blog.frederique.harmsze.nl my world of work and user experiences

April 30, 2019

No Office 365 adoption: Feedback from the workplace

Filed under: Adoption,Office365 — frederique @ 23:53

When you roll out Office 365, you need to make sure that the users will adopt the toolkit. Otherwise, why bother rolling it out in the first place? However, in real life, we see that the users and their adoption of Office 365 do not always get the required attention. When you do get in touch with the users, you get some interesting feedback, leading to the obvious conclusion that you should have helped them in the first place…

Yes, recently I have been talking to quite a few innocent users and even more people who volunteered to be Office 365 champions. Plus, we have just done a survey (using Microsoft Forms) asking hundreds of users what they use, what they think and what they want pertaining to Office 365.

Here’s some of the feedback I received.

“You guys have switched it on, but nobody has explained anything ”

Most of the Office 365 tools have been rolled out, in the sense that they are available. An almost purely technical roll-out. But hardly anything has been done to help the users become aware of the new tools, let alone understand how they work and how to use them to make their lives easier. Yes, some savvy early adopters already know or pick things up by searching the internet. But many people need training and guidance. This is something I hear in every meeting with the business, on every visit, on every occasion… “You need to provide training”, “maybe you could give us some information”, “who is going to coach us?”, “why did you dump this on us without implementing it properly?”…

You can’t just switch on Office 365 and automatically have all users of a large, non-IT company embrace it. You need to help the users to adopt the toolkit, to make it their own.

“But how should I have known that?”

A management assistant contacted me about this SharePoint site she had for her board of directors. SharePoint was acting weird, she said. When she added a new folder with documents, the other could not see it. But then I saw that she was sharing files in her OneDrive for Business. “But that is the same as SharePoint isn’t it? ” No, it is not the same. “But how should I have known that?” Well, nobody had explained what’s what, how it works and what it is for. So basically my answer was: I am here now to help you and the board with this…

If is really tricky when you deploy functionality without explaining anything or helping the users adopt the tools properly. If they use the tools in the wrong way, you may end up with information loss, data leaks, or at the very least seriously frustrated users.

“I have a feeling we are not taking advantage of the possibilities”

Everybody is using Office 365, but that is because they are using Office to write documents in the same way as before, Exchange Online to send email in the same way, make meeting minutes in Word like they always did, store files in SharePoint in folders like they were used to on the P-drive. A few people have an inkling that maybe there is more, you have new ways to work more smartly. But what and how? In the few instruction sessions that were organized by IT, they explained which buttons to push to make the tool work. But that did not help the users to understand how to move to a new way of working.

You need to show how the users can take advantage of the new tools in their work. Demo realistic scenarios, so that they can see how it all fits together. They can open a meeting invitation in their Outlook calendar to participate in an online meeting in Skype for Business (ok, already old school) or Teams (the new tool). They can then take meeting notes in the OneNote notebook that is shared in their SharePoint team site, which they can access via their Outlook invite and the Team and the OneNote client. Et cetera, et cetera.

“My colleagues already hate SharePoint”

Some departments and project teams have SharePoint team sites. However, SharePoint has not been explained properly to these users. I heard from a hardy “champion“, who does think that SharePoint can help them collaborate more effectively, efficiently and smoothly. His colleagues however, do not understand how it works, so it does not work for them. They don’t have the time, savviness or optimism to find out how to make it work. And the poor champion does not have the means to help them out, because he is not sure about the best practices either.

We have to make sure users can learn how to use the new tools as soon as they have to start using them. Otherwise, the negative vibe will block successful adoption.

“Aha, but that is handy and quite easy too! ”

At a small scale, I have been explaining how Office 365 tools work and how to use them to make our lives easier. For example, the board was very happy to see that they could share information easily in their new SharePoint site. The management assistant could give access to new board members in seconds, which had been a terrible hassle on their network drive. And even the least savvy board member agreed that uploading a document was actually not difficult at all. Another colleague wanted to telephone to talk about a SharePoint site. I talked her into a Skype meeting, and she was very enthusiastic about the option to share her screen and just show me. That is something that can really make your life easier…

If you explain the low hanging fruit, you can already help people and make them happy.

“I am glad you are here! When are you coming back?”

Recently, I visited several other offices, elsewhere in the country. I told key contacts I would be there and that this would be an excellent opportunity to discuss their Office 365 questions and needs in person. And yes indeed, at each office, I hardly had time to grab a cup of coffee before I was swamped by users and their questions.

