Using Teams vs. Adopting Teams

After the massive push to remote work via tools like Microsoft Teams spurred by the pandemic in 2019, IT teams now find themselves in a conundrum: very broad but incredibly shallow adoption. In the rush to remote work, everyone quickly moved to tools like Teams, Zoom and Slack, but that meant that a major workplace transition was rushed, reactive, and chaotic. 

Now, it’s time to go back and do it right.  

You already know that leveraging Microsoft Teams to its fullest can help your team meet their business goals. And here are a few stats to reinforce that: 

+ Users estimate that using Teams can help cut down on over 2,700 emails per year (BrainStorm Quickhelp user insights)

+ Forrester analysts estimate a time savings of $19 million for an organization using Teams due to the reduction in formal meetings and emails (Forrester TEI research) 

+ HBR research highlights that employees lose 4 hours every week toggling between average work apps (HBR research) 

Have you struggled to drive a groundswell with users?

To better drive Teams adoption among users, be ready to communicate how leveraging Teams to its fullest will: 

  • Make their jobs easier 
  • Help them feel more connected to their teams 
  • Save them time 
  • Make them more productive and organized

Much more than chat

A common misconception about Microsoft Teams is that it’s just a chat tool. It’s only Microsoft’s version of Slack, right? In reality, Microsoft Teams has 1,900 apps that seamlessly integrate, transforming it into a collaboration hub where users can accomplish tasks without leaving the platform. So, your first hurdle is helping your team to see Teams as MORE. 

Organizations can leverage Teams to the fullest by: 

Creating team and group chats: facilitate swift work and approvals without unnecessary meetings  

Collaborating on files: seamlessly edit cloud-stored documents within Teams making it easier than ever for your team to access work-essential files

Integrating essential work apps: manage projects, assign tasks, provide updates, and more - right within Teams, without the need to leave the platform.

Ready to finally get your users fully onboard with Teams? Follow these 7 tips and start your transformation.

Make the “why” crystal clear
1. Make the "why" crystal clear

If there’s no clear guidance for why, when and how to use Microsoft Teams, your end users are not going to adopt it. They’ll just see more app clutter. You need to convince users that taking the time to learn Teams is worth it by addressing potential end-user concerns directly. Here are some potential questions they may have:  

  • Should I stop using another application?
  • Is everyone in my department going to use this?
  • When should I start using Teams and stop using other apps? 
  • How is this going to change my workflow? 

Without helping users understand the benefits of adopting Microsoft Teams for themselves and the business, they may feel like this is just “another arbitrary technology change” and you may experience resistance from them, especially if you’ve asked them to change processes recently.  

Increase end-user adoption by tying Microsoft Teams adoption benefits to pains they may experience daily in their jobs. Consider presenting benefits like:  

"Buried by your inbox? Adopting Teams will help cut down on emails by an average of 2,700 emails per employee by making collaboration real-time."

Showcasing how adopting Microsoft Teams will help solve their pains, and drive business goals, is proven to improve employee adoption significantly. 

Make your plan public
2. Make your plan public

If you want to make user adoption of Microsoft Teams easy on your IT team, thoroughly communicate the Microsoft Teams adoption plan to your organization. 

Take the stage at your next town hall. 

Take advantage of the next town hall or all-hands meeting where a large portion of the organization is expected to attend for key company updates. These are great opportunities to announce digital initiatives like your push for deeper adoption of Microsoft Teams.  

During the meeting, communicate the business need of adopting Microsoft Teams, the benefits to end users, how they can leverage Microsoft Teams to the fullest, and the next steps and timeline.  

Follow-up the meeting with additional communications via email, and directly to managers reminding them of the details you shared.  

Communicate early and often. People need to hear new things at least 7 times, and in 7 different ways before it sticks. So, take advantage of all your communication channels if you want your efforts to pay off. 

Leverage a champions program (1)
3. Leverage a champions program

Adoption is more successful when you involve executive sponsors and champions.  

According to Prosci research, the number one contributor to successful change management is active and visible sponsorship.  

Executive sponsors can help drum up support from the management level and back up IT’s adoption campaigns. But champions are the real secret weapon in Teams adoption. 

A champions program provides grassroots, bottom-up support for software adoption, helping individuals catch the vision of what Teams can do for them. 

Who are champions? Champions are the innovators, the early adopters, and organizational influencers. They aren’t necessarily managers, team leads or IT professionals they’re invested, saavy,  users who are trusted by their coworkers. 

Champions naturally exist in all companies, but by recruiting them into a formal program, you harness their grassroots influence to promote organic change for 10 times the adoptive power. 

