Supporting Microsoft Teams: breaking down the silos

Supporting Microsoft Teams: breaking down the silos
Unsplash/Mika Baumeister

The current path from user to Microsoft Teams traverses a few internal support teams, making it difficult to identify and solve potential problems. But there are things you can to do simplify and unify Teams support.

Support staff often receive calls from users saying “Teams is down”, a bold claim that is probably a lot more complex than it seems. When something isn’t working properly, there are many possible root causes, but organisations often have no visibility into them, making IT just as blind to the problem. 

One of the key reasons behind this is the path taken from the user’s endpoint to Teams services in the Microsoft 365 cloud and all of the internal support silos represented therein. A user who connects from their home office through a virtual private network to an internal network, then out to the Microsoft cloud and eventually to Teams, crosses the responsibility of a few silos within IT.

The real problem here is that these silos within IT don’t have visibility into their respective parts of the path from the user to Microsoft 365. Even if they did, it’s not centrally shared. As a result, the organisation as a whole has no insight into what’s going on when a user has a Teams problem. You can’t easily identify a root cause, which means you have no ability to investigate – let alone remediate – the problem. 

So, how do you break down the siloed walls of IT to improve the use and service delivery of Teams?

Step 1: Realise the importance of Teams. The traditional silos that make up IT today are based on on-premises models and delivery methods. Your organisation first needs to see the unique value of Microsoft 365 as part of your operational strategy and, therefore, the need to establish end-to-end visibility specifically for this service. If you buy into this, you may need to rethink the silos and establish a support team specifically for service delivery of Microsoft 365 services, including Teams.

Step 2: Map out what’s involved in delivering Teams. Try to understand which parts of your environment and their corresponding internal support teams would normally be involved should an issue with Teams arise.  

Step 3: Determine what internal visibility exists. Based on the outcome of step 2, figure out what you can and cannot see with current toolsets, as well as whether that visibility can be shared with a central internal Microsoft 365 support team or across silos.

Step 4: Decide whether native or third-party solutions meet the need. There are many important perspectives when there are issues with Teams, including the user experience, the availability of the Teams service, and everything in between that aids service delivery. It’s this combination that will provide the support team with enough end-to-end detail and context to determine the root cause and a response plan. 

Should your internal methods not be able to provide the needed visibility, there are a number of technologies that can help determine if the problem is with you or Microsoft, and offer context around what can be done to remediate the problem. 

The silos are all too real for larger organisations, but visibility is a problem for any businesses, whatever its size. By giving Teams and Microsoft 365 the attention that its use demands, figuring out what parts of your organisation are involved in connecting a user to Teams, and building a strategy to create end-to-end visibility, you can ensure that services are available and create positive experiences for users.

Nick Cavalancia is a Microsoft most valuable professional and CEO of Conversational Geek

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