If you hadn’t heard, big changes are coming to Microsoft’s Unified Communications (UC) offerings. Back in July they announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired July 31, 2021, followed by the end mainstream support for Skype for Business Server 2019 on January 9, 2024. User organizations will need to migrate to Microsoft’s newer UC service, Teams, built into Office 365.
While the migration will require some infrastructure changes, Microsoft has provided some detailed service management frameworks and roadmaps to work with (More on that below). These will be incredibly useful for MSPs managing migration projects. But there’s a big component missing from those docs: help for the end users.
Teams is a more polished UC service, and one that truly offers unified communication and collaboration. But it’s going to be a very different experience for end users with its deep feature set. That’s a daunting prospect, even for power users. Customer organizations are not going to get the most value out of Teams if their personnel simply don’t know how to use it.
One option MSPs should consider to help their end users stay engaged, and keep their paying customer organizations happy, is a customizable training program that integrates with Teams, like QuickHelp.
Let’s take a look at why MSPs should consider leveraging QuickHelp to help both new and existing customers get the most out of their migration to Teams.
A complex change with many upsides
There are a lot of Skype for Business customers out there. The data analytics firm Datanyze reports that Skype for Business holds over 17% market share in the UC space. So if you don’t have any existing customers who need to migrate, there may be some new ones on the horizon who are looking for assistance.
While they may be dreading the change, but you should explain that there are many good reasons to make the switch to Teams.
Robust meeting features
Skype for Business required plugins to get the most out of full-fledged remote meetings. Those features are all native to Teams, including desktop sharing, uploaded PowerPoint presentations, and whiteboard collaboration.
Simpler voice calling
Team’s supports direct routing through your customers’ existing line or PBX using only a Session Border Controller (SBC). This is significantly less complex than direct routing with Skype for Business, which requires the Server or Cloud Connector editions to connect with an SBC.
A composite sample company switching to Teams like this would reduce web conferencing and on-premises telephony solutions costs over three years by $648,727. That statistic comes from Forrester Consulting’s Total Economic Impact Report on Microsoft Teams. For more financially-focused customers that report offers some other compelling reasons to migrate.
After three years getting full utilization from Teams an organization could expect to replace 150 overnight trips with online meetings at an estimated savings of $233,080.
Gaining many efficiencies
A range of operating efficiencies were created by converging resources into a Teams-based unified communications platform. It reduced downtime across information workers in all sampled organizations by 14.6%. Over three years, a composite savings in mitigated losses of $257,586 was calculated.
These figures are all impressive, but one key thing to note here is that your customers seeing these benefits is entirely dependent on them competently using the platform. Putting the technology in place is one thing. Getting end users to take advantage of it is another.
How to help your customers fully utilize Microsoft Teams
As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft has provided some comprehensive service management frameworks and transition roadmaps for conducting the actual infrastructure migration. But again, these won’t do much to actually help get end users productive in Teams.
There’s not much point in rolling out whole new UC services for your customers if they’re going to go unused. Some end users just don’t know what to do with a whole new application suite. Others fall behind as feature sets change and then just get by using more familiar but less effective methods.
If their employees aren’t using a cloud service customers may just give up on it, and your revenue streams will start disappearing. Using Sherweb’s QuickHelp program to keep end users productive and engaged can help keep them flowing.
How it works
QuickHelp is a customizable e-learning portal that deliveries highly-targeted training content. Its feature set is perfect for aiding new service adoption, such as a migration from Skype for Business to Teams.
Personalized learning paths
QuickHelp is customizable for each customer and for each individual user. One-size-fits-all training often trains no one. A customer’s help desk operators may not need the exact same Teams training as your HR staff, and neither might need the same as your department heads.
You only load the content in their QuickHelp portal relevant for their organization’s needs. Then using a short questionnaire that their users complete at intake, individualized content is delivered based on a user’s role in the organization—including department, job type, and specific apps they use.
Content is available for all skill levels from beginner to power user. It most often takes the form of short, easily consumable training videos, anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes, emphasizing specific tasks. This means they’re suitable to view on quick work breaks or live as a particular feature needs to be used.
PDF reference materials are also available on different topics, like Teams chat commands or quick guides on advanced video call features, like background blurring. Sherweb’s business partner Brainstorm also offers live webinars on different topics for even more focused development. Users can also share specific content with coworkers within QuickHelp as they find material relevant for their work units.
There’s even a gamification system you can enable for your customers that helps encourage participation. Their staff earn completion badges and compete for top scores. It keeps training fun to help your customers meet their training goals and performance milestones.
With the retirement of Skype on the horizon, QuickHelp might be the missing piece that convinces skeptical customers to stick with Microsoft managed UC services. It ensures that the technology they invest in will actually enhance their performance. And it helps you add value to your service offerings.