Microsoft has completed an internal transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, during a four month process spanning more than 180,000 employees.
The completion of the upgrade means that all staff members are now using Teams for communications and collaboration needs, which includes chat, calling and meetings.
“This truly was the fastest upgrade that we’ve ever done with this large number of users,” said Pouneh Kaufman, a principal program manager at Microsoft. “Moving all communications and collaboration to Teams means Microsoft employees now have one place to go to get work done.
“Now that the migration is complete for our eligible users, we can really hone in on the next big thing, which is to get more out of having everyone work on one hub for teamwork.”
Working within the division that led the migration, Kaufman said “a small group” of additional employees and vendors will migrate once certain countries “unblock” cloud-based communication tools such as Teams.
“Integrating our business process applications into Teams reduces the back and forth our employees have to do to get their work done,” Kaufman added.
“We’re making it so our employees don’t have to leave Teams to create a PowerPoint deck, collaborate with another engineer on some code, take training, book a campus shuttle, or find out what’s for lunch at their local café.”
According to Mohammed Anas Shaikh - senior program manager who led the technical deployment of Teams - employees were migrated by division, in a bid to align staff most likely to collaborate with one another.
Specifically, the team migrated about 25,000 to 40,000 people in each of six waves, with the final round finishing in early March.
“Our service engineers spent a lot of time validating eligibility requirement and scripts,” Shaikh added. “So, when it came time to deploy the actual technical bits behind the migration it was straight forward.”
Kaufman said a “large change management planning effort” was also deployed to help facilitate the deployment among staff, driven by activities such as Teams Tuesdays and how-to videos.
“We prepared readiness materials, got leaders on board, sent out tons of communications, and shared how-to information on every platform we could,” Kaufman added. “We had more than 1,300 champions from teams all across the company as well as EUSE business partners who helped us get people onboard and engaged.”
Shaikh said there were two steps the team had to take before the migration could occur, which firstly focused on loading Teams add-in into Microsoft Outlook, allowing meetings to be scheduled from all Outlook end points.
Secondly, Microsoft built out and implemented a governance plan for helping employees maximise Teams from the outset.
“Some people thought they had to join Skype for Business meetings using the Skype web app as guests,” Shaikh added. “We showed them that they could use the Skype for Business client to join those meetings.”
Since the upgrade, Kaufman claimed that the quality of calls has increased as a result.
“Now that we’re all on Teams, we’re fulfilling our vision for having one hub for teamwork,” Kaufman added. “It’s going to be great to see all the ways that this helps make us more productive.”