Webex Teams is the hub for collaboration at Cisco. For every project or program, we set up a Webex space where we can meet, chat, and share content—from any device. Keeping connected helps us be productive when email is just not enough.

On May 1, 2019, the user experience for collaborating on content at Cisco got an upgrade. That’s when we rolled out the integration between Webex Teams and OneDrive/SharePoint. Now we can share, co-author, and edit documents right from Webex Teams. No more downloading and then uploading, managing different versions to the Webex team space. And if we’re working on content Office 365, we can bring in people to collaborate without ever leaving Office 365. This blog explains how we did it. For more about the benefits, click here.


The players: a team of teams

We kicked off the integration in 2018 with a project call headed by our Office 365 team. Our first step was gathering requirements for content-based collaboration from users via individual interviews and focus groups. A top finding: users were frustrated with the effort it took to find content while collaborating with team members, stakeholders, and customers.

Content security, a key for Cisco IT, also ranked high on everyone’s list. Early on we decided that content permissions (who can view or edit a document) would be controlled by the Enterprise Content Management platform. When we share a document in Webex Teams, we’re prompted to give editing rights either to everyone who already had access to the document, or to everyone in the Webex Teams space. We can set new sharing permissions or keep the existing document permissions.


The power of platform, the magic of APIs

Using the APIs between Webex Teams and OneDrive/SharePoint, we’ve created a more connected experience between accessing, attaching, and previewing documents (in Webex Teams) and then with a single click editing the documents (in Office Online). The mobile apps make content collaboration “on the go” a seamless experience.

To move quickly with a large program team—around 50 people—we used the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), as described in this blog.


Roll out: a small trial followed by a big splash

We migrated employee mailboxes to Office 365 organization by organization, 5000 people each week. To roll out the integration between Webex Teams and OneDrive/SharePoint Document Libraries, we started with a 4000-user pilot (our collaboration sales teams and the Webex business unit) so they could give us feedback. As “customer zero” for the integration, we learned what works and what doesn’t so we could give our customers the benefit of our experiences. For example, our end users were confused about when to use OneDrive versus SharePoint Document Libraries, so we created several snackable videos and cheat sheets.

On May 1, 2019, we “flipped the switch” to turn on co-authoring and Webex Teams/OneDrive/SharePoint integration for everyone whose mailbox had been migrated—60,000 users globally. We executed a variety of training and promotional activities leading up to and following the launch, including:

  • An introductory video featuring our SVP of operations and CIO talking up Office 365 and how it plays in our grander vision of working digitally.
  • Short how-to videos, which proved to be the most popular content.
  • Digital signage and posters.
  • “Excite Days” in Raleigh, San Jose, Bangalore, Krakow, Tokyo, and Sydney. More than 2500 people attended the nine Excite Days that we hosted around the globe. We set up in the cafeteria, hosting scavenger hunts, breakout meetings with experts, tech support stations, giveaways, and demos.
  • Office hours—15-20 minute sessions with Webex Teams and Office 365 experts.
  • Opt-in webinar training (introductory and advanced) on OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Personalized immersion training (two hours) for executive administrators, including guidance on managing executive calendars, etc.
  • Intranet articles talking about the value of Webex Teams and Duo Security and integration with Office 365.


Swift uptake

In just the first three weeks, employees uploaded 1.5 million files and shared 4800 files. Each week adoption grows.

We credit the swift uptake to our multifaceted communications strategy and the various convenient training options listed above. Both of us have worked on projects where several communications teams each had their own strategy—and things got lost in translation. For this project the user experience communications team took the lead, providing content and a timeline for the other teams so that the message would be consistent. All communications emphasized how the two tools (Webex Teams and Office 365) work together to help us get our work done faster.


Lessons learned

The new connected experience is an important part of our overall digital transformation strategy because it simplifies work. We gave time back to our own employees and customers to do the things that matter to them.

Achieving our vision for content collaboration took a lockstep effort from our Webex Teams and Office 365 teams. Architects on both sides reached across the aisle, building bonds that will help us as we continually improve the integration.

Questions about implementation or change management? Please ask here.