Even at this day and age, with the excellent tools offered by Office 365 for remote meetings, it is still important to visit other workplaces in person, for real-life interaction.

“Do you people at HQ really think we have time for this?”

Yes, quite a few people were willing to spend time finding out how Office 365 works and improve their way of working. But that does not mean that the IT department or HQ in general can just dump anything on the innocent users and make it their problem. For example, the roll-out of Office 2016 caused issues, especially on older laptops. So IT formed a taskforce to solve these issues. Nice. But then they told the end-users that they had to come to the head office for a whole day on a Monday, to work with the taskforce. What? As if these users, who are already terribly busy, would have time to spend a full day at headquarters. And when they politely said “you people at HQ”? I could hear them thinking “you total idiots at HQ” or even worse…

IT and the other staff departments at headquarters are there to facilitate the business, not the other way around…

“Teams and Planner don’t work for me”

In our tenant environment, self-service creation of Office 365 Groups is switched off. So users cannot create Microsoft Teams or Plans in Planner. This makes sense, because the basics have not been configured properly and we would end up with a complete mess. Unfortunately, the Create buttons are there, and nobody has told the community that only IT can do this. So this time it is the savvy early adopters who get frustrated.

If advanced options are visible to end users, the buttons have to work. Or it has to be very clear why they have not been enabled yet, what is the plan for these advanced options, and maybe how they can request a sneak preview or pilot.

“The champions programme? We thought that had died”

Almost two years ago, we actively recruited users to act as Office 365 champions . We promised them training and asked them become the first point of contact for their colleagues. And then the plans from IT changed, funding was lost and that training was postponed. A year ago, we gave them a couple webinars about some of the aspects of Office 365. And no follow-up. Now we are finally trying to start up the community and get serious about adoption. But by now, some of the prospective champions I talked to confessed that they thought we had all died or something. Or at least the programme had died. “You are going to train us? Yes please, about time!”

Actually, it is a miracle most of them still want to talk to me, respond to the survey and tell us they want to learn more. Even if they need to vent their frustration first. When you recruit people to become Office 365 champions, you have to train and involve them right away and keep at it.

“Why didn’t you tell us that the adoption programme was delayed?”

Ok, we had to postpone our adoption activities and that was bad. Especially the people who had signed up to become Office 365 champions were very unhappy about this. But what really exasperated them, was that we did not fess up to the prospective champions what was going on. Quite a few of them reproached us that we should have communicated properly about the delay and the reason for it.

And they were right… You need to tell people what’s the plan, what is going on and what has been canceled.

So yes, it really is important to take action right from the start of the roll-out of Office 365 to help people adopt it. You should NOT deploy Office 365 and then start thinking about user adoption as an afterthought.  Not just because I say so, but because the people at the workplace, our users, say so… Many things went wrong in this Office 365 roll-out, but one thing is clear: now that we are finally starting a project to promote the adoption Office 365, we are definitely fulfilling a need.

October 31, 2018

3 simple things that help user adoption

Filed under: Adoption,Office365 — frederique @ 22:58

Setting up effective tools and processes to achieve user adoption often turns out to be difficult. No time, no money, no resources. You should still make that time, find the money, and locate the resources, because why roll out something like Office 365 if users do not adopt it? Nevertheless, let us take a look at some things you can start doing right now that require only a little attention.

Set an example

Office 365 is a great toolkit for communication, collaboration and sharing knowledge. So let’s use it to support the roll-out of Office 365. Eat your own dog food!

Use Office to collaborate in your IT / information management / roll-out team. That allows you to check if everything is working properly, and it offers an example of the practical application of the tools that you can show to others.

And use Office 365 to share with the stakeholders outside your team. For instance, when you organize something like workshops or training sessions:

  • Do not send any materials as e-mail attachments, but share them on a SharePoint site.
  • Offer a Skype meeting or Teams meeting to allow people to join you online if they cannot join in real life.
  • Take notes of these sessions in OneNote and share them.

Also, encourage managers and other influencers to use the new tools when they become available. For instance, post announcements on the SharePoint. And if they want to send a newsletter or other e-mail for higher visibility, only include summaries in the mail text, with links to the full story.

