August 31, 2020

Why Now is the Perfect Time to Integrate Learning into Microsoft Teams

Article

The COVID-19 crisis has seen the rapid scaling-up of the digital workplace for many organizations.

This has helped employees to navigate the challenges of working through lockdown. In particular, there has been a massive increase in the rollout of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams has delivered significant value and played a major part in business continuity, keeping employees connected and companies productive. Many IT functions had to bring their roll-out plans forward, or even start from scratch. While this has been a steep learning curve, many employees have adapted quickly and now Microsoft Teams is an integral part of their working day.

Armed with a scaled up, significant collaboration capability, many business leaders and IT functions are considering the next phase of Microsoft Teams. How can they get further value, both in the long term, but also in the shorter term as they navigate through the challenges of a very fragile economic climate and a still volatile situation regarding the pandemic?

There are various options for the next stage of Microsoft Teams, but one is to consider integrating different digital workplace tools and systems into the platform. Indeed, the ability to integrate digital workplace tools and apps into one platform and have a single-entry point is one of the reasons why Microsoft Teams has been so hugely successful.

One of the options that organizations should consider is integrating learning into Microsoft Teams, by making a Learning Platform and its relative course content available through the platform. Many LMS365 clients have been taking advantage of the easy and seamless integration with LMS365 to increase adoption of learning by making it available directly in the “flow of work”.

In this article we look at five reasons why integrating a Learning Platform into Microsoft Teams can deliver advantages for organizations, employees, IT functions and Learning & Development professionals.

1) Microsoft Teams is becoming the access point into the digital workplace

When organizations launch Microsoft Teams, they can be surprised by its success. They rapidly find that usage metrics are high and that some employees end up spending most of their day within Microsoft Teams. If rapid and healthy adoption of the platform was true before the pandemic, it is even truer now – this is where work is happening.

The success of Microsoft Teams is down to multiple reasons including the easy ability to integrate and access multiple applications. It is also the place where employees can have conversations and get easy access to structured information and files.

Because of the high adoption levels, it makes sense to focus on adding additional elements of your digital workplace into the Teams experience, including facilitating access to your course catalog and training assets.

Many Learning Management Systems do not get good adoption because they are cumbersome for employees to access; employees need to visit a different, unfamiliar system and enter yet another username and password.

When you integrate a Learning Platform with Microsoft Teams you remove many of the barriers to adoption; no extra place to go, no additional password, no unfamiliar interface and no extra window open.

2) Now is a time to learn

Many organizations and employees are taking stock of the profound change in working patterns that has taken place both as we continue to work through the pandemic, but also in the longer-term. Has the way we work been permanently transformed?

While some clichés such as the ‘new normal’ and the ‘digital reset’ are being applied, there is a sense that we are at the start of something different and we will all need to adjust the way we work accordingly.

In adapting to new ways of working, employees need to learn new digital skills and even adopt a new mindset. Employers may also need to be seeing to invest in people. It is a good time to be placing more emphasis on learning and training to help everybody to adjust.

Providing learning though Microsoft Teams, the very platform where work in the new world is happening on a day-to-day basis, can help employees to overcome the challenges of this dramatic shift. Part of this learning might be about to use Microsoft Teams itself; it is an advanced platform that continues to evolve.

Naturally, the best place to access learning about Microsoft Teams at the time of need is within Microsoft Teams itself!

3) Microsoft Teams opens the rest of Microsoft 365

Microsoft continues to invest heavily in Teams and will continue to do so. This is one of the reasons why it has been such a success. One of the directions of travel for Microsoft’s investment in Teams and with the Microsoft 365 platform in general is the easier ability to integrate the different tools together and provide common experiences across SharePoint and Teams.

By integrating a Learning Platform with Microsoft Teams, you can start to leverage the wider power of Microsoft 365, for example using the automation of the Microsoft Power Platform to improve learning processes.

Many LMS365 clients such as Maersk Container Industry use Power BI to configure real-time dashboards of learning-related analytics through the organization. When you also bring in other data to a dashboard you can uncover powerful insights to help inform your L&D strategy and operations.

Microsoft are also developing various frameworks to make it even easier to bring Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots to Teams and beyond; by integrating your Learning Platform with Microsoft Teams you are also ensuring it evolves with your Microsoft 365-powered digital workplace and gets better and better.

4) Microsoft Teams drives peer-to-peer learning and the associated learning culture

One of the most powerful elements of Microsoft Teams is the ability for employees to search for content from right across the Microsoft 365 suite and then share it within discussion feeds; this can occur across specific teams and channels.

This is particularly important for learning and training because it means employees can recommend courses from your course catalogue to their peers.

When learning starts to become peer-to-peer, exciting things happen; a bottom-up drive for learning means a collaborative learning culture is emerging and this opens doors relating to other elements or organizational and digital transformation. A platform like Microsoft Teams can play an important role here.

5) It is cost effective in a time of constrained budgets

The coming weeks, months and probably years are going to be difficult for businesses. The economic climate is going to be fragile and we can expect budgets to be severely constrained for the foreseeable future. Therefore, low cost projects that have a high impact are going to be highly attractive.

Integrating a Learning Platform like LMS365 with Microsoft Teams can be very low cost as no custom development is required; effectively you are adding value and supporting the ROI of both your Learning Platform and Microsoft Teams with little effort and a small budget. This makes both L&D teams and IT functions happy!

Evolve your digital workplace

Integrating a Learning Platform like LMS365 into Microsoft Teams drives value in evolving your digital workplace, removing significant barriers to adoption to learning, and even driving a bottom-up learning culture. At a time when many organizations are moving forward with scaled-up teams and still navigating some of the challenges of remote and distributed working, integrating learning into Microsoft Teams makes sense on multiple levels.

An increasing number of LMS365 customers are taking advantage of the easy integration between LMS365 and Microsoft Teams. If you would like to find out more about how LMS365 is integrated and implemented with Microsoft Teams, you can watch this video.