my world of work and user experiences

November 30, 2019

The importance of support for Office 365 adoption

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 22:04

Ok, this is valid for all new tools. But my nose is currently getting rubbed in it for Office 365. If we want end users to adopt Office 365, we need to make sure that they can get answers to their questions, get the tools they request and generally get the help they need. Quickly, easily and smoothly.

Too often I have seen initiatives supposed to promote Office 365 adoption only focus on training. They organized great sessions, trained a lot of people. And then they stopped. After these training sessions, the users wanted to get started and use the tools to make their lives easier. But then it turned out that no real support was available to help them, when they – inevitably – had follow-up questions.

In these cases, the training sessions were mostly a waste of everyone’s time, because the users got stuck and could not use the tools properly. And then they forgot what they learned in those training sessions, because they were not applying that knowledge. So we need to arrange for proper support.

Make sure the helpdesk knows how to deal with Office 365 questions

Preferably, the first line helpdesk people can already answer the easy questions. The more complex questions, they should forward to the correct team of second and then third line support.

So we need to – or somebody needs to – provide them with reference materials and training, so that the helpdesk can deal with all reasonable Office 365 questions. Not just once, but continuously: Office 365 changes, the configuration in the tenant changes, and new helpdesk employees come on board.

In theory, this is obvious. In practice, this is problematic… I have spoken to users who were desperate or furious or both, because they simply did not get the help they needed: For example:

  • Their question or request got lost somewhere in second or third line support and they simply did not hear anything from IT in ages.
  • The helpdesk told them that the tool was not supported. And that was for OneNote, a completely standard part of Office 365, which has been rolled out and officially included in our support years ago.
  • First line support looked into a synchronisation app issue with the user and concluded that they did not dare try to do anything. Instead of contacting a specialist, they just closed the ticket.

So we have to spend the time, energy, money or whatever is needed to get  and keep the helpdesk up-to-speed.

Recruit local Office 365 champions

Even if we have a fully functional helpdesk, it is advisable to have local Office 365 champions: colleagues who know the end users, who understand the end users’ situation and who can guide the end users to take advantage of the Office 365 tools to improve their particular processes. Of course these local champions become even more important, if the central helpdesk is not up to the task of helping the end users quickly and adequately.

Make sure the local champions have the support they need to help others

If we have a network of Office 365 champions, it is crucial that we help these people to help their colleagues. In our case, we allow these champions to bypass the ineffective helpdesk:

  • For general questions, they post them in a Yammer group where other champions can reply as well as the official Office 365 team.
  • For specific questions about, for example, individual SharePoint sites, they can contact the Office 365 team directly via a shared mailbox.

We try to limit this direct contact and promote the official support process. But we know that it is worth our while to help the champions: helping one champion means helping a whole group of end users who are supported by that champion.

Offer help materials with information applicable to our situation

Microsoft has many user manuals, quick reference guides and such. And some users just search the internet for answers. But those are not tailored to the situation in our organization. For example, these generic materials led users to believe that they could create their own SharePoint sites. But self-service site creation is switched off in our tenant. They need to create their sites from CRM/Dynamics 365 or request them from the helpdesk. We need to explain that to our users.

So we need make sure our users can the support they need. For without proper support, any Office 365 adoption programme is bound to fail

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