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Starting Office 365? Stay Focused on the Users

Microsoft | Posted on May 29, 2015 by Mack Ratcliffe

All too often, major technology changes, like switching over to Office 365 Hub, are planned and implemented without first consulting the people it affects most: the users.

Just look at these numbers from Why UC Implementations Fail:

  • 77% of employees say they’re not consulted before a new tool is rolled out
  • 58% of employees say they’re not consulted on the tool’s usefulness post implementation

The impact of this short sightedness is more than a few ruffled feathers.

Not getting user buy-in from the start prevents adoption and in the long run, weakens any chance of achieving the promised return on investment and productivity gains.

In fact, according that same study, employees consulted upfront are 18% more likely to feel the tool makes them more productive and 26% more likely to feel they’re given the tools to do their best work.

Office 365 Success: It all comes down to being User-Centric

Keeping the user in mind is essential to a rapidly evolving IT department, especially one that wants to be seen as an “enabler” of transformational business practices.

Which is why when undertaking a move into Microsoft’s cloud productivity suite, Office 365, user-centricity is not just a nice to have. It should be priority Number 1.

After all, delivering your initiative on time and on budget will always remain important. But if no one uses it, where is the value?

How to get User-Centric with Office 365

If being user-centric is so important, how are busy IT leaders supposed to do it?

Thankfully there are a number of simple strategies to keep in mind when developing your Office 365 initiative. Follow these principles and you are sure to be including the user at the heart of your mission:

  1. Training is a Priority:Don’t skimp on proper training. Once you launch O365, educate your employees on how and why to use it. Make it clear to staff what problems and redundancies O365 will solve and what’s in it for them.One caveat: be careful who you put in charge of this critical task. In a recent round table discussion hosted by Softchoice, we gathered dozens of CIO’s and senior IT leaders to discuss this very topic. Many of the leaders at the table felt IT was the wrong department to helm training. Leveraging human resources, individuals from within the user’s own department or outside expertise was the preferred route.
  2. Stake Holder Engagement:A crucial step early in the project cycle. Survey, panel, and chat up employees and departments to get them contributing to the strategy and defining what is important to them. For example, if you find your organization is collaborative and team-based, this will likely help shape your adoption plans for some of the collaboration functions within O365.
  3. Measuring for Success:How will you know whether or not the solution is working? Management may want O365 to reduce overall costs. IT may focus on on-time, on-budget execution. Lines of business may define success as access to functionality to make their job easier, such as Lync collaboration.The goal is to create a short list of highly objective targets that all stakeholders understand. Measure your progress toward these goals, and report on how you’re performing today, and after the project goes live. This builds confidence and transparency about the impact O365 has on your organization.Ask yourself this question: “Imagine we’re sitting here one year from now, and you’ve deployed your Office 365 solution. How would you measure the success?”
  4. Adoption Measurement: Don’t forget to have a plan to measure adoption. You’ve done all the hard work, now is not the time to forget about proving it was effective. For example, if social collaboration is a pillar in your O365, a key measure will be Yammer or OneDrive usage.You might find adoption is slower than anticipated, and it’s better to catch that sooner than later to figure out why. Again, listen to your users for the solution and let them help drive the changes you implement to stimulate adoption.

Getting started

Achieving your vision for Office 365 is a significant undertaking. If done right, it will be an extremely rewarding experience – one that brings IT closer to the business and your people.

To help you along, we’ve put together brand new guide for building a comprehensive, user-centric Office 365 strategy. In addition to checklists and downloadable templates, the guide is packed with expert advice from our Microsoft team.

Download your free copy of The Complete Guide to Building a User Centric Office 365.

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