More Reasons Why Your Office 365 Rollout Could be Seen as a Failure
We are always interested in seeing what other Solution Providers in the Microsoft Cloud space are thinking. One that I keenly follow is Brighter Days, a small boutique consultancy over in beautiful New Zealand. Founded a couple of years ago by Lee Stevens, a relocated Brit who I am honoured to call a friend, Brighter Days is breaking ground by playing with the big boys despite being a small concern.
Lee and the team are very focused on the Microsoft ‘Digital Workplace’ and the journey that customers need to make to leverage the best from the Microsoft Cloud.
This week Lee has published a blog post that is very close to my heart – ‘4 Reasons why your Office 365 roll out will be seen as a failure.‘
At ProvisionPoint, our reason for existence is enablement. We help organisations get more from Office 365 by making complex or privileged administration tasks assignable to users in simple ways, enabling them to get what they need from Office 365 without relying on support or administration resources.
Why is enablement so important? A key factor is the avoidance of doubt as to the value of Office 365. In other words; helping to ensure that moving to Office 365 is not seen as a waste of time, money, or energy.
Lee’s 4 points are very valid and we certainly agree with them, but I wanted to add a couple more which are close to our hearts as they help to drive our vision for ProvisionPoint.
#5. Not Enough Stakeholder Management
Business leaders need to know that their investments are driving value. Although an often hoped for outcome of moving to Office 365 is lowered cost of ownership, the transition is always going to be expensive. The old adage ‘There is no such thing as an IT project. All IT projects are business change projects with a technical bent’ rings very true when moving to the cloud. This investment needs to be carefully managed with the people writing the cheques.
When the business leaders are not being fed good news, benefit statements, and general user happiness doubt will inevitably begin to form as to whether the move is a success.
Business leaders are egotistical and whimsical creatures, they need to know that their decisions (or approvals) are paying dividends. Make sure they know.
#6. Not Enough User Management
The weakest link in your IT delivery is the user. Fact. Users are our customer but they are also our most staunch antagonist. Users are our reason for existence but they are also the single largest cause of pain.
What is the ‘secret sauce’ for happy users? Engagement. They need to feel that the tools they have meet their needs. They need to feel that they are consulted on change. They need to understand why something new is better.
If you engage with your users early, in their language, and in a maintained way you will greatly increase your chances of Office 365 success.
I am no user adoption expert, but what I do know is that if somebody is telling me and showing me why something different is better, I am happier. Simple really.
#7. Losing Sight of the Fundamentals
It is often said that the most successful stock brokers are those that ‘focus on the fundamentals’. Like the stock market, with Office 365 focusing on the fundamentals is all about getting the basic things understood by all concerned.
Most users focus on a basic set of tools. Get email, word processing, spreadsheets, and audio/video calling right and everything else will follow. Spend too much time on selling users (or management) on the shiny stuff in Office 365 at the cost of the fundamentals and you will increase your chances of perceived failure.
Why? The shiny stuff is often immature or in ‘beta’ (early release) so likely to be feature incomplete or flaky to use. No matter how good email is (and let us face it, Exchange Online is epic) give users a shoddy experience with Teams (for instance) and that is all they will remember. Focus on the fundamentals and add the shiny stuff later.
#8. Selling the Future
I am dropping this one in as almost an afterthought. Why? I have seen it twice in recent times. Technical stakeholders selling the business on something that Office 365 will (or in some cases, might) do at some point in the future. ‘We should adopt now so we can use ‘Freedom’ (for clarity an entirely made up Office 365 feature name) when it comes out in Q4!’
Selling dreams (‘vapourware’ or ‘projectorware’ in old money) is dangerous – do not do it!