Case Study: Moving to Teams opens up communication
For Ipswich-based solicitors, Smith & Co, a move to Microsoft Teams gave them a chance to review their business processes, but also yielded an improvement in communication among colleagues.
The practice had already made a partial move to working online when it began using specialist cloud-based case-management software back in 2016. However, it wasn't until a major failure of their on-site server that the firm looked to move the rest of their files to the cloud too.
An enlightening move
"It was the extent of the disruption to business that surprised me most; every hour matters," explained Vicky Hosking, Managing Partner at Smith & Co. "We had become very reliant on the server and decided to move away to a cloud solution."
Following consultation with Strident, it was decided to move to Teams. "Rather than simply moving our data online, it gave us a chance to review the way we worked. It was enlightening to look into the way we were working with our data. For example, some colleagues were working from personal files that were out of sync with other versions.
"It gave us a chance to improve and streamline our working practices and identify any discrepancies. It also provided a common purpose which helped everyone move forward with the changes in the way we work."
Although there was a little resistance at some of the new procedures, these were short-lived. "When people are busy, learning a new way of doing things can seem like an unnecessary inconvenience. We had a few niggles in the beginning with setting the right permissions for users but in fact any problems were quickly resolved. Now it's just the accepted way of doing work."
Chatting is better
Although the primary goal was to move away from a physical server, the chat facility within Teams has proven to be very useful. "As it is just like the instant messaging services that we use in our personal lives, it was easy and fun to use. But that has also made it very useful for quick, easy-to-follow conversations between colleagues using groups. It is easy to pick-up conversations where you left off without long-winded emails flying about."
Teams has proven a great solution for Smith & Co and complements the case-management software it uses. Although Teams has many tools and features, Vicky advocates getting your data sorted first. "It is important to be realistic about how you're going to work. We are using only some of the features but it's a productive platform that gives us options in the future."
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