Microsoft teams should promote communication within the company and improve collaboration in projects. At first glance, this has been achieved, because now with Teams, Yammer or Facebook workplace the employees really work together for the first time and interdisciplinary teams have formed. But due to the increased conception on Microsoft teams, a new problem arises: silos!
Silos are smaller capped units. We can also call them individual teams. Within these teams, communication takes place, knowledge is created and exchanged. Everyone can do within the team what he or she wants and also work together with guests.
Only exactly this creates silos! These separate the members from the non-members. This separates the knowledgeable from the not-knowing. This is exactly what teams and Office 365 should not achieve.
One must now think about how to dissolve these silos, which make sense on the one hand, but on the other hand prevent knowledge management and communication again.
Now it is time to lift these silos. I just collected a few ideas:
1. hub sites
The SharePoint behind a team can be a hub site of a communication site. Information can still be brought into the communication site with Flow.
2. large teams with up to 5000 members
There would be the possibility to have only open and public teams and to inflate them up to 5000 members. In practice, this is not a good idea, since the employees are overstrained with too many teams and too large groups to prevent work.
3. regularly copying the contents into a SharePoint site – the knowledge page
This is possible with Flow or Azure Logic/Runbooks. This idea is similar to No. 1. Contents must and should be moved regularly into a kind of knowledge transfer page. This is about offering content in an intranet page so that all employees can use it. However, it should not always be pushed actively to the employees, but they get the information. It needs a good workflow, staff training and a good search.
4. switch off team memory and use a common page
Furthermore, you could disable the team storage completely and only integrate open SharePoint sites into the teams via tab. This would give everyone access to the files and results of each team. Likewise one could open all SPO Sites of the teams for everyone in the company.
5. cross channel posting & editing
Microsoft is currently introducing the ability to post across channels and across teams. This would allow an editorial staff to use 1 to many announcements. For this an editorial office is meaningful, which controls the communication internally. From my point of view it can only be a part of the solution.
I am very happy that the small blog post has caused so much discussion. To make the topic even more accessible, here is an addition. The above solutions are already step 3, i.e. the implementation.
What to do?
The problem is quite clear: A small group of the whole has the information and the knowledge, but the biggest part of the whole does not have it. We have been encountering this problem for decades, not just since the introduction of Microsoft teams. Microsoft teams only exacerbate this and especially private channels will exacerbate it even more.
Now one must act before a dismantling is only connected with strongly increased efforts. Hence the article for stimulation and discussion.
Yammer as a solution?
There were comments that one could also use Yammer and link Yammer with Microsoft teams. But this is not a valid solution from my point of view. I’m only creating a new silo at Yammer (as with Team Groups in the background). Moving content from one silo to the next is not useful.
Doesn’t mean Yammer doesn’t make sense. Larger groups and communication 1 to many is much easier and better with Yammer. But teams get more and more Yammer functions, like “Praise” or Cross Channel Posting.
It is questionable how long Yammer will continue to differ from teams and how the Yammer team can maintain its product here. They cooperate with teams and also with SharePoint to transport content and trigger silos. It will be interesting that perhaps at some point the users/administrators will understand that Yammer was actually the better solution. This time as a steep thesis.
Centralization as a solution?
3 of the solutions proposed above lead to centralization of content and knowledge. This allows to use synergy effects and to have a large common knowledge store. But for this there must also be a team/editorial staff who can handle it and manage it.
Regarding the user automatically controlled content with the SharePoint Communication Site as Intranet. Controlled content would have to be displayed in these, so that the user is not overwhelmed and thus flooded with content.
In combination there must be a kind of Wiki solution for the company, which collects the knowledge and everyone can work on it, an editorial staff checks the contents and watches over the Wiki. Project managers need 1 hour to do this and there must be a closing process that allows them that time to transfer content to the wiki.
You could also think about working directly in the wiki and only transferring content to the project. So a different kind of project work. Work centrally and only the customer receives an extract of the knowledge for his project.
Ultimately, the culture of the company must change decisively, because knowledge is often the employee’s own IP and this is often difficult to share. I myself experience it daily, I am 80% no matter where I work, always with two or three people the only ones who share their knowledge or their presentations (created for the company) at all. In my opinion it must come back to working for a company for 15-20 years and not change every 2-3 years.