Five Reasons Microsoft Teams Is Great For Managing Business And Regulatory Change

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Chris Kaye

My first introduction to managing regulatory change was when I was engaged by a global asset management firm to implement MiFID I. And what a baptism of fire it was.

 It was the first programme I had encountered where:​
  • the sponsor is effectively external to the firm (it was the FSA in those days)
  • the sponsor appears unable to make material decisions until just weeks before go-live
  • the sponsor only provides high level guidance that the change programme has to interpret in the best way it could

Internally, the project team and subject matter experts were spread around the globe, were extremely senior and had little time to invest in the change programme. And what tools did the central programme and project channels have at their disposal?

  • Microsoft Project (and yes, most people do hate Gantt charts), Excel, network drives (which not all of the programme team had access to), and of course email.

​With MiFID II now nearing its climax (I hope), I started to wonder if firms had now changed the way they approached the management of such disruptive business change programmes and how Microsoft Office 365 Teams would have been such a great tool to have at my disposal all those years ago.

 

Time For Teams

So on that basis, below is a list of my top 5 reasons why Microsoft Teams is good for MiFID II, or indeed for any business or regulatory change project.

It’s all about Teams

The implementation of change is a team effort and Microsoft Teams is all about Teams – obvious then! It provides the team with a single set of connected resources providing a one-stop-shop for everything to do with the change project. This makes the whole team engagement much more productive, especially with the tight integration between Outlook and Teams.

It’s the go-to Hub for the project

​Any change programme primarily consists of team based communication, documents and plans. And guess what, out-of-the-box, Microsoft Teams provides:
  • a hub for storing and controlling documents, which enables them to be shared with the appropriate team members
  • an internal communication platform to keep team based messages together
  • a simple and highly visual planning tool – called Planner – to make sure individual project channels stay focused on the big picture

(I’m not saying Planner is a replacement for Microsoft Project or similar tools, but it is definitely more accessible than a Gantt chart!).

On the subject of accessibility

The make-up of teams is increasingly complex. Team members can be geographically distributed across different time zones and they are also increasingly mobile. People are busy, and when they do devote their time to the change programme their time needs to be used efficiently. So everything to do with the change project must be easily and readily accessible.

To support this, Microsoft teams is available on any device and fully integrates into familiar desktop applications such as Microsoft Outlook. Through a single portal, from anywhere in the world, each team member has the access to the information they need.

Team members also have other things to do

Large change projects impact individuals within the programme, and the business areas they represent, in different ways. And to be frank, most members of the programme are only focused on the specific impact to them and their area.

How do change programmes manage this? They split the programme in focused project channels. This makes life neat and tidy from one aspect, but how many decisions and issues can be constrained to a single channel without impacting another – close to zero I would say.

Microsoft Teams enables “channels” to be created to support this traditional approach. Team members can then follow the channel that is focused on their area of change responsibility. Team Channels then enable individuals to follow team members that are applicable to them, cutting out the wider programme noise and chat that typically fills their inbox. However, where a channel needs input from individuals in another channel – to discuss an issue or potential impact – those individuals can be “invited” to a channel discussion and when the discussion is resolved they can leave – thus maximising the use of their time.

It’s not over (’til it’s over)

Change projects rarely end on a set date. Often the impact tail can continue for months if not years.

However, you can bet your life that the individuals who formed the programme team disband rapidly (and a lot of them straight out of the door), taking with them all the accumulated knowledge that is locked into individual Outlooks and personal network drive folders. This can leave those individuals addressing the “tail” struggling to understand exactly why critical decisions were taken months before, or where the original source documents can now be found.

With Microsoft Teams, the “electronic team” never goes away. All those key discussions that are nicely kept in the project channels are still there. Documents can be found in the files area and the original plan, with comments and outcomes locked into it, is also available.

I have no doubt Microsoft Teams would have been of great benefit to me. Companies really need to consider the organisational and collaboration power that Teams brings to everyone in the business, who can utilise its power to increase productivity and at the same time work within a more secure and controlled environment.

If you want to find out more about Teams from Microsoft themselves, take a look through their Teams web site here

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