Product Roadmap Workshop: Talking Teams with our clients

At a workshop with our clients, we discussed integrating Microsoft Teams with our Mind Tools toolkit. Here are the highlights from the session.

Written by Carlyn Angus
Published 26 January 2021
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Product Roadmap Workshop: Talking Teams with our clients

Mind Tools and Microsoft

As reported by Josh Bersin, Microsoft continues to be a big player in the L&D market, and had a goal of upskilling 25 million people by the end of 2020.

More than 75 million people use Teams every day and more employees are working from home because of COVID-19. So, it's no surprise that many of our clients see a move to Office 365 as a priority.

As a business, we know that we must act to stay ahead of the curve by developing our solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of the market.

Building on your feedback

To do this, we’re working with our clients and listening to their challenges and pain points. That way, we can better understand what they want – and use their feedback to inform our product development roadmap.

Because meeting face-to-face is difficult right now, we held our first virtual session with nine Mind Tools toolkit clients. We wanted to understand what they’d like to see from a Microsoft Teams integration with Mind Tools.

This open forum let us gather information on how people use Teams – and how our toolkit could best support their learners within the new platform.

Current challenges

At the start of the session, we asked our clients – from a diverse range of industries – whether they use Teams, what challenges they face with the tool, and what problems they’d like to solve.

The responses were mixed. Some clients use old hardware and are in the process of moving to Office 365, while others have access but aren’t using Team to its full potential.

With its functionality, however, most clients agreed that Teams is the way forward to allow ‘in the flow’ learning at work. That’s why many are interested to see Teams integrate with the Mind Tools toolkit. It would let their people access on-demand and in-the-moment learning resources.

So, what would a Teams integration look like?

Next, we asked for our clients for their ‘dream scenario’ for integrating Teams with Mind Tools – if there were no rules or barriers. The following popular themes emerged:

  • Accessibility – our clients want a seamless sign-on experience so that users can easily access and engage with content.
  • Learning in the flow of work – people want to browse and find the content they want quickly and simply. And in an easy-to-digest format.
  • Automation – artificial intelligence could provide learners with recommended content based on their search history and preferences. All linked to personal development plans.
  • Targeted learning – learners should be able to see content targeted to their roles and personal development plans, upload their own content, create playlists, and link resources to their competencies and frameworks.
  • Reports – clients want to prove the value of integration and report on learning habits to keep improving content.
  • Social learning – people want to learn as consumers and share content with their peers on social channels such as Slack and Yammer.

What’s the reality?

Next, we explored the reality of a Teams and Mind Tools integration – and what factors would burst their ‘dream bubbles.’ Three key areas emerged:

  1. Organizational barriers – there’s an appetite for integration, but buy-in could still be a challenge. With budget cuts and a lack of readiness to integrate, leaders may not see it as a priority.
  2. Technology – Teams hasn’t been rolled out in all organizations. Our clients flagged hardware, system upgrades and data security as potential issues. And some worried IT would be too costly and take too long to set up. 
  3. Implementation – concerns were raised over IT integration and the training required to implement and roll the software out internally.

Next steps

Our product development team will now take the ideas and discussion topics from the session and work through them as part of their research and scoping exercise.

We hope that the session helped develop a sense of ownership among our clients. Their input is helping to build a solution that works for them and their learners.

Thanks again to all our clients who took part, and we look forward to running similar sessions in the future.

What you said

“It was really interesting to hear about the challenges that other organizations are facing. That sometimes helps put a little perspective on challenges that we are all facing. Gaining customer input into any product development is vital. This helps widen the view of any development and supports the success of a product. I think sessions like this also show how valued customers’ views are.”
- Letitia Matthews, Learning Solutions and Systems Manager, LQ Group

“This session demonstrated how committed Emerald Works are to listening to their customers. Being given direct opportunity to feed into potential product development at an early stage is incredible!”
- Stuart Hastings, Workforce Development Officer, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

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About the author

Carlyn Angus

Carlyn Angus

Marketing Manager - US
Carlyn is a creative and passionate marketeer with over ten years of experience. She leads the US marketing strategy with a focus on delivering strategic demand generation through creating engaging content through a variety of channels for the purposes of lead generation, lead nurture and pipeline acceleration.

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