• 29 May,2019

Microsoft Teams has enjoyed rapid growth in the 2 years since launch, according to the latest figures over 500,000 companies and organisations are now using the product. At CPS we have been helping customers across public and private organisations to design, enable and adopt this fantastic ‘Hub for Teamwork’. We focus on the collaboration capabilities of the service, providing a unified location for all work to happen between groups of staff and external partners.

We have noticed that many organisations have started with a trial of Teams as a new, separate product, isolated from their previous structure of departmental file shares and intranet sites. Beyond a focused trial , this tends to lead to one of two outcomes, either the new solution becomes ‘yet another place’ leading to confusion around where to find content, or leaves large amounts of semi-abandoned derelict data in the previous location. These work against the key benefits of Teams being the one-stop-shop for all conversations, documents, tasks an apps for a project, department or team.

Consider Teams as part of your Intranet

Effective collaboration is both top-down and bottom up. Many organisations will have a company homepage, often provided by SharePoint Online as the start page of their web browser. This is where staff find out about company news, what is happening socially, and links to key information and applications that are relevant to all. Teams are at the bottom, a specific workgroup typically a project, a line management, or a meeting forum. A good intranet design joins these together, so you can start at either side then navigate to any other part.

Every Microsoft Team is also a fully functional SharePoint site, it is the universal Office 365 platform for files providing rich security and compliance functions. This means we can use the new ‘modern’ SharePoint capabilities to add structure to our use of Teams. SharePoint hub sites, introduced last year, allow us to associate a Team with an intranet portal. Some organisations need just one hub, others need multiple to represent their business structure of divisions and departments. The hub provides a roll-up of the activity in the associated Teams and a directory of Teams for that area. It creates a search scope, preventing content from feeling like it has been locked away which we sometimes combine with Site Designs to create uniform permissions, menus and lists within the Teams. By using navigation from the homepage to link Hubs together you provide a simple user journey, and a more personalised homepage as news, events and other content can be rolled up again based on the Hubs the user follows.

For some organisations these Hubs are Teams as well, allowing them to maintain the same conversation experience throughout their business structure, and removing outdated one-way email lists for a more immediate and modern experience. Teams already allows us to control members abilities to chat so that these channels are more authoritative and not too noisy. Very soon Microsoft are adding announcement message styles to Teams, allowing visual styling to make key messages to standout with rich header images.

The Outcome

By removing the boundary between Teams and an intranet we remove a decision from your staff, they can work in the most agile, modern teamwork environment while still being part of their broader department and your organisation. Content is not unnecessarily private and hidden while Teams are easily located and joined. We aim to create an environment where the easy thing to do is also the right thing.