Remember the days when a change in IT was of no interest to us as communicators? In those days you’d barely notice it, bar the odd call to the tech team as you got used to your new laptop or software.
Now, with the arrival of O365, such detachment is a luxury we can ill afford. Daunting perhaps, because it requires a change of mind-set and a new way of working, but then again that’s what Office 365 is all about.
In fact, as many companies are now finding out, Office 365’s positive potential for us as communicators far outweighs the price of being pushed out of our comfort zones.
Here’s some quick tips to help with a successful implementation.
Adoption of Office 365 isn’t just a project with a beginning and end date. The day you go live is actually the beginning of the journey proper, not the end.
In fact, it goes far deeper. Office 365 has the potential to dramatically change the way we work and to increase collaboration and sharing. It’s a change of mind-set that will take a while to embed and it relies on a cultural change across the entire business, something that conventional training can’t fully deliver.
Because people are vital to the success or failure of Office 365, bringing everyone along for the ride from day one is critical, regardless of their job role. Make sure your communication explains why Office 365 is being adopted- from the people working on the front line to the CEO. Identify an executive sponsor to explain the benefits and importance of Office 365. People can be cynical of change, so make sure everyone realises why it will benefit them, the business and customers.
“We have 8,000 employees working in a diverse range of places – from drivers to office workers – and this is one of the biggest transformations we’ve ever undertaken.”
Head of Communications, Renewi
Office 365 is different, so make sure your communications, engagement and training reflects this. Recruit and nurture influential super users or champions, not necessarily using the most obvious tech-savvy people. If you can convince the dubious to champion it, the impact is greater. Let employees drive the adoption rather than taking a top-down approach. Hold engagement events but focus on hands-on collaboration.
A soft launch where the new system runs alongside the old for a few weeks can lessen the jolt of the implementation. Once launched, have floor walkers on hand in the early weeks to offer essential advice and support. Rather than risking employees ‘getting by’ at the start, encourage them to explore the apps and get an idea of their full potential. Encourage feedback at all stages and act on this insight.
Don’t try to launch too much, too fast. With +28 apps to choose from, a little time spent identifying the priority apps to introduce during the planning phase will ensure users aren’t overwhelmed. Focus on a small number of apps that will deliver the optimum benefit with the least upheaval, and gradually add the more complex ones at a later date.
No doubt strategy was central to your adoption of Office 365 in the first place, but make sure your implementation (and the apps you choose) has a close link to the company’s strategy. How will Office 365 make a real, lasting contribution to the values and strategic goals of the business?
Sign up for our three day kick start programme; a great introduction to what’s possible and deliverable for your organisation. Contact Nick Andrews on firstname.lastname@example.org