Three ways champions can help 

  • Champions can help reduce IT support tickets by being a resource for employees to turn to when they have questions 
  • Champions help reinforce adoption by communicating personal success stories of adopting Microsoft Teams 
  • Champions help gather feedback from end users on how adoption is going 

Need a boost? 

High tail it out of your hybrid state (switch on Teams, switch off others)
4. High-tail it out of your hybrid state
(switch on
Teams, switch off others)

Getting stuck between two applications prolongs the pain. It’s harder on IT to support, more expensive to the business, and more confusing to end users. Plus, it can have a hugely negative impact on productivity as users find themselves unsure about where to communicate and collaborate. 

As an IT organization, you likely manage a lot of applications including some applications that compete with Microsoft Teams. Eliminate confusion for users as best you can by making it clear that Microsoft Teams is their new and only communication and collaboration hub.  

Additionally, if you are getting rid of other tools and replacing them through the Microsoft Teams adoption, communicate this with your users. 

In your communication plan, make it known which existing tools you are sunsetting, and when users should plan to be fully migrated. Give them specific instructions and provide a roadmap. 

Your end users will appreciate the clarity, transparency, and conviction in your direction – and they can start taking steps to plan ahead for the change. 

Show users how to integrate Microsoft Teams into their workflow & team culture

5. Show users how to integrate Microsoft Teams into their workflow & team culture

Hosting initial training can help showcase the benefits of how users can leverage Microsoft Teams in their day-to-day workflows.  

Some things you may want to introduce to users to incorporate Teams into their workflows:

  • Stop emailing documents back and forth and instead start centralizing team resources like team documents, budgets, monthly reports, and more with tabs in Microsoft Teams
  • Add project management tools like Planner to assign tasks to your team all within Teams without the need to set up meetings
  • Create a team in Microsoft Teams instead of initiating that group email chain

Bake Microsoft Teams into your culture: 

  • Encourage leveraging Microsoft Teams to cover stand-up items like tasks, approvals, and follow-ups to reduce meetings
  • Leverage a company-wide announcement Team channel to reduce emails 
  • Encourage employees to create a team in Microsoft Teams for initiatives like projects to centralize resources and create transparency

However, follow-up is the key to successful adoption 

You will want to continually educate users on ways they can continue to integrate Microsoft Teams into their work and into their team culture.

Stop expecting IT to do it all

6. Stop expecting IT to do it all 

IT teams are increasingly being asked to operate as marcom and change managers. Successfully executing a digital transformation requires a whole lot more than deployment, a few instructor-led training classes, and a SharePoint site. And yet, IT is already strapped and they may not have been hired to drive organizational change. It’s not their core competency.

(Need help? Check out: Change management from the bottom up ( 

 The organizations that have the most success with new software adoption don’t rely solely on their IT team to facilitate software adoption.  

Tools like BrainStorm serve as an extension of IT teams, automating training with content, comms, and engagement, and driving a 400% increase in software adoption.  

BrainStorm’s approach to software adoption reduces the burden on IT teams by helping deploy and migrate to business-critical software like Microsoft Teams. Our customized approach to software adoption, targets users based on their role within the company and assigns them dynamic, personalized learning flows geared to drive deep, ongoing adoption of tools like Microsoft Teams.

Here’s how we help: 

  • Personalized and automated end-user communication
  • Integrations with apps like Teams to help drive software adoption where users are already working
  • Content geared to drive productivity by identifying new ways to use the software 

We like [BrainStorm] because it is not just an LMS but has built-in Microsoft training material. The gamification of this material really has improved our adoption and user acceptance by motivating users to use the tools. We have rolled out a lot of new tools over the last year and it would have been much more difficult if we were to have to train users on our own.” (CTO, national construction company)

Communicate, communicate, communicate

7. Communicate, communicate, communicate

The final step to a successful Microsoft Teams adoption is to set an adoption deadline and communicate that to your organization. Make your timeline widely known and ensure managers and champions include these dates in communications to their teams.  

You may also want to include key dates in digital and internal signage promoting Microsoft Teams to your organization. Virtual backgrounds, flyers in the breakroom, and desk toppers are all great ways to remind your end users about the upcoming changes.

Now that you have all the tips to drive a successful Microsoft Teams adoption at your organization, go ahead and get started. If you find yourself confronting the trade winds of organizational buy-in, read this blog on why IT fails. You might find an unlikely ally in HR.  

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Microsoft is focusing more and more on increasing usage of Microsoft Teams, so you’ll be ahead of the game by driving further adoption now.