You’re excited for your upcoming deployment of Office 365. Or maybe “nervous” is a better word for your edgy feeling. Take a deep breath, the good news is you’re not the first IT manager or stakeholder who has felt those butterflies before your deployment. As of October 2018 there are an estimated 150 million people who connect to Office 365. Understanding the pain points other businesses have experienced, along with your well thought-out adoption plan should ease those butterflies.
Start with an Office 365 migration plan
What are the top 4 things you should do right after you deploy Office 365? I’m hoping you found this post because you’re still in your planning phase of deploying Office 365 and working to create your organization's tipping point for user adoption. If you are, that’s great! Make sure to download my Office 365 Adoption Planning White Paper and congratulations on thinking to the future. Most recently, I created a Office 365 Checklist for User Adoption that many organization are leveraging.
If you’re reading because you’re about to flip the switch without a thought to adoption, that is a good reason for the butterflies. Regardless, here are my tips in either situation to calm those jitters.
Be lean and focused, but agile and open to change
Solicit feedback from your users. Sure, that’s a scary thought. The most successful Office 365 deployments identify a specific scenario in which they believe their company will leverage the collaborative advantages of Office 365. If this lean approach was taken, it’s not so scary and you can target your users’ feedback with quick adjustments. If you deployed Office 365 with several scenarios, identify users most impacted with each scenario and survey them. Don’t be afraid to ask users what you can do to improve their experience.
Practice what you preach and leverage Office 365 features in your own workflow
If you want your users to use the collaboration options available in Office 365 make sure you are using those features too, and lead by example. I’ve worked with clients who deploy Office 365 and SharePoint, yet they haven’t thought about creating a Project Site, or something as simple as leveraging the new Groups in Outlook for the Web. Some of our clients’ test groups were even using WebEx or other meeting software instead of Skype for Business. It’s understandable that there is confusion and other product loyalty pre-deployment, old habits are tough to break for all of us. However, post deployment, using collaboration options that are available as part of Office 365 will help you continue towards creating your tipping point for user adoption. A huge tip here, make sure you're sharing links to documents, and when possible encourage collaboration via comments. Sending attachments is what you did BEFORE Office 365.
Share success stories with your users
Since you didn’t use the "deploy it and they will use it" strategy, there is a great chance you took user workflows and processes into account during your planning phase. Considering you put a lot of thought about your users and how they would and wouldn’t use Office 365, don’t cut them out from hearing about the positive results. During our adoption planning we highlight the importance of communication before, during and after deployment. Let users know about the wins; how the Director of Marketing, Samantha is now saving an hour a week using Groups in Outlook for the Web, or how a newly automated process is showing an immediate ROI.
Provide continued guidance, training reminders and talk about the future
Do yourself and your helpdesk a favor, remind users through your regular communications about training resources that are available to them. Whether it's short recorded “how-to” videos or live interactive webinar sessions, let them know they have some self-serve training options and remind them often. If you planned well, users have already had exposure to what things will look like and how they will be working more efficiently, collaboratively and together.
Training options post-deployment provide users a go-to resource before they weigh down a helpdesk ticket system. An awareness overview prior to deployment, training during deployment and post- training resources provide a blended method to establish and cover bases for current and future staff. It also helps to set a methodology for how you’ll bring your users skills up to date on future updates and new processes within Office 365.
Interested in learning more about creating your tipping point for user adoption in Office 365?