Microsoft Teams technical readiness – what are the essentials?


Owing to the incredible capability and vast reach of Microsoft Teams, technical readiness for Teams requires end-to-end thinking. We recommend that IT leaders and Teams project leaders conduct a deep dive into all aspects of the business’ readiness for Microsoft Teams. Our definition of readiness spans identity/access, file services, document lifecycle, network requirements, end point device selection, systems, licensing, technical skills etc.

 

Ask yourself questions of this nature to ensure your readiness trajectory is correct:

  • What will the performance impact on the devices and network be?
  • Does your technical team have the necessary skills to effect deployment?
  • What licensing mix is right for your users and requirements?
  • Have you considered the effect of change on the users?

 

System Requirements

 

Even small, seemingly trivial details such as updated drivers for on-device video cameras can become an adoption hurdle. Check the following to ensure smooth adoption:

 

  • Desktops and Laptops: check the devices and drivers are up to date, and compatible. Some features such as background blurring require higher levels of on-device RAM. Special caution if you are supporting BYOD laptops, especially Macbooks.

 

  • Mobile Devices: iOS and Android have different releases and requirements. Ensure the SOE and mobile OS (Android and iOS) is up to date and meets the Microsoft Teams requirements.

 

  • Intune/MDM: as sensitive organisational data may be shared through Teams, it is important to enrol all mobile and remote devices in your MDM program prior to adopting Teams so that no information is shared with insecure devices.

 

  • Voice Features / PSTN: if you are leveraging Teams Calling, consider your telco or telephony provider to be a key part of the Microsoft Teams adoption process. You can leverage your existing infrastructure or you can Migrate to Teams’ built-in cloud PBX functionality.

 

  • Networking: Microsoft has strict guidelines on network performance and available bandwidth. If you have remote sites connecting over a WAN, you need to consider the WAN capacity, Internet Breakout and how external DNS lookups are done. Teams gives us a very useful tool to simulate our network traffic and understand the performance impact.

 

It is crucial to adequately prepare your organisation for cloud voice services and collaboration with Teams. Here is a quick checklist of things that need to be done to ensure that all system requirements are met:  

 

  • Prepare M365 for Teams: Teams is included in most licenses, but the calling is a separate license, so you should ensure users are licensed

 

  • Configure Teams Core (Chat, Collaboration and conferencing): Teams can be set up without calling

 

  • Verify network performance: You should do this prior to deploying at scale to avoid a crash

 

  • Check to see if your current calling solution can be ported to Teams: Some hardware may not be upgrade-ready

Also, track each individual’s activity status to ensure that you do not miss critical steps. Offer exhaustive descriptions, necessary references, and additional data to help them finish that activity.

 

Technical team readiness

 

Whether your Microsoft Teams engineering resources are internal or external, you should ensure they have the following:

 

  • Functional knowledge of Azure Active Directory, especially configuring Groups
  • Office 365 Administration, including user, group, and report administration
  • Understanding of Skype for Business online
  • SharePoint/OneDrive skills, including Compliance Centre integration for document management and security
  • General Exchange Online knowledge and (in many cases) practical experience with On-Prem Exchange configuration

 

 

Technical or engineering readiness is essential for your Teams upgrade journey. But before you proceed, make sure that you have completed these previous stages activities successfully:

 

  • Enlisting the stakeholders of your projects
  • Defining the scope of your project
  • Understanding interoperability and coexistence of Teams and Skype for Business
  • Skype for Business can be run side by side, or you can port only certain functionality to Teams (Note that Skype for Business will end on the 31st of July, 2021)

 

Teams combine multiple Office 365 and Microsoft 365 solutions, making it essential for you to ensure proper employment and processing. These services comprise — but are not confined to— Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint Online.

 

 

Microsoft 365 Licensing

 

Microsoft Teams licensing is more than a commercial conversation. Subject to the license type (E3/ E5, or Business plan), your Microsoft Teams administrator needs to be aware of Microsoft’s app policy deployment guidelines, especially if there are 3rd party apps utilised, and what support structure is defined per app. Additionally, many of the enterprise security features in Teams require an E5 license. Some of our customers have a multi-tiered licensing solution where some users are on E5, and others on E3, for example. Further complexities are introduced for public sector and education. 

 

Your organisation should seek expert advice on a licensing front prior to embarking on an adoption journey.

 

Add-on licenses provide you the flexibility to include features for individual users who need them. If you want to add a function, buy an add-on license for every person who will use it.

 

You can add the following features with your Teams add-on licenses:

 

Microsoft 365 Business Voice

Business Voice is a telephonic solution that is designed for medium and small businesses with around 300 users. It bundles Audio Conferencing, a Phone System, a Domestic Calling Plan, etc. Phone System capabilities will include caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding, call park, call queues, and auto attendants.

 

Audio Conferencing

A necessary feature for people who lead or schedule remote meetings in your organisation.

 

Toll-free numbers

If you need toll-free numbers for auto attendants, call queues or Audio Conferencing, you will have to make arrangements for Communications Credits.

 

Phone System

Phone System, a hosted telephone solution, gives you Private Branch Exchange (PBX) functionality, with options to connect to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). Phone System capabilities comprise caller ID, cloud voicemail, call park, auto attendants, call transfer, call forwarding, and more.

 

Calling Plans

If you want to enable the users to call phone numbers externally, you need to sign up for a Calling Plan. There are both International and Domestic Calling Plans.

 

Microsoft Teams Rooms

Microsoft Teams Rooms is a feature that gets audio, content, and video sharing to conference rooms. 

 

Advanced Communications

Advanced Communications bring advanced tools and customisation to meetings to manage your company’s communication policies. 

 

Additional features include tailored meetings and tools that help you track, monitor, and analyse data on devices and users.

 

 

Do you meet the technical readiness requirements?

Experteq can assess your technical readiness and help you implement the necessary requirements. We leverage Microsoft Teams every day at work and are confident in the robust security and governance options available to your organisation.

 

Please visit our solutions page to learn how we can help you become technically ready for Microsoft Teams. 

Frank Mulcahy

frank.mulcahy@experteq.com

Over the last 15 years Frank has been involved in several successful start-up technology companies that solve major business challenges using enterprise technology thinking. Frank is a strategic thinker and is often invited by media and vendors to comment on emerging Industry trends and technology market direction.