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User Adoption Secrets

85% of Office 365 implementations Fail - Why?

The secrets of Office 365 user adoption – here are some valuable tips you won’t find anywhere else.

Many companies implementing Office 365 are finding that they are failing to realise the anticipated business benefits – why is that?. It is largely because user adoption rates are actually very low and the measures used to measure user adoption are weak.

There is a much better way.

The reasons why so many struggle with this is that user adoption is actually complex. Every business is unique and each comes with complex interactions between people and processes. People are human, and humans, as a rule, are creatures of habit that see change as a four-letter word spelled W-O-R-K. This means that up to 80% will resist change leaving the 20% of early adopters on their own.

So what does that tell us? It tells us that instead of running Office 365 adoption as an IT led project it must be run as a change management programme. Such a programme has a life longer than the technical implementation and will exist as long as the platform exists and is in use.

User adoption is all about changing user behaviors, it is not about technology.

The skills and methods that you use to change behavior are very different than those required to build and deliver effective IT systems. This means that the people who lead and manage your Office 365 implementation may not be (and probably are not) the right people to lead your user adoption program.

You have installed all this great technology, but why aren’t people using it? Change in any organisation can be challenging and there are many obstacles to negotiate. There follows a short list of what we think are the most important things you need to think about when making changes in your business and getting great user adoption in Office 365. Please read on to understand the issues.

sharon ridgway-davies

Ensure you plan and manage this as a Change Management initiative

The single most important thing to do is to get a powerful guiding coalition to back, promote and sponsor your Office 365 adoption programme. You will need to prepare a business case and promote it couched in business terms. It is critical to focus on measurable success criteria that you can bench mark. Within your overall plan there will be workstreams. One of which will be the technical implementation of Office 365. This business change initiative – which adoption of Office 365 truly is – is not just a technical IT project.

peter m. ridgway-davies

Get the Right People on board

The single most important thing to do is to get a senior executive to back, promote and sponsor your Office 365 adoption programme. The executive sponsor needs to be able to clearly understand the business benefits and therefore articulate the Why of it. Your team will need to prepare a business case and promote it couched in business terms. It is critical to focus on measurable success criteria that you can benchmark. Easier said than done but focus on measures that will drive business efficiency and therefore business benefits.

peter ridgway-davies

Appoint a User Adoption Champion

Ensure that your business has formally appointed a dedicated staff member (this may be you!) to the role of User Adoption Champion.

This role needs specific responsibilities together with a budget to be able to successfully run the adoption programme. User adoption programmes never end – they are (or should be) ongoing. If you have a part-time champion in a large organisation it will not work – they need to be completely focused on user adoption.

sharon ridgway-davies

This is Hugely Important!

What is an Office 365 migration project? It is NOT a technical IT project. IT IS a business change programme of works that is ongoing, living, breathing. Sure there are technical IT elements to it but that is one important part of a much wider programme.

You have done a great job implementing the solution, everyone has access to this brilliant new technology, why aren’t people using it? You have the tools now GO! Even if the technology is intuitive you need to be able to apply the tools for a meaningful business outcome. This is where just in time training, micro-coaching and your Office 365 Champion can be a real game changers.

peter m. ridgway-davies

Create a sense of Urgency

In an Office 365 initiative you need to clearly articulate the urgency in order to focus on the objectives. This should be built around the business case i.e. the Why of it.

Office 365 is not just an upgrade to the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. It has collaboration tools embedded within Teams and crucially in Flow and PowerApps it has the tools which will really drive business benefits.

peter ridgway-davies

Create a Vision and Strategy

You need a strong vision and strategy to get your business to the desired goals. Closely aligned to the business benefits and the metrics you use to measure user adoption. It simply is not good enough to say, for example, that 60% of people have logged in during the past 30 days.

Do not forget you need a budget both for the implementation and ongoing maintenance activities.

You need to ensure that people are effectively using the platform to do great work.

sharon ridgway-davies

Communicate the Vision and Strategy

Communicate the vision and strategy. Have a launch event. Create a newsletter. Get the guiding coalition to role model the desired behaviour. Get them using Flow and PowerApps. Have a competition with a senior exec as a judge. Get three teams together and provide a business problem to solve within a day. Review and discuss the different solutions and lessons learnt. Select and reward the winner. Video the event and provide it to spark ideas in the wider community to get people talking.

peter m. ridgway-davies

Generate Quick Wins

Think about pilot projects within business areas and select appropriate business problems to solve. Support the teams with consultancy and guidance. Publicise their successes.

Choosing a small scale project that addresses a pain point for a relatively simple problem can be a great way to introduce Office 365 into the business. Creating a successful project that can be viewed and talked about in the business makes a compelling case and gets users excited about adopting the technology for their own teams.

peter ridgway-davies

Consolidate Gains and produce more change

Use your increased credibility to change systems to drive efficiency. Double down on areas of resistance. Consider using just-in-time training to aid adoption. Really drive into detailed metrics and identify those areas that need more help.

So staff are using Office 365 in your business and doing a great job? It’s really important that you know who is using the technology so that any gaps in learning can be addressed and addressed if necessary. Using surveys and feedback options can be a great way to measure usage. Give recognition to those who contribute positively to user adoption as a great way to celebrate success.

sharon ridgway-davies

Anchoring Change

So you think your Office 365 user adoption programme is over do you? Wrong! A user adoption programme exists as long as the system is in use. This is why you need a dedicated User Adoption Champion. Now you really need to focus on benchmarking. You need to review your metrics and refine where required. Ongoing management is required and you need to report progress regularly.

This about using software tools to measure actual user engagement and supplement these with data from other, softer sources such as surveys.

For example 100 new Flows were created last month and the business benefit was £££. Cumulatively we have delivered £££ worth of direct business benefit to date.

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