In the middle of March this year, Microsoft reported that the number of daily Teams users jumped by about 37% in just one week in response to many organizations shifting their workforce to work from home. Your organization may have been part of that jump. The initial desire was to facilitate an ability for employees that normally working in the same office to continue to collaborate and meet remotely. Teams helped you accomplish that. Microsoft Teams in the remote workforce was achieved successfully.
Now that things have settled a bit, you’re likely hearing about performance issues; slowed response times, voice calls missing words, choppy video, and some overall dissatisfaction to the user experience in Teams.
What’s wrong with Teams and what can you do about it?
First off, let me say there’s probably nothing wrong with Teams. Sure, even Microsoft can have a bad couple of hours now and then, but if you’re hearing about user experience and/or performance issues, it’s likely not Teams. It’s probably more the overly complex path your remote users now take to get from their laptop at home all the way to the servers servicing Teams. I’m talking about the path that may look something like this:
Personal Laptop -> Home WiFi -> VPN -> Corporate Network -> SSL Decryption Zone -> Security Solutions -> CASB -> SSL Proxy -> Microsoft network -> Teams.
This isn’t even an exhaustive list of the possibilities either! There’s a lot that can go wrong in this path, so it needs to be optimized for three reasons.
1) You’re overcomplicating the traffic pattern – in general, Microsoft wants a given user of any Office 365 service to simply go directly from Internet access to Office 365. All that corporate network overhead you’ve got may be impeding Teams service quality. It’s obviously not as simple as just rip everything out, but it definitely is a reason why you need to optimize the traffic.
2) Teams traffic isn’t as important as Teams is – Teams may very well be the application that is keeping your organization running while everyone works remotely. If so, is the traffic Teams generates getting priority at home over little Timmy watching Netflix, or over the corporate network while a developer tries to upload new code they’ve written?
3) Your users don’t work in IT – When users work from home, their home network becomes a part of the corporate connectivity strategy. But they aren’t taking the same steps you are to ensure a great experience. No one is testing connectivity throughout the house to find the best spot for the WiFi router or attempting to figure out why the Internet connection is slow (hint: it might be Timmy watching Netflix in HD!). In other words, your users are just using their home network and aren’t putting in the same effort you would to ensure it’s running well.
Teams Needs Optimizing
Because of the important role Teams plays in the current success of your organization, it’s time to optimize its’ performance. The good news is there is a lot you can do to optimize Teams traffic – from endpoint to service and everything in between. To find out what steps you can take to optimize Teams performance and service quality for your users that are working from home, read the white paper 4 Ways to Optimize Microsoft Teams Performance for the Remote Workforce.