Offer help content to answer frequently asked questions

User will ask how things work. At least, I get quite a few emails and calls with such questions and I know many my colleagues get them as well. Instead of detailing the same answer to each user, put these answers in a central location and point to those instructions and explanations to help them out.

  • A basic user manual,
  • A help page,
  • A list with clear tips or frequently asked questions.
  • A demo site with the SharePoint site template you have found or developed. Add some content to show what you can do in such a site.
  • A Short video, if you have more time or if you find it easier to show something in a quick recording than writing it down.

Anything, as long as it explains what is what, how to use it and what’s in it for them.

Do you have an information portal or help center? Great, use it!
If you don’t have anything elaborate (yet), just put something in a public team site. Even if you cannot broadcast the information yet, at least the information is available. Just send a link to anyone who asks a question.

Inspire people who show an interest

It takes a lot of time and effort to get everyone onboard on the Office 365 train. But in every organization, there are at least some enthusiasts who like to experiment and get started with new tools. They may contact you to learn more.

Inspire them with tips and tricks of what is already possible and sneak peaks of what will become available soon. Then they can inspire their colleagues. But be honest about the limitations and the reasons why some things are not available yet – these early adopters may want to move faster than you call roll out Office 365 in a controlled manner.

Try to find out what they really need, in their situation. Standard Office 365 features can be amazing discoveries if you were unaware of them and they turn out to meet your needs. Examples of things that made some people quite happy recently:

  • For a colleague the idea of sharing notes in the team site notebook was an eye opener. After all, that is included in every SharePoint site but he was not aware of that, so he was taking notes in a notebook in his OneDrive. Quite a few people were awed by the functionality offered by OneNote, which they found a lot more practical than notes on paper or on Word.
  • For a team that is discussing a draft versions of deliverable documents, Microsoft Teams was just what they needed: persistent chat threads in the context of the document under discussion.
  • A colleague had heard about Teams and thought that they would help him. But after some brainstorming, it turned out he wanted to manage an overview of information that was perfectly suited to list in SharePoint with some fields for status, owner and hyperlinks to other sources.

 

These are some things you can do to take a few steps towards some user adoption. But don’t stop there. In most organizations, you need to do a lot more to achieve real user adoption. See for example these earlier blog posts: 5 lessons learned about user adoption programmes,  5 more lessons learned about User Adoption and the DIWUG eMagazine article: How do we get users to adopt Office 365?

May 31, 2018

Yammer does not work – Are you sure you should blame the tool?

Filed under: Adoption,Office365 — Tags: , — frederique @ 23:52

Yammer has been around for a decade already, as an enterprise social networking service. It has been incorporated in the Office 365 toolkit. And it can be very effective. However, now I am hearing from my client that Yammer does not work for them and they want some other tool. Is Yammer really that bad, or is there I some other reason why they say Yammer does not meet their needs?

Currently I am working for a construction company. They want a platform to communicate about safety and to interact with the employees about that topic. This is a construction company, so safety is a big issue. For all of the employees.

How about Microsoft Teams?

They asked me for a demo of Microsoft Teams, because they thought that this would be a great tool to use for their safety communication and interaction. Microsoft Teams is newer, and that it why they think it is hotter I fear….

Don’t get me wrong, I Microsoft Teams is great. But not for this purpose.

  • The maximum number of members in a Team is 2.500 which is not nearly enough.
  • A Team does not have visitors, but only members and owners. That is great for conversations, but these members can also edit other information in the Team. And the client wants to offer “official” information as well. SharePoint is better for that purpose, though you can of course connect a SharePoint site to a Team.
  • A Team does look quite complex and ‘geeky’ with all those channels and tabs and everything. You don’t have a simple starting point like a homepage. A Communication site does that better.
  • Teams is for teams, that is why it is called Teams… As Microsoft puts it: Teams are for the inner loop, the inner circle with whom you are collaborating closely.

How about Yammer?

A Communication site is great for the “official stuff”: well thought-out pages about the topic, guidelines and instructions, overviews of contacts, events etc. But for interaction with the people, Yammer is more suited. We can bring the two together, by adding a Yammer app (web part, app part, whatever you call it) to the homepage of the site.

However, when I mentioned Yammer, they all pulled faces and grumbled that they had tried Yammer and that it did not work for them at all. Hmmmm…

I admit, Yammer is definitely not perfect:

  • The search is terrible… I find it difficult to find what I am looking for via the search box in Yammer.
  • The Yammer app (web part, app part, whatever you call it) you can add to a homepage of your Communication site is very, very basic: pictures are not displayed, you only see the last comment.
  • Links to SharePoint pages are not displayed nearly as nicely as links to internet pages.

