Organizing for innovation

What you can learn from MS Teams when looking at MS Copilot 365 (and other Generative AI solutions)

Microsoft (MS) Teams is a powerful technology. Yet, when IT managers offered it, few employees showed enthusiasm to switch to MS Teams. Organizations have faced several challenges when adopting Microsoft Teams. Some of the common problems include:

    • Resistance to change: Employees may be resistant to change, especially if they are used to working with other collaboration tools
    • Lack of training: Employees may not be familiar with the features and capabilities of Microsoft Teams, which can lead to underutilization of the platform
    • Technical issues: Technical issues such as connectivity problems, software bugs, and compatibility issues can hinder adoption
    • Security concerns: Security concerns: Organizations may have concerns about the security of their data on Microsoft Teams, especially if they are dealing with sensitive information
    • Lack of governance: Without proper governance, Microsoft Teams can become disorganized and difficult to manage, leading to confusion and inefficiencies
    • Teams sprawl: Teams sprawl is a phenomenon where too many teams are created, leading to confusion and inefficiencies

As a result, much of the powerful functionality went unused and adoption was often disappointing. We can blame Microsoft or anyone else, but there is a lot to learn from the adoption of MS Teams that will help you when trying to implement MS Copilot or any other Generative AI tool.

Differences and commonalities

Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Copilot 365 are two different products that serve different purposes. Microsoft Teams,is a collaboration platform that allows teams to communicate, share files, and work together on projects Microsoft Copilot 365, on the other hand, is an AI-powered chatbot that can help users with tasks such as scheduling meetings, creating documents, and answering questions

However, what they both have in common, is that they improve how we work. Both are tools that aim to increase our productivity through better work processes.

Overcoming adoption challenges

The most effective adoptions of MS Teams we have seen among our project teams, were those who had a (communication) problem to solve and were looking for a solution. The solution then happened to be MS Teams. I all these instances, MS Teams delivered according to its promise. The happy users provided powerful testimonials about how MS Teams solved their problems and soon MS Teams got a following in these organizations.

If we compare the steps taken by these teams – it is nearly the opposite of what the typical strategy is when introducing new technologies – see Figure 1.

Putting the problem before the solution

In many law firms, engineering firms, and other professional service organizations, those responsible for the innovation programs have been delighted by the arrival of Generative AI. With the arrival of ChatGPT, the ease and use of this technology became self-evident. So, suddenly, there were the (tech-savvy) practitioners asking for technology, instead of them having to push the benefits and technology. What a difference!

However, it seems that many of these managers are squandering the opportunity. Perhaps, because innovation groups have been pushing technology for such a long time, they are falling into the same trap that led to adoption challenges when introducing MS Teams. They are pushing the technology and looking for champions for the technology, instead of putting the solutions first.

For successful adoption,  you need a few champions for the problems that will be solved with GenAI solutions. Where in the firm is productivity low, because of drudgery and repetitive work that nobody wants to do? If you can solve that problem, then you will have followers who believe in the solution not because of the tool itself, but because of the problem it solved. This means that those with similar problems now know, first, there may be a solution for their problem(s), second, someone else in the organization was able to solve the problem so it should be possible to get similar results. In our experience, that makes for a snowball effect when it comes to adoption.

Conclusion

While MS Teams and MS Copilot are very different products, there are lessons to be drawn from the adoption of MS Teams that you want to avoid when implementing MS Copilot. The simple version is, to start with the problem, not the solution. If you would like to know what more there is to it, contact us. 

P.S. The picture was created by MS Bing "create a picture that compares the adoption of MS Teams with that of MS copilot vermeer style"

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