Businesses are increasingly benefiting from bringing everyone into one tool (i.e. Microsoft Teams). If your business requires using both Skype for Business and Teams, be prepared to explain your case to other people in the business and be aware that you will miss out on new features. For instance, Skype for Business server won’t be updated with background blur or recording in the cloud.
I recently talked through the different Microsoft Teams user modes if you would like some more information.
What are the main challenges for global Skype Enterprise Voice customers moving to Teams that use third-parties like AudioCodes, SBC and contact centre?
The main challenges are in not understanding the current features that are used. Telephony is used less and less these days; the main issues are associated with advanced call distribution, which can be met by contact centre functionality.
Some contact centre products allow for call recording through the contact centre application. The SBC component is actually not that much of a problem as SBCs can be used for enterprise voice and direct routing simultaneously. Products do need to mature a little when the API is released but there are really only a small number of use cases that would stop an organisation moving to direct routing. Most are leaving the contact centre agents until later in the process.
Our meeting room video device does not support Teams yet. Any thoughts on this?
Meeting rooms can be added to a bridging service if you have legacy video conferencing equipment. Our video bridging service OneMeeting can solve this problem and enable you to start using Teams for meetings with your existing infrastructure.
We have senior management engaged in 20 to 30 projects at a time and are finding it difficult to adopt Teams. Do you have any advice for this scenario?
User adoption is critical for Teams. It is a different way of thinking and can be confusing. For this reason, we have developed specific ways of educating users depending on their roles. Change management is also very useful in this situation as there is often an underlying reason that the adoption is not sticking.
We have the same challenge at Modality Systems and take a team per customer approach. Initially, this was met with some resistance. I am a product owner, so I dip in and out of multiple accounts. With hundreds of customers, it felt overwhelming to begin with; however, the key way to view a team is you have the right to view it, but you don’t need to view every message. You have access should you need it but if someone needs you, they should be mentioning you to get your attention. Content sprawl and the fear of missing out are common pitfalls in Teams deployments to be aware of.
One issue we have had with Skype for business is getting an external client into Skype for Business so our staff can instant message them. Is this the same with Teams? Can we connect to clients that are not using Office365?
Teams is a totally different solution. Guests do not need a Microsoft account to join a meeting or team.
Do we have to go from Lync 2010, to Skype for Business, and then on to Microsoft Teams?
No. Lync 2010 is going end-of-life so you would need to be moving away from this anyway. It depends on which functionality you’re using. I would recommend taking a look at our Skype for Business to Teams workshop to answer that question. This applies to Lync 2019 as well.
Find out more in our insight session, ‘Moving from Skype for Business to Teams, what you need to know’.
SCALING YOUR TEAMS DEPLOYMENT EFFECTIVELY
Can you extract lists of people invited to Teams meetings?
You can look at Microsoft Graph and Exchange Calendar to see who has been invited. On the other hand, if you need information on who has actually attended a meeting, that will involve a future API that provides more session details.
If a team has a third-party app like Trello or Jira, can you report on how much these are being used and by which users?
You can see chat, channel and file usage but when you have a tab in a team that integrates a third-party app, Microsoft Graph doesn’t have any visibility of how often that tab is clicked or what interactions are happening.
Yes. Currently the structure is that the team itself forms the security – users are in the team or out of the team. What Microsoft has talked about publicly is the idea of having private channels and a subset of channels that have less access. This means you will have the ability to lock down a particular channel to a subset of the team.
SUPPORTING USAGE AND ADOPTION WITH TEAMWORK ANALYTICS
Can Teamwork Analytics drill down into Teams, departments, divisions, sites, regions and countries?
Yes, Teamwork Analytics enables you to see the different departments interacting. The same principal applies to cities, teams, domains and countries. Power BI gives us an immense ability to report. If you have data that is not included in the native report we have created, we have full time Power BI specialists who can produce bespoke reports quite quickly.
Can you export the data out of Teamwork Analytics?
Yes, absolutely. We will share the schemer with you – it’s your sequel and your data. If you want to export from Power BI specifically, each report can be exported to excel. Change managers, for example, may want to use these to report back into the business.
How is Teamwork Analytics licensed?
Teamwork Analytics is licensed per user, per year and this is per module – modules being teams, usage and governance as well as Office 365 PSTN licensing and billing, and Skype for Business and Yammer usage reports. The more modules you choose, the more cost efficient it is. Feel free to reach out to us to request a demo and get an order of magnitude cost.
What are some of the biggest deployments that Modality Systems has helped with?
There are some really big ones out there now, particularly on the collaboration front. We’re starting to see hundreds, and in some cases thousands, on telephony but the vast majority are using Teams for collaboration and meetings.
The largest business running Teamwork Analytics at the moment has 40,000 active Teams users, and we know from the reports that they have about 5,500 active teams. This scales really well in terms of looking at data. In terms of pulling this data out of Microsoft Graph, at that scale it takes a few days the first time. Once we put an update to the data it can take from 6 to 8 hours. Typically, the data will refresh every 24 hours. In a smaller environment that would be much quicker.
Learn more in our insight session, ‘Scaling your Microsoft Teams deployment successfully’.
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