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Journey from Skype for Business to Teams: Part 1 – Optimization

As Walt Disney once said, “times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim focused on the future”. This applies to all aspects of change, especially in the technology world. That said, Microsoft has shifted gears over the past year to pursue a new hub for teamwork called Microsoft Teams. In this article I will explain what exactly you’ll need as an organization to have long-term success with your journey from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. This series will be separated into four parts:

  1. Optimization
  2. Pilot
  3. Coexistence
  4. Adoption

Each of these parts are vital for success, and following these guidelines will help streamline the process so you can ensure your organization is prepared. With all that said let’s start things off with optimizing your environment!

Environmental Readiness

When optimizing your Skype for Business environment for Microsoft Teams environmental readiness will be at the forefront. This guidance will help validate your current Skype for Business environment to prepare for your Teams deployment. Environmental readiness is composed of 4 pieces:

  • A network readiness assessment
  • My Advisor
  • Quality Assessment
  • A Quality champion role

Network Assessment Readiness

Regardless of whether you think your network can handle the load of Teams or not it is always recommended to conduct a network assessment. A network readiness assessment focuses on network performance, network planning, and other general network aspects such as ports and protocols that must be opened. For more information on network assessments see Microsoft’s documentation here.

My Advisor

Practical guidance straight from the horse’s mouth will always be your best bet. That said, Microsoft has published practical guidance called “My Advisor” to give you the toolset for planning and managing Teams and Skype for Business Online for operational success. Check out My Advisor here.

Quality Assessment

If you are currently the Skype for Business administrator for your organization you should already be familiar with Call Quality Dashboard (CQD). However, if this is the first time you’ve heard of this tool, CQD is used to monitor usage and identify quality trends and Call Analytics to help troubleshoot or look at quality indicators of individual calls. CQD is typically used for a high level view of the entire organization whereas Call Analytics is typically used to drill down into call details for a specific call and/or user. My Advisor has tons of great information on CQD, so I’d advise you to reference the link here for more info. In addition, Microsoft has some great documentation on Skype for Business Call Analytics which you can look at here.

Quality Champion Role

Another important piece to a successful implementation is identifying a person or group of people for the role of quality champion. In this role the quality champion will review quality metrics against usage and identify quality trends as well as areas for improvement. This individual/group will be responsible for any call quality related issues and should act as a SME (subject matter expert) for the identification of quality issues. In addition, the quality champion should work with respective teams to remedy issues and report to a steering committee on the progress of any open issues. The quality champion should be taking both reactive and proactive steps to fix any outstanding issues.

  • Reactive – Go-to person for any call quality related tickets & items. Acts as a SME for the identification of quality issues
    • Typical tools: CQD, Call Analytics, Snooper, UCCAPIlog
  • Proactive – Review weekly usage and quality trends, identify action items. Drive remediation actions
    • Driven by CQD online
    • Generate data driven evidence to work with other teams (Networking, Desktop deployment,…)

Some of the SOF (Skype Operations Framework) content was transitioned over to the My Advisor portal. This applies to the quality champion concept and the quality review tools and techniques from the Manage a quality and reliable service delivery workshop. If you are unfamiliar with the quality champion, I encourage you to check it out.

Environmental Dependencies

Microsoft Teams combines several different O365 services, so this will mean there are certain dependencies that need to be accounted for prior to implementing Teams. These services include (but are not limited to):

  • SharePoint Online
  • Exchange Online
  • OneDrive for Business

Although not all of these services are required for Teams to work, it is highly recommended to implement them so you can get the most out of Microsoft Teams. If some of the services aren’t implemented and if not communicated properly, end users may perceive this as being broken thus having a poor user experience. For example, while you are not required to implement SharePoint Online, Teams does rely on SharePoint Online for certain functionality such as file sharing in groups. Not implementing SharePoint Online will affect functionality offered through the client. To learn more about these requirements please see the following links:

Environment Discovery

Discovery is one of the very first (and most critical) steps that you must take when planning your journey to Microsoft Teams. The discovery process consists of a discovery questionnaire that you should fill out to confirm if your organization is ready for a successful roll-out of Audio Conferencing and Phone System with Calling Plan capabilities in Teams. In addition, this will address all matters related to your existing collaboration infrastructure and O365 tenant including networking, endpoints, operations, and adoption and readiness. The questionnaire is separated into multiple sections to ensure you cover all major areas during your preparation for Teams. The different sections for this questionnaire include:

  • Project team – Capture detailed information on the key stakeholders of your Teams rollout project. One person can hold multiple roles throughout the project.
  • Office 365 tenant details – It is highly recommended to have an active O365 tenant as you work through the questionnaire.
  • Existing collaboration platform summary – Capture information about your existing collaboration platform deployment.
  • Collaboration platform deployment details – If applicable, capture details of your Teams/Skype for Business deployment by using the sample here. If you haven’t deployed Teams or Skype for Business Online you may skip this section.
  • Networking and access to O365 services – Capture your organization’s networking details and how your users are (or will be) connected to O365 services.
  • Endpoints – Capture details of the clients and endpoints in use.
  • Operations – Capture details of the operational aspects of your environment.
  • Adoption and readiness – Capture current adoption and readiness state of your organization

You can find the full questionnaire for each of the sections above, here.

This concludes the first part of our series. Although we are just in the beginning steps of your migration process, you are well on your way to your journey to Microsoft Teams. In the next part of this series we will be discussing how to pilot Teams alongside Skype for Business. I hope you have found this article helpful and I look forward to presenting you with part 2 shortly!

 

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