But I like Yammer and use it a lot in our company:

  • An informal forum to ask questions, share lessons learned and post new tidbits
  • Clear structure via groups and threads, with an overview on the ‘start page’ and per group a view of the new conversations so that you know when you are up-to-date.
  • Rich conversations using tags (to help you find them and collect the conversations on a topic), mentions (to engage specific colleagues), attached images as slide shows, links to for example Stream videos and websites with a visual preview…

Why is Yammer working for us and maybe not for my client?

  • Many of my colleagues (including me…) often are working elsewhere. We only meet online.
    If everyone is in the same office most of the time, they can easy discuss questions and ideas in the coffee corner. Then they don’t really need Yammer, so they won’t use Yammer as much. So if the same organisation starts using Yammer to share with people who are not in the same office, it may be used more.
  • I use Yammer, instead of another tool, because that is where the action is: questions posed in Yammer are answered, ideas get commented upon, tidbits get liked etc.
    If Yammer is not being used in a community, it is not worth going there and posting something. But if nobody posts anything or nobody reacts, nobody will start use it. In our organisation the vicious circle was broken early, because we are an IT company with people who like this stuff, and because it meets our needs.
  • We know where to find Yammer. In the early days, we had a Yammer feed web part right in the middle of the homepage of our intranet (now Yammer is more prominent than that homepage…).
    In my client’s organisation, I Yammer is hardly connected to anything else. There is a link to Yammer on the homepage, but that is a static link buried among other links.
  • In our organisation, Yammer is the dominant tool for spreading news: management posts updates, HR uses Yammer to tell us about people who join or leave us, sales tells about new clients…
    In my client’s organisation, I get a lot of this information via email. The disadvantage of email for such communication, is that it does not allow you to start a conversation: ask questions, say hello / goodbye to the new / old colleagues, give kudos for achievements.
  • We grumbled a bit about unpractical features in Yammer but we could get passed them and now we can take advantage of the continuous improvements, like the ability to edit a post (not all that recent, but a huge relief when that became possible,,,) .
    I wonder if my client had their experience with Yammer a long time ago; they may not have noticed that some of their obstables have been removed.

So to adopt and take advantage of Yammer:

  • Determine to what problem it is the solution: conversations about special topics between people who are not sharing the same office.
  • Actively seed and drive the conversation when that does happen organically: have editors / moderators post tips and news, answers questions or redirect them to someone who can (using the mention-option). Make sure these posts are interesting to the users: relevant, useable and/or great fun :-)
  • Make sure it is easy to find Yammer: embed Yammer feeds in SharePoint sites, invite colleagues to join groups that are of special interest to them.
  • In help & training, tell users about Yammer and how it can be useful, show it to them in a moderated Yammer group sharing Office 365 expertise for instance. Share success stories (for example gathered as #YamWins)
  • Introduce Yammer to anyone who does organisation-wide or department-wide communication. If they welcome response, explain that Yammer is a better medium than email.
  • Check what are the blocking issues for this organisation and try again when they have been solved in the Office 365 evolution.

If a tool in the toolkit is not used, the question always is: is the tool inadequate or are there another reasons why the users did not adopt it? Like they don’t know about the tool or they don’t understand how to use the tool effectively. If the problem lies in the adoption, there is no guarantee that replacing the tool will be helpful at all. Then there will just be another tool that users don’t know about and don’t understand…

 

 

Microsoft-InnerOuterLoop

April 30, 2018

Do not forget to follow up

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 20:51

Recently, I encountered an example of the need to follow up on a series of webinars. It sounds obvious. But when people are busy, the follow-up ball gets dropped too often. You need to plan ahead, who should do what, where and how to follow up on the sessions, to make sure everyone gets what they need.

IT organized a series of webinars on Office 365. These webinars were quite well attended, by over a hundred participants, which was great. And even greater: many of these participants joined in seriously, rather than just listing half-heartedly. They were very active in the chat window, asking questions and adding comments.

Because there were so many questions and because some of the questions were so complex, the presenter and the moderator were unable to address of all them during the session. That was not a problem, because they promised to get back on these questions in the Yammer group they had created for ongoing knowledge sharing, before the webinar series started. Also, in every session, at least one of the participant asked if we would share the recording and the slides materials with them. No surprise there, I always get these questions in every training I give. And yes, they promised to share these materials afterwards.

