According to the recent 2022 ILTA Tech Survey, more than 68% of law firms have deployed Microsoft Teams for online meetings, chat, and collaboration. To dig deeper into how top firms have successfully deployed Microsoft Teams in their firms, we hosted a master class in partnership with ILTA called “Roundtable: Learn How Top Firms are Deploying Microsoft Teams.” In this roundtable discussion, Holly Hanna from Perkins Coie, John Heim from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and Torie Carrillo from Nelson Mullins shared how they approached their Teams deployment process — and how Intapp Workspaces helped them maximize their Microsoft Teams investment.
Katrina Jasaitis, Senior Solutions Consultant at Intapp, spoke with these representatives about information governance and security requirements, channel provisioning processes, and application integrations. Here are some of the highlights from the conversation.
Creating and securely managing teams
When deploying Microsoft Teams, it’s important that your firm can properly manage all team channels. Simply allowing your staff to create and manage their own multiple teams creates numerous problems. Users may forget which channel they used to store the latest version of a document, or they may post confidential information in the wrong team. The more teams that users create, the more challenging it becomes to manage and update those teams, leading to even more confusion, data silos, and security risks.
“We didn’t want to … allow people to create teams ungoverned [because] then we’d have to clean it up every 6 months or 10 years later,” explained John Heim, Manager of Messaging and Directory Services at Manatt, Phelps & Philips.
To ensure that client matter–related teams are correctly set up and contain the right information, Manatt, Phelps & Philips has Microsoft Teams pull data directly from the firm’s billing, intake, and document management system (DMS). “You can see the entire [DMS] folder structure and all the documents that exist for that client matter right in Teams,” said Heim.
Firms like Manatt, Phelps & Philips, Perkins Coie, and Nelson Mullins have also implemented an archiving process to clean up any channels that are outdated and aren’t in use.
“There’s a limited number of teams that a person can belong to,” explained Holly Hanna Senior Knowledge Management Firm Solutions Manager at Perkins Coie. “If you don’t clean [Microsoft Teams] up, you’re going to get to the point … where people aren’t going to be able to create teams anymore.”
Perkins Coie conducts a yearly clean-up to reduce Teams sprawl, during which the firm will contact team owners and ask them whether their teams are still in use. If the answer is yes, the firm will leave those teams active and check back again the following year, while archiving any inactive teams.
Promoting security and governance
Having visibility into the data stored in Microsoft Teams is also crucial, as you need to ensure your team channels meet information governance requirements. Torie Carrillo, Applications Manager at Nelson Mullins, explained: “[The IT team] needs to have our governance tied around that [data]. We need to be able to make sure we can backtrack it. We need to know where we can find it. We need to have the proper ownership [and] proper documentation. Our goal was to allow staff to self-service [and create their own teams], but in somewhat of a controlled manner.”
Intapp Workspaces helped Nelson Mullins ensure that their staff could easily and properly create channels within Microsoft Teams while complying with security and governance requirements. The software lets you auto-provision workspaces within Microsoft Teams by offering preconfigured, engagement-centric templates and allowing you to set up permissions around creating and joining teams. It also automatically preserves your firm’s security and compliance standards to protect your clients’ sensitive data.
Improving collaboration with integration
Microsoft Teams offers real-time co-authoring, a valuable benefit that promotes faster and better collaboration among colleagues. However, users often worry about managing the many and sometimes conflicting revisions that documents go through. Microsoft Teams helps ease this worry by providing choices around document versions.
“When [staff] are checking documents back [into Microsoft Teams, they can] either create a new version or override the version that they currently have,” said Hanna. Users can also revert to an older version of a document if necessary.
To further improve collaboration, your firm can leverage Intapp Workspaces to integrate with Microsoft Teams as well as your DMS. The software gathers data across your systems into a single pane of glass, allowing you to find and work on the latest version of a document easier and quicker, rather than having to search across disparate solutions.
“For documents that are loaded natively in Microsoft Teams, we’re able to pull those documents back into the DMS,” said Carrillo. “We’re able to check a document out, and then affirmatively declare a version and check it back into the DMS.”
Firms can also integrate Microsoft Teams and Intapp Workspaces with other Microsoft 365 applications, such as Microsoft OneNote and Microsoft Planner, and leverage Intapp Walls to promote security across these applications.
“The Intapp Walls integration is a key point because that’s how you know whether or not somebody is allowed to have access to this space,” said Hanna. Both she and Carrillo explained how they use Intapp Walls to determine which firm members can have access to which channels, and that the data within those channels is secure.
“[We need to] make sure we consistently manage that client matter data, whether it be in Microsoft Teams or [another system], and base it against our information governance rules,” said Carrillo.
Watch the full roundtable discussion to learn more about the benefits of Intapp Workspaces and Microsoft Teams.