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A 12-week plan for launching Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft | Posted on October 2, 2014 by Veronica Skender

Picture this: your company has dozens of locations, spread across thousands of miles. You’ve just acquired a few new organizations, each having its own unique communications solutions. You’ve grown, you’ve gotten bigger — but you’re officially a business with no communications or collaboration standards.

As you can imagine, this poses a problem.

At Softchoice, we didn’t have to imagine this scenario. This was our reality just a few months ago. We needed a way to connect the entire organization, closer together. After weeks of collaboration vision sessions and research, identifying what was most important for us as a whole, we finally had a roadmap of the technology solution we needed. Part of the collaboration roadmap included a more prevasive use of Lync and complementary Office 365 capabilities.

Once you’ve done your own due diligence, you need a plan to get there. And Softchoice is ready to provide it.

The Softchoice 12-Week countdown to Office 365

We want to share our process for arriving at a successful Lync implementation because, as many organizations look to Office 365 and the benefits it offers, there is plenty of confusion prone to show up. Giving you insight into what we call our “12 Week Countdown” will be useful for anyone considering or planning a move to Office 365.

Before you begin planning a Office 365 launch – the pre-work

Before we get into the 12 Week Countdown, there are two earlier steps. These are: mapping out the core phases of the project, from a bird’s eye view, and then understanding what needs to be attended to during each phase.

We first break down the project into 5 core phases: Project Scope; Proof of Concept; Pilot Phase; Enterprise Rollout and Run State, and the end game.

5 Core phases of migrating to Office 365

Next, within the 5 Phases, we decided what the focus of each will be.

Defining the 5 core focus areas

Planning contained discussion around our goals, the timeline, and the success metrics. With Help Desk we defined whether any support processes are going to change. For Awareness we had to make sure that our communication channels were ready and identified target groups that required specific information. Training was to make sure Lync resources were ready. And finally, we prepared our Operations team for the ongoing management and maintenance of Lync.

12 Weeks to Day 1 Success

We were now ready to begin the countdown and work toward the launch, and hopefully wide scale adoption of Lync.

 Planning Phase: 8-to-12 weeks out

8-12 Weeks Out

Here we met several times to assemble the rollout and adoption team members. We began to consider training and adoption goals, core scenarios and our overall plan. We began fine tuning our plan while considering the technology, user profiles, people, time and money investments, the rollout schedule and goals. These reviews were done with the project manager, IT, trainers and stakeholders.

Pilot Phase: 6-to-8 weeks out

6-8 Weeks Out

During this phase, your Pilot Users will help you perfect your training materials and also begin to build advocates among the extended stakeholders. Any new or revised material needs to be updated on the intranet, and reviewed and tested before go-live. Remember, pilot users are key in getting the training content right. Just because you’ve already created the material doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep reviewing it, testing it, soliciting feedback and revising it.

Awareness Phase: 2-to-3 weeks out

2-3 Weeks Out

Now it’s time to ensure your support team and early adopters understand the new products. Take note of any issues users experienced and their resolutions. Begin your training and assemble FAQs. Finally, you want to inform users of upcoming changes and  the benefits of the changes. You can use posters, table tents, awareness videos – whatever works.

Day of Launch

Day of Launch

OK, here it is. Launch Day. Make sure your entire support team is trained and ready to take calls, and the end user training content is live on your intranet site. You can now you can begin training end users.

… And Beyond

That’s not all. As we saw in previous articles in this Office 365 series  the success of a campaign is all about adoption and behavior [link to Articles 1, and 2]. These goals only happen after the launch.

1-to-3 months after launch

1-3 Months After Launch

One to three months after launch you collect usage and adoption statistics. Collect net user satisfaction (NSAT) data through end user surveys. Note any end user problem areas or resistance. Continue to adjust your adoption plan.

Getting expert help with Office 365

If you’ve found these Office 365 articles interesting, now might be the time to engage Softchoice for our non-biased assessment team to help you chart your own path to Mircosoft’s cloud. With a unique “Business Technology Review,” as well as a central hub containing videos, resources and the ability to book a call with our pros, we’re sure to offer you the support you need to choose your next steps.

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