How to Mitigate Risk When Migrating Contact Center to Microsoft Teams

We’ve learned that there are four key focus areas to keep in mind when planning your Contact Center migration to a Microsoft Teams based UC infrastructure. Find out what to do, and how, so that your migration will proceed as smoothly as possible.

How to Mitigate Risk When Migrating Contact Center to Microsoft Teams

Content Summary

4 Key Focus Areas When Planning Your Teams Contact Center Migration
Be Clear on the Who and the What of Project Deliverables
Preparation is the Key to Success
Run a Teams-Only Pilot Group
Schedule User Acceptance Testing
User Expectations and Training
Outside the Project Team

4 Key Focus Areas When Planning Your Teams Contact Center Migration

  • Clearly define the project, set clear project objectives and goals
  • Interdepartmental cooperation and preparation are the keys to success
  • Deploy a Teams pilot group to ensure everything works according to plan
  • Run exhaustive User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and end-user training before going live

Be Clear on the Who and the What of Project Deliverables

To set the right expectations you need to understand who will be involved in delivering pieces of the project along the way, and then, each person needs to know what is expected of them.

It is necessary to clearly identify task owners at the beginning of the project. Contributors may be external as well as internal – for example sometimes the SBC* is owned by the organization itself, and sometimes it’s owned and administered by their Microsoft Integrator.

The same goes for the Teams programming. You need to involve the Contact Center in your project team and get them invested early in the project’s success.

Communication is KEY to ensuring project success. This is where less is not more. Over-communicate. Be clear and specific. Identify issues experienced with solutions implemented, successful steps completed, and acknowledge team efforts made to keep the project on track.

Building the Right Team

Aside from your project managers, you’ll need to consider:

  • Who will look after the servers? Will they be in the cloud or on premises?
  • Who is responsible for marshalling external contractors and keeping them on track?
  • Who is responsible for the Microsoft Teams administration programming?
  • Who will arrange and schedule training for the contact center team?
  • Who will do the User Acceptance Testing (UAT)?

Preparation is the Key to Success

Prepare a dedicated migration plan for the contact center – making sure to include all collaboration capabilities and interactions required across the rest of the organization. Ensure that all affected departments contribute to setting the timelines for their areas, and that appropriate project resources are assigned. Their primary responsibilities should be to ensure that their commitments are respected.

Even if migrating other parts of the business to Teams as well, there should still be a separate migration plan for the contact center developed by your contact center solution provider. This should sit within the overall Teams migration plan, developed and coordinated by your systems integrator.

The contact center provider needs to work with all parties to build and adhere to a migration plan that suits the organization’s business requirements and timelines.

With all the migration tasks identified and allocated, you should feel confident about rolling out the changes with minimal risk.

Run a Teams-Only Pilot Group

While it may make sense to get your systems running swiftly to ensure they’re functioning as expected, it’s typically best to implement departments on a staggered basis in order to minimize disruption and avoid issues. This will also enable you to identify any resulting efficiencies that can be leveraged across the organization.

The best practice for any type of standalone platform implementation is to have it set up, stabilized and working as originally designed before addiing other capabilities or integrations to it.

Microsoft Teams is no exception. Deploy Teams with call control active for a pilot group of users. If there are any fundamental issues – such as network latency or problems with the SBC or within your cloud infrastructure – they’ll be much easier to identify, diagnose and resolve before any other layer of complexity such as the contact center solution is added.

We always recommends running a pilot group on Teams, for a minimum of two weeks without any operational or communications issues, before adding the contact center solution.

Schedule User Acceptance Testing

Without a doubt, the most critical piece of any deployment is the User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Before starting, ensure that the contact center provider performs functional testing to ensure that the system is delivering and maintaining call connectivity as required.

The next step is to arrange for actual users to test the environment. This needs to happen before going live.

For User Acceptance Testing:

  • The business must set aside a dedicated team and the appropriate time for testing.
  • UA Testers must include end-users who have been freed up for testing by their managers and are solely dedicated to completing testing for the duration of the UA testing period.
  • UA Testers need to include contact center users, representing the parts of the contact center that may process calls differently including back-office resources, internal and externally deployed (remote) subject matter experts, etc.

We encourages organizations to seek out the right users for UAT. These should be people from the contact center, that have already been trained on the new features of the system. Their job is to test all possible calling and collaboration scenarios.

Why is it Important to Include UA Testers from the Contact Center?

Only the actual users themselves can ever undertake the testing needed for a fail-safe cutover to the new system:

  • Do all methods of call hand-off work as expected, from start to finish?
  • Can agents pause, park or escalate a call the way they’re used to?
  • Can they conference, consult, get assistance, intrude, and more?
  • Can Supervisors review call statuses, progress and listen in with ease?

No matter how “non-technical” the contact center staff are, if you have them test all their day-to-day activities prior to going live you will have reduced the possibility of go-live complications or issues.

User Expectations and Training

Be aware that if you fail to meet your users’ expectations, the perception of your project’s success will be as poor as if it had technical issues.

The exceedingly high adoption rate of Microsoft Teams has resulted in very high user expectations for its communications and collaboration capabilities. Organizations must ensure that users are not disappointed with how these capabilities are implemented in their contact center environment. The organization must be very clear about what will improve, and how it will help optimize the agent’s experience. The organization must also be committed to providing training – both structured and using on-demand tools – in order to ensure adoption and overall project success.

The most important over-arching objective: enhance agent workflows, don’t change them.

User experience for Teams contact center users is most affected by the behavior of the call itself. These factors affect the user experience with Teams:

  1. The way a call is presented to the agent and answered
  2. The ways a call can be handled after that

Every communications platform has its unique capabilities and idiosyncrasies, so the Teams experience will be slightly different for all users, even if they are coming from Microsoft Skype for Business.

From a general business perspective, familiarity with the Teams interface is very high, but for Contact Center agents, it may be a bit confusing. Pre-deployment and user training will be critical to overall project success.

Outside the Project Team

The success of your project is not only determined by the project team. Everyone across the organization must be satisfied before it can be considered a success. So it’s imperative to set appropriate expectations before the project starts, whenever an issue arises or when a project milestone is achieved.

Not only will this head off unnecessary anxiety and inquiries, but showing staff that you respect the job they do and don’t want to disrupt them, will help to ensure their tolerance and support is present, in the unfortunate event of anything actually going wrong.

Make sure that everyone affected is kept up-to-date on project progress, not just the key stakeholders or the executive team. Send regular bulletins to all staff – and don’t forget the contact center!

Setting Expectations Across the Organization

  • What is the objective of the migration?
  • What is the expected outcome?
  • Who is managing the project?
  • Who will take it over when it’s completed?
  • Who will be affected, and how?
  • When is it taking place and what are the key points on the timeline?
  • What criteria are being used to determine success?