With Microsoft Teams becoming increasingly popular with small business we are finding that many business leaders are wanting to dive in but are unsure of what they need in place before they can create their first Team.

Microsoft Teams is part of the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 family of software-as-a-service business tools which provide cloud email hosting, Office suite licensing, SharePoint and OneDrive file storage, along with other business tools.

The first step for most businesses is migrating their email to Office 365 Exchange Online (if they have not already).

Office 365’s strength comes from it’s unified communication capabilities which means the more services you move to Office 365, the deeper the integration and smoother the experience between each service. Features like archiving and search (and others) work best when email is also hosted with Office 365.

Migrating your email to Office 365 brings with it a move to Azure Active Directory, an identity and authentication solution which simplifies single-sign-on to Office 365 resources, self-serve password management, and security features to keep your Office 365 data safe.

It’s important that end users are working on a modern desktop operating system, as well as a supported mobile device, generally the latest two iOS or Android versions. This means Windows 10 for desktops to ensure full compatibility, especially if taking advantage of OneDrive for file storage.

Security should be a forethought before migrating. Will you implement multi-factor authentication? Will you use an authentication app to deliver your multi-factor codes? Do you require geographic restrictions to limit which country’s staff can login to services from? Creating a security plan before implementing will simplify the migration process and also identify training needs to ensure staff know how to authenticate.

Now is also the time to take stock of your current data to ensure it is well organized and structured in a way that will fit well in Teams.

This will be different for every organization and should involve both the technical resources planning the migration and managers to map out your new file structure.

While Teams implementations require strong technical leadership, success is as much dependent on ensuring a well-planned staff and file structure. A rushed move to Teams is likely to deliver no more than a disorganized instant messaging tool while missing out on significant productivity gains. It’s very much a measure twice cut once process.