Why we adopted Microsoft Teams—and what others can learn from it

Microsoft Teams collaboration: A woman sits on a couch working on a laptop.

Collaboration apps, such as Microsoft Teams, have become critical during the pandemic because they enable employees to stay connected and engaged while they work. Just how critical?

Microsoft reported 270 million Teams users in January 2022, up from 75 million in April 2020, a few weeks into the pandemic, according to ZDNet. Teams and similar apps have proven essential to the remote workplace.

ServiceNow is one of the companies benefiting from Teams adoption. Teams isn’t just an app to bridge the pandemic; it’s a valuable part of our strategy to enhance employee engagement and productivity. As we shape the future of work, whether employees are in the office or remote, we want to provide the tools to stay connected.

Empowering employees

From their first day, employees need to access files and complete tasks from anywhere and from any device. With many different systems and platforms available, employees can benefit from a unified and consistent experience.

Microsoft Teams provides a vital link to complement our employee productivity portfolio of tools, improve efficiency, and simplify processes. It natively integrates with software ServiceNow already uses: Office 365, OneDrive, and CRM Dynamics.

Microsoft Teams integrates with software employees already use.

But implementation wasn’t enough. Communication and education were also key to successful adoption. We couldn’t expect employees to wholeheartedly embrace Teams without assistance. We had to determine:

  • How do we educate employees to use the platform?

  • What are the benefits for each particular job?

  • How do we support employees when they have questions?

  • How do we motivate employees who are hesitant?

4 keys to a smooth rollout

With these questions in mind, we planned a phased rollout by leadership function. We learned four main lessons during our transition:

1. Communicate the how and why

Spending time and effort to prepare employees for the change was vital to gaining broad support and buy-in. We didn’t want to catch our employees off guard. That meant developing an employee communications strategy for before, during, and after the rollout.

We defined the transition to Teams and emphasized how new features could help save time and reduce frustration. We made sure employees understood the change, why we were doing it, the impact, timelines, and the resources available to help them.

2. Tap the experts

We talked to other organizations that had undergone this process to learn from their mistakes. After listening to the feedback of early adopters, we adjusted our plans to fit our culture.

Many employees had used Teams at previous employers; we encouraged them to share their knowledge and champion the switch. Hands-on tips and tricks were invaluable in helping employees transition to the new platform and take advantage of all the new capabilities.

3. Amp up the knowledge exchange

To help bridge any gaps and support a smooth transition, it’s important to encourage employees to get comfortable with Microsoft Teams early. We did this by making information—such as Microsoft Teams searchable content, live user training, and a self-help site—available in all the places employees go for help: our employee portal, Virtual Agent, knowledge base, internal portals, and the mobile app.

Within three months, we achieved 100% adoption on Teams and decommissioned our previous tool for all employees.

Setting up multiple support methods enabled employees to get answers to their questions fast. We used email and internal portal posts to alert employees of upcoming changes, avoiding surprises. This type of knowledge sharing prepared employees for success.

4. Get leadership buy-in

If employees don’t use the platform, the organization won’t benefit from it. Adoption needs to be championed from the top down.

We made sure our chief information officer understood the rollout strategy and the value the technology would deliver so he could advocate for it with other senior leaders. That included defining expectations: Individual leaders would lead by example, endorse the switch, and discourage shadow IT. During the transition process, IT provided consistent guidance to build trust that Teams would be the preferred solution.

Seamless adoption

Within three months, we achieved 100% adoption on Teams and decommissioned our previous tool for all employees. Today, 97% of employees are active on Teams weekly.

“Teams adoption within ServiceNow has opened up new ways of collaborating across global functions and time zones,” says Mirza Baig, senior director of IT Service Management at ServiceNow. “Because information can be shared easily and quickly, Teams supports our culture of making work better for our employees.”

The world of work is changing, and we’re adapting along the way, embracing other features in our employee experience with Teams. It’s just one tool in our tool belt to digitally transform our business by helping employees remain engaged and productive well into the future.

Find out more in our Making hybrid work, work for you ebook.

Take a deeper dive into how ServiceNow uses its own products.

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