And that is where it got difficult.

After the sessions, the promised follow-up did not appear, because the one IT-guy was out of office for two weeks, the other IT-guy was too busy, and the project manager had not planned for it. The webinars had been planned up to the point of the actual session, but nothing afterwards.

What you want to plan for, in addition to the webinars themselves:

  • Capture the questions and comments.
    Fortunately we did copy the chat conversation from each session and pasted it into our OneNote notebook. So at least we know what we have to get back on. Not just questions in need of answers, but also interesting ideas mentioned by the participants that we may will want to take up in our programme.
  • Quickly send a thank-you message with links
    Send the links to the recording and the slides immediately after the session. Then the participants can quickly check they are not sure about. And if you don’t send these links soon, people will start harassing you to hurry up…
  • Plan resources to answer the questions soon
    In the hours and days after the sessions, somebody knowledgeble should formulate answers to the questions that have not been answered yet. In our case, these answers were to be posted in the Yammer group, mentioning the person who asked the question to draw their attention to it. One caveat with respect to Yammer: in our case, some participants could not access our Yammer group, because they were stuck in an old Yammer network. They had told us in the chat of the webinar. So these people should also get their answers via another channel, like email.
  • Ask for feedback
    Immediately after each session or at the end of the whole series, ask the participants for their opinions. Not only on how they liked these webinars, but also in what they want or need to learn next: More details on the same subjects? Other perspective on the same tools, like how to use them in different situations? Introductions on other tools in Office 365? There are plenty of ways to ask for feedback, like a poll in the Yammer group, a Form, a survey in a SharePoint site…
  • Keep at it
    When people start using the new tools, they will have more questions and need more information. So after the sessions, keep sharing tips and answering subsequent questions. Actually, start a tip campaign before the series of webinars starts, so that you can give tips beforehand that help them make the most of the webinars. For example, how to check their audio, get a headphone, find the chat-pane.

So: organizing webinars is great, but do not forget to follow up on them

March 31, 2018

The user properties need to be correct in Office 365

Filed under: Adoption,Office365 — frederique @ 22:31

In Office 365, things like the job titles, departments and offices of our users are very visible. And we use those properties heavily in the search options. So we are in trouble if these properties are incorrect.

At the moment, we are rolling out Office 365 in a large company. Users are invited to join SharePoint Online sites and Yammer groups. They get Outlook Online. So they are looking around in Office 365 and noticing the properties that are displayed. A well-meaning IT guys pointed out the people search. But now the users are starting to notice that these properties are sorely out of date… And they are not happy about that…

  • “I’ve uploaded my photo in my profile, but that profile says that I am a secretary and I have changed jobs years ago. So how can I change that?”
  • “I’ve followed the wizard to set up Multi-Factor Authentication, like you told me, and I ended up on a page that displays as my office the location where I worked over 3 years ago. I have tried to get that changed time and time again, but it is still wrong”.
  • “This people search result that you pointing out does not make any sense. When I filter by my department, I get the wrong people.”
  • “That search result gives me several people who have left the company years ago.”

The functionality does not work properly, so we don’t get the benefits. And the users get annoyed, so we are actually worse off…

In her Office 365 profile, Megan can change her add her own mobile number and change her birthday. But she cannot edit her job title or department.

In her Office 365 profile, Megan can change her add her own mobile number and change her birthday. But she cannot edit her job title or department.

So:

  • Try to clean up your Active Directory before you roll out Office 365. And implement a solid procedure to keep it up-to-date when people join, move or leave the company or change anything else.
  • If you cannot trust your Active Directory data, do not synchronise too many data into Office 365. Let the users enter their contact details manually. Not the optimal solution, but better than incorrect personal data.
  • And until you have arranged something appropriate, do not promote the functionality….

 

 

August 31, 2017

DIWUG eMagazine article: How do we get users to adopt Office 365?

Filed under: Adoption — Tags: , — frederique @ 22:48

When the IT department rolls out Office 365, we cannot assume that all users in the organization automatically adopt it and keep adopting the new options that appear regularly. An ongoing user adoption program solves this problem. In an article in the DIWUG eMagazine, I dive into the question what the fuss is about and how to plan for ongoing adoption.

