my world of work and user experiences

February 28, 2022

Microsoft 365 adoption: It is not over when it is over

Filed under: Adoption,Microsoft 365 — Tags: — frederique @ 21:36

I have been involved in the implementation of Microsoft 365 a few times. It is a project in which we get everyone into the cloud, migrate all of the information into the cloud too and activate all kinds of spiffy applications. We organise some training and set up and information portal to help our users adopt Microsoft 365. And when we have finished that, we are done. Right? Wrong!

The journey to help our people adopt Microsoft 365 does not end when we have implemented the technology and migrated everyone & everything. It even does not end when we have finished a training programme. Instead, it requires an ongoing programme. There are several reasons why you need to keep paying attention to Microsoft 365 adoption.

All changes need reinforcement

For any change, you cannot stop once people have learned how to work in a new way. You need to reinforce the change, to make sure that the people do not revert back to their old way of working as soon as they get back from their training session to the hectic hustle and bustle of their daily job.

In the ADKAR model that we favour, this is the R. The last stage, but definitely not the least. See also ADKAR: are our users ready to adopt our solutions?

So in the weeks and months after we organised our training sessions and went live with Microsoft 365, we should check if the new tools are being used rather than the old ones and if the people work in the new way instead of being stuck in their old ways of working. We should also make sure that it is very easy to get help, if you are not entirely sure about the new way of working. And that anyone who can set a good example does so: managers, team leads, influential colleagues, HR, Communication, IT,…

Microsoft 365 evolves continuously

Microsoft keeps adding applications and improving existing applications. So the people need to be aware of those changes, know what’s it in it for them and what to adopt them, know how to use the new & improved applications and be actually able to do so. And again get reinforced in the updated way of working.

So we should keep an eye on the Microsoft roadmap and put governance in place to determine how we deal with these updates: activate everything? Wait if it is possible to wait, and activate applications only if they are sufficiently mature and explained properly? Activate only for a specific group of trailblazers in a targeted release? And then arrange to help the people adopt the updates, for example by organising knowledge sessions like webinars on new features, publishing tips in communication channels that suit the audience (such as intranet news and departmental newsletters) and continuously updating your information portal for the details.

Our situation evolves continuously

The organisation may change, the users may change, the users’ insights and needs may change. New questions get asked. New solutions to facilitate work processes get thought out and implemented.

So you need to update the help materials you have, your information portal if you have one. This requires governance: somebody needs to be responsible for it and have a process when to update or add what information. And take it to the users: you don’t have to wait for new features from Microsoft to publish tips and organise knowledge sessions.

You also need a channel to collect feedback from the users on what should be explained or explained better: via the log of the questions that are frequently asked the servicedesk, via a network of ‘champions’, a feedback form, informal chats with users,…

New hires need to be onboarded & adopted

One of the advantages of Microsoft 365 is that many organisations use it. So when you hire new employees, chances are that they have used Microsoft 365 before, or at least parts of it. Nevertheless, these new people are unfamiliar with your specific templates and guidelines for how you use Microsoft 365 in your organisation and in your teams.

So you need to adopt these new colleagues and allow them to adopt your toolkit and your ways of working. I know, a bit of a mixed metaphor: take these new colleagues under your wing, so that they can embrace your tools and ways of working. Make them aware during the onboarding programme and show them the benefits. Offer them training if they need it. Make sure they are able to get started by creating their accounts promptly and giving them the required permissions. And again reinforce everything: managers and close colleagues and coach and guide the new people.

Support should be available continuously

Ok, maybe not continuously as in 24/7, but support cannot stop after Microsoft 365 has been launched and the implementation project is finished. Users should always be able to get proper support when something does not work or if they get lost. See also The importance of support for Office 365 adoption.

So make sure they know who to contact and that the people they contact are able to help them. For example.

  • Arrange for keyusers / champions who can help their colleagues. This approach can work well, because these champions are closer to the innocent end-users than IT. But then the keyusers need to be kept up-to-date on developments and they need direct access to expert support if they don’t know the answers to the users’ questions.
  • Make sure the helpdesk can help people: is there a clear and easy way to contact the helpdesk, does the helpdesk have the knowledge required to help the users?

Bottomline: you need to arrange for ongoing adoption capabilities, especially when you have an evolving toolkit like Microsoft 365. Or the Power Platform. Or any other platform where the users experience continuous change.

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