Note: Microsoft has announced that most of the Office 365 products will be using the Microsoft 365 branding from April 21, 2020 onward.
A while back, I had a meeting with a project team that was planning the rollout of Office 365 in their organization. They asked me what the key was to a successful Office 365 rollout.
Even though I would love to say that “Storyals” is the key to a successful Office 365 rollout, that it’s the “silver bullet” that will guarantee overnight adoption of Office 365 and a tri-fold return on investment – that would be a lie. There is no single product or solution that can miraculously deliver on that promise. Getting an organization up and running using new, modern tools such as those of Office 365 takes time, it takes persistence, and above all it takes a lot of hard work.
With that said, I don’t want you to feel discouraged – there is a way! With the right “ingredients” you can definitely succeed and have a lot of fun along the way. Here is my recipe:
- Make sure it’s seen as a company-wide initiative – Driving adoption of something as “transformational” as Office 365 can’t be seen as a standalone IT initiative. It has to be seen as a company-wide initiative with stakeholders from all departments involved. It needs to be linked to the company strategy and corporate values. Office 365 enables a more flexible work style, make sure your company culture supports it and that there are guidelines in place. Get HR and Communications involved at an early stage and create a communication plan. Leverage all the great resources Microsoft provide through their FastTrack program.
- Lead by example – it’s imperative to get the leadership team and managers to start using the new technology. Usually, these people are too busy to attend standard classroom training or do online courses. Here I would recommend targeted group sessions or even 1-1 sessions. Once the manager in a group starts using the tools and communicates to his/her group that this is what’s expected, subordinates are inclined to follow. Having the CEO endorse the new tools (via video or live in person) is always impactful and sends a strong message across the organization.
- Inspire, Motivate and Educate – Most people don’t want to change the way they are used to getting things done. To get them positive about the change you need to create awareness about the benefits. This is where Storyals with our engaging Office 365 videos fit perfectly. Through our videos, you can create that “WOW!” and “AHA!” effect that will help create excitement around the project. The key is to communicate, communicate, communicate. You can use Storyals in all types of creative ways – in newsletters, in launch portals, in Yammer groups, in Teams, played on a large screen at launch events, in team meetings, the list goes on and on.
- Champions – You will always have people within your organization that love change and new technology that can act as role models. Identify these people and give them more advanced training and an extra incentive to actively share their knowledge. Create a way for these champions to connect – like a Yammer group or a Microsoft Teams “team” and make sure to recognize and reward them for their contributions.
- New joiners – Make sure all new joiners get mandatory training on how to use Office 365 effectively as part of their on-boarding – usually coordinated with HR. If they have no previous experience using a computer, standard training like Microsoft Learn is probably a good way to go, but if they are proficient already, just having them watch the Storyals Microsoft 365 videos would be enough. If you want to have better follow up and control of the learning, you can include Storyals in your learning management system. If you don’t have a learning management system, you can check out LMS365, where Storyals is already part of the course catalog. Or Udemy, where you can find courses with our story-based tutorials.
- Carrot and stick – It’s great to dangle the carrot in front of users by showing them through (for example) our story-based tutorials how productive one can be by using these new tools effectively. At the same time, people are often too busy to change their working habits unless they are forced to. Some more drastic measures are sometimes required – for instance, give users a time frame to move to OneDrive for Business (as an example) and then shut down all file shares. I have experience of companies removing all desk phones and tell their employees to use Skype for Business instead. I’m not saying you should do this – it all depends on your situation, but a “carrot and stick” mindset is recommended.
- A journey – not a destination – Most important I would say that driving effective use of Office 365 is a journey – not a destination. Having a big Office 365 launch with marketing collateral, big auditorium gatherings and workshops is great, but if you don’t follow up afterward, you will lose momentum. We recommend our customers to use Storyals as a continuous source of inspiration and motivation. Instead of overwhelming users with everything at once, spread it out. Storyals is divided into logical “topics” that can be introduced to users weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to gradually grow users’ proficiency levels using Office 365.
If you are about to launch Office 365, or if you have already done your Office 365 rollout, but you never really got the momentum, please get in touch or book a demo to watch Storyals live in action. I’m sure we can find a way to help you get more out of this amazing solution which holds the promise of transforming your organization into a modern digital workplace.
– Ulrika Hedlund
Productivity Advisor and Founder, Storyals