With Skype for Business set to retire July 31, IT leaders at many higher education institutions will need to start thinking about transitioning to new videoconferencing systems, such as Microsoft Teams.
The software giant has deployed a number of resources to help with the change, including upgrade planning workshops, free training with instructors and FastTrack onboarding assistance.
Ed McCallister, who completed the transition from Skype to Teams in 2019 as CIO for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says it’s important to train employees and communicate to ensure a smooth change.
Colleges and universities have a diverse range of end users, so it helps to craft strategies addressing each demographic’s needs. Developing an overall change management plan and conducting “roadshows” for users throughout the organization can help, McCallister says.
“My best tip for making the transition from Skype for Business to Teams is to know your users and build initial communications and training materials around the functionality they use today,” he says. “Making a cheat sheet that draws connections between the old tool and the new one will really put end users at ease, even if the changes seem obvious to IT.”