It’s not uncommon for organizations to use Microsoft’s Office 365 for just email and SharePoint for document storage and/or their intranet. Yet, Office 365 has a whole suite of powerful collaboration and teamwork solutions and tools too – including SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer. But rolling out the tools without a strategic plan can often result in low adoption rates – and lead to frustration for both IT departments and end-users.
Sound familiar? Let’s look at how we got here and how strategic planning can reduce Office 365 confusion and transform it into a powerful platform with widespread end-user adoption.
Why the Chaos? We’ve Opened a Firehose
The great news is that the tools in Office 365 are user-friendly and respond to end-user needs and wants. BUT the sheer volume of new apps and the updates can be overwhelming for both IT and end-users.
It’s Not Because We Aren’t Trying
Most user adoption issues are not for the absence of traditional implementation practices or methods. The tools are powerful, but users don’t know what to use and when. Without a strategy and plan for rollout and adoption, even IT has a hard time supporting end-user questions.
Tame the Office 365 Chaos with Strategic Planning
Experience has taught our team that strategic planning and execution are key for any Office 365 successful implementation, rollout, and higher end-user adoption.
Our Director of Strategy & Advisory Services, JoAnna Battin, recommends the following steps as part of an Office 365 strategy to help drive wide-spread adoption:
- Start by Understanding the “Why”
Determine what you want to achieve when rolling out new Office 365 applications, tools, and solutions. Do you need to increase collaboration between workers in multiple locations? Do you need a centralized document management system? Do you need to improve a business process? Once you have determined specific goals then you can move onto the toolset selection.
- Define How Each Application Will Be Used in the Organization
Most issues users face can be resolved by using their right tool for the right purpose at the right time. When you define the purpose of each tool and expectations for their use, the users don’t have to guess.
- Define Governance for Each Tool & for the Tenant
Put guardrails around the applications and use the tenant admin tools to govern their use.
- Prepare Messaging & Story Planning – Then Communicate to Users
Setting expectations for each application and communicating that message give users the information they need to know what tool to know when.
- Demonstrate & Encourage Using the Tools Together to Improve Business Processes
Each tool is powerful by itself. Using several tools together to build a business process is where the transformation takes place.
- Build Excitement
Engage your key stakeholders and end-users while building excitement around new changes.
JoAnna also advises organizations to start small – don’t try to roll out all the applications at once. Create a strategic roadmap for all Office 365 solutions you plan to implement but stagger the roll out in stages so both the IT departments and end-users won’t be overwhelmed with changes.
Do you need help unraveling the complexities and capabilities of the tools and applications within the Office 365 ecosystem including SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer? With vast experience under our belt and a passion for transformation, we are ready to help.
We take a strategic approach to Office 365 to connect your people and applications in a way that drives higher employee engagement, productivity, and innovation.
Ready to get started? Contact our team today »