June 18, 2020

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Thousands of colleagues are now using Microsoft Teams to call each other and collaborate on work.

Digital Technology Services (DTS) have been assisting everyone with getting set up with using Teams and supporting people remotely while we all get used to new ways of working. Luckily this is the third migration DTS have handled when it comes to how staff communicate with each other.

For a long time, we all used traditional analogue telephones to call each other but as things progressed into the digital age it became impossible to maintain and support it as there just wasn’t anywhere to purchase replacements parts. Skype for Business was the standard tool at the time and so DTS began plans to move the University to digital phones using Skype.

Skype was fantastic for making calls but lacked the extra features that people demanded when using it for work. File sharing, calendar planning and shared workspaces were missing, plus all the latest digital phones were no longer compatible with Skype. Microsoft decided to discontinue Skype in favour of Teams, which has those essential features, so DTS set about planning this current migration.

Even our own IT Service Desk had to move quickly to the new Teams calling functionality. Due to the short notice of the move to remote working, the team had to work together with our own Cloud engineers to design and test a Teams-based solution for our traditional support line. This allowed us to get the Service Desk working from home by the time campus closed, and ready to support those moving to home working.

Head of Customer Experience & Service Delivery, Eleanor Draycott said of the quick pivot to an online telephone solution:

“When we realised that we would be quickly moving to working remotely, our biggest concern was about how to allow our Service Desk team to move from analogue telephones plugged into the University’s telephone network to a solution that they could use from home, in order to continue supporting our customers. Our Cloud Services team went above and beyond to help us build and test our new support line, and we were able to get everyone home safely. The Service Desk continue to provide support as if we were on campus, and we’re very proud of how quickly they’ve adapted to these changes.”

Moving to a new way of working can be hard at the best of times. DTS migrated everyone in a quick timeframe but people will still need support when using something new. Our lovely Service Desk team have performed brilliantly in adapting to a new way of providing support and getting University colleagues up and running with Teams.

Getting on Teams is easy- and DTS can help!

If you want help getting set up with Teams, don’t hesitate to contact the Service Desk who are always happy to help. Louis McClean, one of our Service Desk Analysts, is used to fielding all sorts of questions about Teams:

“Microsoft Teams has quickly become a reliable and flexible tool I use to communicate with people internally and externally. This has helped to create a more open and progressive way of working. Colleagues and I share ideas, troubleshoot issues and have better communication than ever before. We’ve taken a big leap from Skype for Business, which was very basic in comparison.”

Teams has also been extremely reliable while everyone is working remotely. One staff member said:

“I’ve been enormously impressed with how well all of our systems have held up under the strain of remote working and I’ve had no problems at all using Teams, the VPN, RISIS, Blackboard or any other system I’ve needed to use.  Many thanks for everything you and your team have been doing.”

Enabling learning with Teams

Service Desk members have also been helping Staff get the most out of Teams. DTS colleagues are always happy to help staff learn more about the software that is available and how it can benefit their work specifically. A colleague mentioned how Teams had helped make their teaching easier:

“I don’t know how to thank you. You must all be so busy, but you take time to help us get up and running off campus. Several quite anxious students want to talk online and I can use Teams for my teaching next term as well as important meetings.”

Get Teams or contact DTS

The Teams app can be downloaded onto PC/Mac or mobile devices. It can also be used in a browser, making it easy to use wherever you are.

To start using Teams or to ask for a Team of your own, visit the Teams webpage.

Joseph Bannon, one of our Service Desk team says of the move to Teams calling:

“It’s been really encouraging to see all of us at the University make a collective effort in coming to grips with new comms technology. Please do let us know if you have any questions, we’re always here to help.”

If you want to talk to us about Teams or get help please contact the Service Desk on dts@reading.ac.uk or reading.ac.uk/dts.