The world is a different place than what any of us imagined it would be when 2020 first started. Heading into the year, organizations created plans around workplace modernization and digital transformation, but with the current global events, we are all rethinking and adapting to an idea of a different future of work.
BlueJeans has been in lockstep to help our customers scale their video conferencing quickly during these trying times. In addition to ensuring our core Meetings and Events products are available and easily scalable with the uptick in demand, we have been hard at work to understand the overall communication needs of our customers. Since our early days, BlueJeans’ approach has always been to provide interoperability to help customers design their communication ecosystem with a degree of flexibility unattainable with other vendors - even with a high degree of unknowns in the mix.
For many organizations around the world which are Microsoft-centric, Microsoft Teams continues to play an important role in their communication strategy. As a Microsoft Certified Partner, BlueJeans has been co-developing solutions with Microsoft to provide interoperability for our joint customers. With our Cloud Video Interop (CVI) solution, BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams, we have supported many of our customers with their Microsoft Teams deployment and adoption journey. We want to share a quick overview of how to approach a Microsoft Teams deployment for success, based on years of experience working with our customers to develop their adoption best-practices. Read more about how to deploy Microsoft Teams video conferencing here.
Understanding the Stages of a Microsoft Teams Deployment
To help customers with their support requirements, Microsoft segments different stages of a Teams deployment into several different phases. It is critical for an organization to understand the different phases so that they are able to invest in the stages appropriately, resource the requirements accordingly, and reduce complexity for their end users.
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft Teams involves a significant organizational change management. Teams presents a completely new way of working for most users who are used to operating different applications that serve different functions. Microsoft Teams is an ecosystem that pulls every aspect of working in a team - document collaboration, one-on-one chat, team chat, video meetings and application integrations into one inter-connected platform. There are enormous advantages that come from this unified approach. But this also means that there needs to be a major shift in user behavior throughout the organization for the deployment to be successful and to reduce disruption to employee productivity. Therefore, organizations find it helpful to implement Teams in phases in order to decrease user resistance and empower users to be successful at their own pace.
Microsoft Teams Chat, Channels and File Sharing
In the first stage of a Microsoft Teams deployment project, IT admins can encourage users and pilot groups to use Teams Chat for messaging and make use of the Channels feature for collaboration. In addition, it is critical to enable file sharing with OneDrive and SharePoint Online to ensure the collaboration process is seamless and that Teams becomes the norm for shared work. Ensuring a smooth transition in Phase 1 can ensure that the overall deployment faces less friction during large-scale adoption.
Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing
In Phase 2, Microsoft outlines rapid scaling of Teams video conferencing. In the initial stages of the Microsoft Teams video conferencing adoption curve, Teams users will join meetings using their laptops, tablets, or mobiles device of choice. Microsoft calls this phase Modern Meetings. The current focus on remote work makes this step especially critical. A seamless transition to help users get comfortable with the features of the desktop and mobile Teams client will ensure users get the maximum benefit offered by Teams video conferencing.
Some key features in Microsoft Teams video meetings are:
  • Scheduling a Teams Meeting: There are multiple ways to schedule a Teams Meeting. In a Teams chat, users can select “Schedule a meeting”. Users can also select New Meeting in Calendar. After saving the meeting, the invite will go out to the participants with all the required joining details.
  • Meeting controls: On the Teams interface, there are icons that will allow users to mute and unmute video and microphones, share content and record the meeting. Users also have the option to blur their backgrounds.
  • Digital Whiteboard: In the Teams desktop client, participants have the option to sketch and collaborate together with the digital whiteboard.
  • Recording a meeting: Users can record a meeting by the participants during the meeting. Everyone is notified and a message is also sent to the chat history. The recording captures audio, video and screen activity and is stored in Microsoft Stream.
A key component o widescale Teams adoption typically means ensuring Teams video is enabled in conference rooms. While most organizations are working remotely if possible, many are considering how best to safely reopen their offices in the next few months while providing a safe but productive environement for everyone. For organizations looking to maximize their usage of existing hardware systems, minimize costs, and increase Teams video usage, a simple, scalable solution like BlueJeans Gateway can provide a risk-free approach during these uncertain times.
To read more about Microsoft Teams Adoption best practices, read this blog. Visit this page to learn about our partnership with Microsoft.