Urgency vs Audience with Context

Richard and Kanwal from 2tolead had much larger ambitions in answering The Question, and they do so at length in their whitepaper: When to Use What in Office 365. I was initially trying to just answer that nagging question and help people get off the starting line with their adoption of new tools in the Office 365 suite. The 2tolead team started from the same initial framework, but elaborated on it to describe how organizations will evolve on their journey of adoption.

There is some excellent material in this paper about the importance of business context for these decisions, the role of HOW you use a product, synergy in the toolset, patience with cultural change, and the need to revisit your decisions regularly. Don’t miss this detail and read the whole paper. That said, what they do with the original model itself is interesting.

They show a few examples of how the matrix will start in a different “configuration” depending on the context of the business problem (is the project a company announcement or a top-secret engineering project?), and on the maturity / culture of the team. As the project progress, different tools will be used at different stages. As the team matures in their adoption of new tools, the matrix can become more nuanced.

For example, if you’re just trying to get a team to start working in a collaborative space vs. their personal inbox, perhaps starting with Outlook Group Conversations is a good first step, as at least it’s in Outlook. As the team starts to see the advantage of working in a “WE” space instead of a “ME” space, you can wean them off of Outlook and into Teams or Yammer for their conversations.

Most of the rest of the paper is a detailed breakdown of the suitability of each of Office 365’s tools for a variety of common business scenarios such as finding an expert or brainstorming with a team.

How is the model holding up over time? Very well. For example, we can look at where Teams would fit in today, two years after the paper was published. It’s not surprising that rumors have started about Skype for Business being essentially replaced by Teams. Given Richard’s rendering of this model, and his guidance around the use of Skype for Business, Teams would fit exactly where Skype for Business sits. Teams (or Slack, or Stride) is ideal for small/medium-sized teams that are working in near-real-time, where a chat modality shines.

I highly recommend both the paper and Richard’s presentations of the content. An example of which is below.