85% of Office 365 implementations Fail to meet their original objectives - Why?

secrets of office 365 adoption

Secrets of Office 365 User Adoption

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

The secrets of Office 365 user adoption - see  some valuable tips you won't find anywhere else.

Secrets of office 365 user adoption

There is a Much Better Way

The reasons why so many struggle with this issue is that user adoption is actually complex. Every business is unique and each one 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 need specialised support 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.


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.


Get the right People on Board

You MUST get a senior executive to back, promote and sponsor your Office 365 adoption programme. If you don't do this - You will FAIL.

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 pure business terms.

So for example by doing this our people will be happier, more productive and deliver significant cost savings and efficiencies.

It is critical to focus on measurable success criteria that you can benchmark. Easier said than done but focus on measurable success criteria that will drive business efficiency and therefore produce measurable business benefits.


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.


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 just 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.


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 Power Automate and PowerApps it has tools which can transform businesses.


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.

In order to gain the expected business benefits you need to ensure that people are effectively using the platform to do great work.


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 your people 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.


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.


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 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.


Anchoring Change

So you think your Office 365 user adoption programme is over do you? Wrong!

A user adoption programme exists for as long as the solution 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.


Put simply we enable our clients to grow richer and more capable than ever before.

We do this by empowering them through the use of advanced Office 365 technology.

Microsoft Power Platform & User Adoption Solutions

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Why Choose Us?

  • High Performance People

    We are high performance people with many years experience of working with clients to deliver solutions the business wants and needs.

  • Vast Experience...

    We have people who have been focusing on user adoption for over 20 years. We are also a Microsoft Partner specialising in the SharePoint platform since 2002.

  • We are really nice People

    We like to think we are nice people with strong ethics and displaying great empathy. Empathy helps us to understand your wants and needs and aids our understanding of your business.

Would You Like to Start a Project with us?

If you are thinking about User Adoption of Office 365 or seeking to gain the ROI you were promised

If you  are looking for people to take advantage of the Microsoft SharePoint platform using SharePoint on-premise or SharePoint Online then give us a call.


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