Connecting the Last Frontier: Teams Phone Success in Alaska

State of Alaska logo

Juneau

ALASKA

1959

 ESTABLISHED IN

0 +
EMPLOYEES

Overview

The state of Alaska is a vast and diverse region, with more than 700,000 residents spread across 586,000 square miles. Providing effective and efficient IT services to the state government and its constituents is a formidable challenge, especially with limited resources and revenue. That’s why the state’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Bill Smith, and his Deputy CIO, Niel Smith, had a vision to modernize the state’s IT infrastructure and leverage cloud-based solutions to enhance productivity, security, and innovation. 

Envisioning the Future

One of the key components of this vision was to migrate the state’s legacy phone systems to Microsoft Teams, a cloud-based platform that integrates voice, video, chat, and collaboration tools. Teams would enable the state’s employees to communicate and collaborate more easily and effectively, regardless of their location or device. Teams would also provide more flexibility and continuity for remote and hybrid work environments, which has become essential since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, migrating to Teams was not a simple task. The state had to overcome technical, logistical, and cultural challenges, such as designing and implementing a new phone system, training and supporting thousands of users, and managing the change process. To achieve this, the state partnered with eGroup Enabling Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Partner and a leading provider of cloud and IT services. eGroup Enabling helped the state plan, design, deploy, and adopt Teams, as well as provide ongoing support and guidance. 

This case study outlines how the state of Alaska and eGroup Enabling Technologies worked together to successfully migrate to Teams, and how Teams has enabled the state to meet its vision for IT services.  

Realizing the Vision

The first step in the migration process was to plan and design the new phone system, which involved understanding the state’s current and future needs, as well as the technical and operational requirements. The state had about 15,000 users on Teams, and about 4,000 users who needed to migrate from their legacy phone systems to Teams Phone, a feature that allows users to make and receive calls from Teams using their existing phone numbers. 

The state’s IT team had some familiarity with Teams, but they needed a partner who had more expertise and experience with the platform and could help them navigate the complexities and nuances of the phone migration. That’s why they chose eGroup Enabling Technologies, who hold a proven track record of delivering successful Teams projects for other customers. 

Niel explained how eGroup Enabling Technologies integrated with the state’s IT team and helped them with the technical aspects of the migration: “One of the things that eGroup Enabling Technologies was really able to help us with was that Teams technology was new for the state, so bringing in a partner who was familiar with the platform that could help answer our technical questions about how to implement and understand the design and watch out for some of the pitfalls was super important for the success of the project.” 

eGroup Enabling Technologies also helped the state with the phone carriers, who had to switch the state’s phone lines from the legacy systems to Teams. This was a critical and delicate process, as any disruption or delay could affect the state’s ability to provide essential services to its citizens. eGroup Enabling Technologies ensured that the transition was smooth and seamless, and that the state’s phone numbers were ported correctly and efficiently. 

Deploying and Adopting Teams

The next step in the migration process was to deploy and adopt Teams phone capabilities, which involved communicating and training the users, and providing them with the support and resources they needed to use the new phone system. This was a crucial and challenging step, as any change can be difficult and stressful for users, especially when it involves something as vital and habitual as their phone. 

To ensure that the users were happy and comfortable with the change, the state and eGroup Enabling Technologies focused on two key factors: setting realistic expectations and providing effective training. They communicated with the users about what to expect from the migration, what the benefits and features of Teams were, and how the migration would affect their work. They also provided the users with various training options, such as online courses, videos, guides, and webinars, to help them learn how to use Teams and Teams Phone. 

"Our users responded really well to some of the communications and change planning that eGroup Enabling Technologies did for us during our move to Teams Phone. Any change is different for people, so giving them that understanding of what's coming, what to expect, helping them through it, giving them someone to call and to be able to walk them through when there are changes was a super important transition—and I think it was very important to the adoption that we saw within our users who took on the new platform.” 

The Importance of Partnership

Niel described how eGroup Enabling Technologies helped the state with communication and change planning for the migration: “Our users responded really well to some of the communications and change planning that eGroup Enabling Technologies did for us during our move to Teams Phone. Any change is different for people, so giving them that understanding of what’s coming, what to expect, helping them through it, giving them someone to call and to be able to walk them through when there are changes was a super important transition—and I think it was very important to the adoption that we saw within our users who took on the new platform.” 

eGroup Enabling Technologies also provided ongoing support and assistance to the users, as well as the state’s IT team, to ensure that any issues or questions were resolved quickly and effectively. They also monitored and optimized the performance and quality of the phone system, and kept the state updated on the latest features and enhancements of Teams. 

Experiencing the Benefits of Teams

The easiest step in the migration process was experiencing the benefits of Teams, which involved using and enjoying the new phone system, and exploring and discovering the other capabilities and opportunities that Teams offered. This was the most rewarding and exciting step, as the users could see and feel the difference that Teams made to their work and communication. 

Bill explained how Teams enabled the state to meet its vision for IT services: “The vision that we have for the state of Alaska is to be innovative in the way that we address the needs of our citizens and provide constituent services. And we’ve been able to lean forward significantly on things like cloud migrations, taking advantage of modern infrastructure, and increasing our cybersecurity as well as our productivity. Within our productivity efforts, Teams has been critical in allowing our employees to provide more services readily to constituents across the state.” 

Niel shared some of the creative ways that he and his colleagues used Teams and Teams Phone: “One of the creative things I’ve done multiple times myself, is that whenever my laptop is not available or a patch happens, and it’s applying to my computer right in the middle of my meeting and my computer goes down, I’m able to just jump over onto my cell phone because Teams is on there too, and I’m able to use it and continue my meeting from there.” 

The response from users has been coming in, as they appreciate the benefits and features of the new system, and how it made their work easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. Bill summarized the feedback that he has received from users: 

"The response from our users with the migration to the Teams Phone environment has been overwhelmingly positive. Our users grew very comfortable with the Teams environment and integrating phone services into that environment was a natural evolution. So, they've found that it actually makes their work easier, it makes them more efficient, and gives them more capability for remote operations by having one system that is fully integrated." 

Conclusion

The State of Alaska and eGroup Enabling Technologies successfully migrated to Teams and Teams Phone, experiencing the benefits and opportunities that the platform provided. The migration was a result of a clear vision, a strong partnership, and a comprehensive process that involved planning, designing, deploying, and adopting the new system. Bill concluded with a statement that reflected the state’s attitude and approach to the migration: “In Alaska, we have the opportunity to be fast and agile and really move forward in the way that we provide services to our constituents– and we’re taking full advantage of that with products like Teams.”

Click Below To Watch The Full Story

Proud Partner Of

Contact Our Team of Experts Today!

Interested in learning how our team can provide you with IT services and support? Our team of experts can help you with vetting products and solutions you’re looking to acquire, as well as managing those that already exist in your current tech portfolio.

Contact our team to learn more.