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Deploying Microsoft Teams but have Webex Teams Users?

Blog September 4, 2018
Dominic Kent

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Deploying Microsoft Teams but have Webex Teams Users?

With Microsoft Teams Free launched recently, more businesses will likely be giving it a chance, especially if they already use Office 365.

Microsoft Teams Free is new, but, collaboration is not. If you use Cisco hardware for video conferencing, this could mean you have users already using Cisco Webex Teams for messaging. Using two or more messaging platforms within your organization isn’t inherently wrong. However, when unifying communication, there are potential friction points if not architected appropriately. Consider the following:

  1. How can you be sure a colleague who primarily uses Cisco Webex Teams will be able to message a colleague who primarily uses Microsoft Teams?
  2. Does each user have an account provisioned on both apps or only one of them?
  3. If each employee has a login for both chat apps, will they need to actively use and monitor both on both desktop and mobile?
  4. If not, do employees generally know which app to use to get the fastest response from any given colleague?

If this is the case at your company, read below as there are special considerations for those Cisco Webex Teams users when the rest of your company is deploying Microsoft.

Guidance from Microsoft

The introduction of Microsoft Teams came with the Practical Guidance for Cloud Voice framework – formerly the Skype Operations Framework. These are both robust, tried and tested frameworks that help deploy and adopt Skype for Business and now Teams.

Before you get started on your rollout, Microsoft has published a Getting Started Guide for IT Admins. Microsoft outline 4 key stages to rolling out Teams:

  1. Understand Teams
  2. Deploy Teams
  3. Launch Teams
  4. Feedback and Support

Further to this, Microsoft has published a series of videos to aid your Teams deployment.

Skype Operations Framework is now Practical Guidance for Cloud Voice
Skype Operations Framework is now Practical Guidance for Cloud Voice

Microsoft Teams pilot

Before you undertake your Teams deployment, it’s crucial to conduct a pilot. It’s important to note the terminology here. This is not a proof of concept. Businesses often get bogged down with a proof of concept – the concept has been proven, Microsoft Teams is a stable platform transforming business all over the world.

What you are doing here is running a pilot to suit your needs. Your pilot needs to be tailored to your business’s unique needs and bespoke requirements.

A select pilot committee is crucial. You need your most vocal users and key stakeholders on-side from day one. Failure to engage and win over the right people could put the entire pilot – and migration – in jeopardy.

A typical Microsoft Teams pilot
A typical Teams pilot

What is missing from these plans is a common scenario we run into with our customers: Deploying Microsoft Teams when some users also use Cisco Webex Teams. What does this hybrid UC co-existence scenario look like?

Microsoft Teams vs Cisco Webex Teams?
Or
Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams?

When you plan for that great day when your Microsoft rollout is complete, do you have a plan for your Cisco Webex Teams users?

Your Cisco users may have organically introduced Webex Teams as the collaboration tool in your company and could see Microsoft as the competing intruder. You have two options, and you may not have known the 2nd was even possible!

1. Kill Cisco Webex Teams and get everyone on Microsoft

An extremely common question is: “How do we officially move users off Webex Teams when we move to Microsoft?”. We often hear this following a merger or acquisition – when the new company is using Webex Teams and the assumption is that everybody has to collaborate in the same app.

Here are two key considerations as you work to get buy-in from your Webex Teams users:

You’ll need to prevent data loss when migrating Webex Teams channels to Microsoft Teams channels:
You will need to re-map channels that exist in both Webex Teams and Microsoft into one Teams channel and migrate all of the existing content over.
You will need to tell your team they should prepare to lose data or have a lapse in access to that data for a period of time.

You’ll have to reconfigure all your Microsoft connectors so your Cisco Webex Teams apps and bots work in Microsoft:
It’s the add-ons and plugins that make enterprise messaging spaces thrive. You most likely have dozens – some have hundreds – of bots or integrations running in Cisco Webex Teams.
Firstly, you’ll need to conduct an audit of what you have. This could be a good exercise to remove redundant bots that don’t need to be replicated as connectors.

If the integration is not available for Microsoft yet, you may need to find a workaround solution or a different SaaS provider entirely. Remember that in general, people will be averse to losing the app they live in all day. This effort may take many weeks or months of careful planning.

2. Interoperability between Cisco and Microsoft

Collaboration apps are extremely personalized and users will always have their favorite integrations, connectors, and bots that they use and rely on, day in day out. In the long term, planning to support two or more messaging environments, like Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams gives your Unified Communications IT strategy more flexibility, as long as everyone can work together across different chat platforms. That’s where Mio can help.

Mio keeps everyone chatting and collaborating in their existing Webex Teams workspaces and their Microsoft environments while federating messaging across all platforms. This truly is the best of both worlds. Everyone gets to collaborate the way they prefer, without the need for a big migration plan.

Mio for Cisco Webex Teams + Microsoft Teams interoperability

With Mio, your Webex Teams users don’t need to change platforms and will still be able to chat with colleagues on Microsoft Teams, and vice versa.

Mio is simple to set up:

  • Connect all the chat apps your teams use by creating your Mio Hub
  • Import all users and channels at once, or select them one by one
  • Team members in your Mio Hub can immediately chat in DMs or groups with members on other platforms
  • File sharing, threaded messages, reactions, and the ability to edit and delete messages are all supported with Mio
  • New conversations will be mirrored in the primary chat platform each employee prefers to use

To find out more about Mio’s Microsoft + Cisco interoperability solution and get on the beta list, check out this demo video.

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