Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Inside Microsoft Teams Season 4 Episode 4- “Polaris Inc. and Teams- Reinventing how we work and play

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In our most recent episode of Inside Microsoft Teams, I had the opportunity to sit down with a company known for reinventing how we spend our leisure time, Polaris Inc. Polaris is well known for their innovations in snow mobiles, off-road and on-road vehicles, and boats etc., but did you know that they have completely reinvented how they work and communicate with all their employees? From the factory floor to dealerships, we discussed how Polaris and Microsoft Teams dramatically changed how they share innovation with their employees and customers.

We focused in on three key areas during our discussion:

  1. How thinking through governance before deployment and making it part of the deployment process was key to their successful implantation of Teams.
  2. How Polaris approached their need for a champions program to help drive early adoption, in addition to their snack videos and training portal.
  3. Finally, how Polaris leveraged Microsoft SharePoint Spaces and virtual reality to create a more inclusive and interactive experience for their employees at their annual employee conference, which became a virtual event due to Covid.

Governance – Tim Fowler, VP & Division CIO, Polaris Inc.

Setting up a governance committee is crucial to gaining momentum early in the adoption journey. A cross-functional team along with key business stakeholders helps ensure a balance between technology controls, tech sprawl, security, features, and end-user communication approaches. I recommend Human Resources, Legal, Corporate Communications and a couple key Business Unit representatives along with Select IS Management, Cybersecurity, and Collaboration Leadership. Starting with retention and controls in mind makes fewer downstream changes for the user community to re-adopt after their initial adoption. The governance committee can also meet on an as-needed basis post implementation to discuss upcoming or recent enhancements that are continually being delivered by Microsoft. Here are some helpful links to governance approaches and high-level early considerations as you consider your Teams rollout approach:

Champions Program & Training – Sheila Miller, Modern Workplace Program Lead, Polaris, Inc.

Gathering technical influencers across the organization will accelerate user adoption. Early on the journey, I suggest creating an internal champions program, recruit participants across the organization, and start connecting. Having evangelists within business functions embracing Teams to work differently will make adoption easier and increase satisfaction. Below is an example of how to outline a champion program so everyone wins!

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Here are additional resources:

Learning is different for everyone so providing a variety of options gives people the flexibility they want:

SharePoint Spaces and Teams Integrations – Boris Rubanovich, Staff Design Technologist, Polaris, Inc.

SharePoint Spaces offers a 3D Virtual Reality (VR) environment that allows you to create a presentation for your projects. There are distinct options and tools to use that make your imagination the only limiting factor in what can be done for your presentation. A project presentation can be set up in an exciting, and therefore more engaging, way for viewers to learn about your project. Photographs, videos, 3D objects, documents, etc., can be inserted for viewers’ exploration. The seamless integration with Teams empowers the virtual meeting with chats for live communications / conversations / Q&A during an event.

“Switching to SharePoint Spaces (from what we used prior to that) was like switching from DOS to Windows in terms of user interface and excitement to work with. What is also great is building a space is a lot like building a modern site -- that is, you create the space and choose options such as structure, background, and theme. Add web parts for your 3D objects, 360° images and videos, 2D images and text, and more. “

To learn more about SharePoint spaces visit Explore SharePoint Spaces as well as our SharePoint spaces support site.

Finally, in addition to our show with Polaris Inc., there was also a great case study published last week that you can check out here:


Make sure to join myself, Paul Thurrott, and Mary Jo Foley for our Ignite Wrap-Up Show on November 8th where we will discuss all the big announcements for Teams, Microsoft 365, and more on Inside Microsoft Teams.


Until next time,
Stephen Rose
Host of Inside Microsoft Teams


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