DIWUG is the Dutch Information Worker User Group. They organise community events in The Netherlands and publish a magazine that exists in a print version as well as a downloadable version; the magazine is in English. To read the article How do we get users to adopt Office 365? , you can Download DIWUG SharePoint eMagazine #19

In the article, I discuss

  • Phase 1: Envision what you need from the start, zooming in on champions
  • Phase 2: Get the users onboard, zooming in on help & training
  • Phase 3: Keeping driving value, zooming in on measurement

DIWUGemagazine19

July 31, 2017

Blocking the wrong tool does not guarantee adoption of the right tool

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 23:02

Sometimes I hear IT people say that they will block file shares, because the employees in their organization do not use SharePoint. The theory is that the users will automatically turn to the new SharePoint sites when they lose their old, familiar storage space. Or not, as it turns out.

I have talked about this in an earlier post  (So do we unplug the file shares now? ) , but let me add a real-life example that I have just encountered. No rocket-science or amazing revelations, but it is always good to touch base with real life.

Today, an innocent user approached me. She is used to storing files on her laptop, but fortunately she knew realize that something was wrong.

As it turned out, her personal file share had been switched off soon after she was onboarded earlier this year. This was the H-Drive (for home drive), which in some organizations it is called P-Drive (for personal drive). Its key feature is that it is connected to My Documents on your computer, so that your files are available offline and they are available on a server in case your laptop crashes. She had heard that she was supposed to use SharePoint sites instead of that file share. But nobody had explained to her how to get her files into a SharePoint site and how to use it.

Apparently, IT simply blocked her old tool, without enabling her to adopt the proper new tool. And as she was busy doing her actual work, instead of messing about with IT stuff, she just put her files on the C-Drive of her laptop. Which is actually a step back from using a file share, instead of a step forward…

Fortunately, she did grow to realize that her files would be lost if her laptop would crash or be stolen. So when we met about some other topic, she asked if I could help her out.
And yes, she was totally willing and eager to embrace Office 365, when I showed her how to upload the team-related files into a team site, and upload the personal files into OneDrive for Business. Especially when she saw the additional features, like versioning. She just needed to be empowered first.

How many other people in that organization have been forced back onto their C-Drive in the same way…? How much crucial information has been lost, when files marooned on the C-drive disappear in a laptop crash or theft? Tomorrow I’d better ask IT what’s going on…

So what I saw – again – today:

  • People will not automatically switch to a new tool when the old tool is blocked
    So: Don’t shut down an old file storage location before the new one is available and adopted by the users.
  • People are busy with their own work and don’t want to waste time on IT stuff
    So: Make it very easy to introduce and use the right tools
  • People don’t like calling an IT Servicedesk. They prefer to ask somebody they know.
    So: Be available and approachable. Make sure there are “champions” all parts of the organisation

June 25, 2017

Adopting new options? It works for the gannets

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 20:01

On holiday, I don’t think much about work or work-related issues. But sometimes I am reminded of, for example, user adoption. Not all Office 365 users are willing to adopt the latest and greatest options. But the gannets in Shetland do embrace and adopt new options.

Gannets build their nest on cliff ledges, from seaweed and plants.
But when an additional ingredient is available, they take advantage of it. Like fish nets. We have seen quite a few gannet nets that incorporate fish nets.

Gannet nest using fish net

Natural nests and nests with fish nets, in the colony on Noss (Shetland)

Gannet nest on Hermaness

This gannet at Hermaness on Unst (Shetland) also uses green fish nets.

Gannets feed on fish, which they catch by plunging from great height and at great speed.
But when they get the option to grab a free fish offered by the skipper of a tour boat, they don’t turn it down. Then they hover quite close to the surface and to that boat. The only disadvantage is that there are many competitors for the free fish…

Gannets fighting over a fish

Two gannets grabbed the same free fish, tossed overboard by the skipper of the tour boat at Noss.

And I agree with the gannets: if a new option arises and it works for you, why not take advantage and adopt it?

May 31, 2017

Users and IT – Worlds apart?

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 23:25

As a consultant, I am part of the Office 365 in-crowd. But I also mingle with end-users. Sometimes it feels like these are two different worlds. What is perfectly obvious to IT is incomprehensible or outrageous to the users. And the other way around.

IT terminology?

Innocent users sometimes misunderstand what the IT people are talking about. Of course, this is the case for obvious technology jargon. But product names also confuse.

