Microsoft proudly announced their fastest growing product hit 13 Million+ active users per month. It’s amazing how far the product has come in just 3 years!
It’s safe to say Teams has become the cornerstone of the intelligent workplace powering experiences from content collaboration to chat to modern meetings. Of late I’ve been working on some not-so-typical use cases, ones that emerged with new features that became available in June 2019.
It reinforces the importance of keeping abreast of product updates as the simplest enhancement can unlock new use cases and drive efficiencies in areas you wouldn’t normally expect. The features that I’m talking about are:
- Priority notifications alert recipients of time-sensitive messages, pinging a recipient every two minutes on their mobile and desktop until a response is received.
- Read receipts in chat displays an icon to indicate when a message you sent has been read by the recipient.
- Announcements allow team members to highlight important news in a channel and are a great way to kick off a new project, welcome a new colleague, or share results from a recent marketing campaign.
Pro Tip – Check your Tenant admin to ensure these features are enabled. Click here to check how
The scenario: Operations Management
Operations is dynamic, fast paced and lots of information flows between diverse groups. Information is key. How it is communicated to people is critical. How notifications align to your management framework is equally important. For a given operation, there could be hundreds of people across a range of disciplines that monitor and respond to incidents across a network of capability. Having a central command and control function that directs traffic and ensure incidents are dealt with the right level of rigor is common practice. It’s this function that typically provides updates to stakeholders:
Here’s a quick visual.
The old way
This customer used an Apple iMessage Group. It could send simple text notifications and receive updates from stakeholders. As operations expand, the messaging system didn’t grow with them, the limitations that made them look for a new solution are:
- Key people couldn’t be updated due to a limit of 27 people per group. This means notifications couldn’t be sent to everyone from the source, often requiring others to forward on (sometimes forgetting to do so)
- Volume of updates makes difficult to keep track as iMessage simply sends & receives messages, it doesn’t focus the discussion around a topic or conversation, often people might reply to the wrong incident or topic.
- Difficult to hand over between Operations Managers. 24/7 operations means many ops managers working in shifts, so hand-over of message history is important for continue service quality.
- Not sure who has received a message as there’s no easy way to work it out.
- Messages are text only , pictures tell 1000 words but these couldn’t be easily sent.
Enter Microsoft Teams
The new solution needed to enhance messaging and brings together stakeholder groups to ensure they are on the same page. Leveraging traditional Teams features with new enhancements provided a well rounded experience from content creation to consumption. These included:
Conversations allowed context to be maintained. A new conversation was created for every incident, relevant people could interact with the conversation without disturbing other conversations.
Announcements enabled the Operations Managers to align their messages to the Incident Management Framework. Red messages were used for Priority 1, Yellow for Priority 2 and Blue for Priority 3 and Green for regular status updates.
Priority Notifications allowed further importance to be added to the massage. For Priority 1 incidents, conversations where flagged as Urgent which means targeted people would get a higher priority notification on their mobile device, every 2 minutes! Important was used for Priority 2 and standard for Priority 3 and regular updates.
Read Receipts – whilst this hasn’t hit their tenant yet, it shows the platform expands and provides the features they need to improve the management of their operations messaging.
The benefits of Teams for Operational Messaging
Benefits techies take for granted are usually the ones that provide the WOW factor in the business world. As this case demonstrates, keeping up to date with the product provides real business benefits in areas that you wouldn’t expect. Some of which include:
- Improve operational efficiency by ensuring the right people get the right message, where ever they are. At their desk or on the go.
- Improved decision making can happen because more people are engaged and can easily contribute ideas to find solutions
- Increase service quality by providing more accurate data to diverse teams, irrespective of their location.
What use cases have you worked with?