I am involved in an Office 365 implementation programme, part of which is the migration of the mailboxes to Exchange Online. As a result of some communication about this migration, a user concluded: “So we have to stop emailing with Outlook and start emailing with Exchange?”. Oops, that was not what we meant.

Let’s focus our communication on the tools and tool names that exist in the world of the innocent end-users. The tool that users know and love is Outlook. Exchange is something that lives at the level of the server. 

IT intuition?

I’ve worked with SharePoint for twelve years now, and I know my way around it. I don’t always know by heart how everything works, and I had to pay serious attention when the modern interface appeared. But my SharePoint intuition is sufficiently well developed to get the job done.

I am particularly conscious of my SharePoint, Office 365 or general IT intuition when I notice where some innocent end-users try to click, for example. Someone tried to open Outlook on his desktop by clicking the Outlook label in Outlook Online. I had to see it, to understand what he was driving at, when he asked me why it did not work. Or there’s the new communication specialist who wanted to upload a document and could not find the button. It turned out she was not looking at the homepage of the team site but at the main tab of the OneNote notebook that a link had led her to.

Mind you, I am not suggesting that these end-users are stupid. Not at all. What they do can be very complex and totally beyond me. But if they have no experience at all with the tools, they may struggle at unexpected moments.

Let’s keep in mind that not everyone has the same IT intuition. Watch what innocent end-users are doing, by observing in real life or asking them to share their screen via Skype. That allows you to help them better at that time, and to improve your IT offerings and support materials.

What’s in it for me IT?

To be worth its funding, the IT project has to benefit the business. And to get adopted by the prospective users, so that it has a chance of achieving the business benefits, it has to benefit the people themselves. The users not only need to be able to benefit from the project, but they also need to be fully aware and convinced of what’s in it for them.

For example, Skype for Business is not just a tool that we roll out as part of Office 365. It is the answer to the prayers of users who need to communicate and share with people who are in different locations. Instead of wasting a lot of time traveling or getting stuck in misunderstanding by having meetings by phone in which you don’t see what’s happening, Skype for Business allows you to share your screen or look the others in the eye via video conferencing.

So let’s focus on what’s important in the world of the end-users. And involve the business and the users, to make sure that we really pinpoint the scenarios that address their needs and the solutions that meet their needs.

IT priorities?

The projects and programs that I’m involved with are usually initiated or at the very least supported by IT. In such projects, we often need input of feedback from the business, especially if IT does its best to involve the business and the users to make sure they benefit from it. In any case, the users need to spend at least some time and effort when they transition from the old tools and the old way of working to the new ones.

But the people in the organization are busy building houses, selling groceries, curing patients, auditing companies, or doing whatever else the organization specializes in. In addition to their daily work, they may also be involved in non-IT initiatives and projects. And those may well be far more important to them then the projects that are so crucial to the IT guys.

Let’s plan IT projects in conjunction with the rest of the project portfolio of the organization, so that the IT projects and their priorities fit with the other projects instead of clashing with them.

 

So innocent end-users and IT people may live in different worlds, but we have to keep in touch and cross over to the other world. Innocent end-users may visit the IT world if they are interested about new technology. But IT has to be able to deal with the world of the end-users, to help them adopt the new tools and the new way of work. Because the job of IT is to support the business and the end users Not the other way around.

April 30, 2017

FastTrack has good stuff for user adoption

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 21:06

Microsoft has a customer success service called FastTrack to help organizations realize business value faster with the Microsoft Cloud, including Office 365. It gives us guidance and practical materials, like templates. Good stuff.

The Office 365 Adoption Guide offered on http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/office gives us the full story of the three phases – envision, onboard and drive value- with checklists and links to details and templates.

The Productivity Library (http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/office/envision/productivitylibrary) contains over a hundred scenarios of how Office 365 can make your life easier. For example: Plan for work effectively, using Planner. For such a scenario, you get instruction pages and videos. And templates to make announcements, posters and flyers, tips & tricks messages.

You can also get help for onboarding end-users into Office 365. Small business owners (1-49 users) can use a setup guide. Customers with more than 50 licenses are entitled to assistance from the Microsoft FastTrack team, for example in migrating content. But that is not a free-for-all option.

There is also an entry point for all resources, per phase, that anyone can use: http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/office/resources/envision , including case studies, a guide for the helpdesk and plans.

So there is a lot of good stuff in there. We might as well use it…

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