Office 365: Ensure its long-term user adoption

Article co-written by Oresys and InsideBoard.

Are you an IS Manager who’s decided to migrate to Office 365, so that your company can have a proper Digital Workplace? In the age of the Cloud and mobility, such a transformation is a must, offering employees the technological tools they need if they are to work more efficiently.

This new workplace must help address productivity issues by improving the flow of information. But migrating to Office 365 can prove to be a real challenge, not just on the technological front but, above all, in terms of employee adoption.

To complete a transformation project such as this successfully, you will need to go through three major decisive stages: get rid of any obstacles and convince everyone of the merits of the project, get your employees involved in the use of Office 365 services, and, lastly, measure the impact the project has had since it was introduced, so as to anchor uses firmly in the long term.

3 obstacles that must be removed to ensure that employees take ownership of a Digital Workplace

When a company introduces a transformation project, it raises a certain number of issues, with managers as much as with other employees. Changing the tools people work with every day is an attack on the usual practices of both teams and individuals. It is a cultural change that has to be implemented on the long term; attitudes must be changed and working methods rethought. A transformation such as this can take time, which depends largely on the company’s ability to change.

An obstacle related to the tool itself: “Why do we need a new tool?”

One of the obstacles we have noticed when working with our clients is the tool itself. Users can find taking ownership of an ensemble of Cloud services somewhat complicated, and many preconceived ideas can rear their ugly heads at the start of a project.

“Why would I want to replace the tools I’ve been using for years with something that looks much more complicated?” “Another tool imposed from above that won’t help me work more efficiently on a day to day basis.”

Your ability to reassure and involve all stakeholders will be a deciding factor in the success of your project, and that means regular, transparent communication with all the teams.

To address any mixed feelings that may appear, you need to go beyond preconceived ideas and demonstrate the benefits that employees did not realize at first. Explain in practical terms the advantages of taking Office 365 on board: fewer emails to deal with once special channels have been set up for different types of communication, collaborative solutions that make teleworking easier, simplified co-production of documents, easier access to Cloud storage when traveling, etc.

An obstacle related to very different populations

Businesses comprise a – sometimes large – number of different populations. A successful migration to Office 365 entails convincing not just management, but each and every one of these populations, all of which have highly differing priorities. First of all you have to identify them.

Within each different population, the employees are the cornerstone of successful change. While they may have very different reasons for taking ownership of Office 365 services, you nevertheless have to realize that the obstacles hampering any internal transformation are not necessarily a question of age or digital maturity. Some promoters will never be digitalized whilst your youngest populations may initially prove reticent.

Here too, it is by adapting your communications to these different populations that you’ll manage to persuade them of the advantages this new tool will bring them in terms of completing their professional tasks.

An obstacle related to the transformation project itself: “Another project that’s doomed to failure!”

In recent years, the number of transformation projects introduced in most business sectors has grown eightfold. Employees and managers are snowed under, and yet another change in working habits can be poorly received.

Do not let internal detractors – who will refuse to have any faith in your project from the outset – win. Share your vision, because this will be the project’s unifying factor, helping you to mobilize people and get the different teams on board. A clearly defined vision, that springs from the company DNA, creates long term desire and engagement. It’s all about making it attractive, meaningful and accessible.

All too often, Office 365 projects are considered purely from a technical angle. Yet the Change Management aspect must not be left aside, if the whole project is not to fall by the wayside after the implementation phase, as happens with 75% of transformation projects*. Our partner Oresys recommends the following: “Sort out your change management plan as quickly and as early as possible”.

How can you get teams on board with the implementation of Office 365 services?

One thing is certain: if you want to persuade employees to go along with you, you’ll need people to represent you – a network of internal ambassadors. And when you know that any recommendation from an ambassador carries 10 times as much weight as one issued by a manager, you won’t want to wait a second longer.

Detecting suitable Project Ambassadors

The first question asked by businesses, when there is talk of appointing Ambassadors, is “How can we give yet another role to someone of whom we are already asking a great deal?”

And it’s true, not every employee is capable of taking on such a role, so it is important you choose your ambassador network carefully. Experience has shown, moreover, that 70% of ambassadors who have been ‘forced’ into taking on such a role do not fulfill it. Yet this stage is a key element in the success of your project.

You must therefore be able to pick them out based on genuine signs of motivation. InsideBoard can help you recognize such signals. And you may be surprised! Some of the least pushy employees may turn out to have unsuspected leadership qualities, when it comes to getting their peers to get on board with the transformation.

Using games to get people involved

The issue of games in the workplace can be controversial; it is part and parcel of your business culture. However, one thing cannot be denied: France is a country that loves games, it’s a cultural thing (65% of French people say they like playing games, according to BVA). So, depending on the level of gamification embedded in your company, you can approach it in an appropriate manner.

There are different ways of using games to get employees on board: from handing out badges to setting up a certification program or more sophisticated competitions, employees like challenging themselves, either individually or as part of a team, so why not get them to take your project on board with a discourse that’s more fun?

Gamification has many advantages, but they can be summed up in two or three words: engagement and user experience. People find themselves actively involved in the project through a dynamic, customized experience. Thus, the game’s final objective is to encourage targeted employees to get involved and adopt strategic objectives.

Accelerating Office 365 roll-out: measuring ownership and usage

It can be difficult for companies to define a project’s objectives, measure them and then use them to adjust its actions and manage its teams. Yet defining your objectives, and how their success is to be measured, is a key factor when it comes to successfully completing your transformation project. If not, you may well find yourself unable to measure the actual impact of the project, once the new tool has been rolled out.

The InsideBoard platform enables you to monitor performance throughout your transformation project. For Office 365, KPIs can be very finely granulated with the Microsoft API. The platform can also help you to measure your company’s internal usage patterns before the tool is introduced. You will thus be able to see your teams’ level of digital maturity before the project begins, which gives you a proper reference base that you can use throughout the project.

In a single platform, InsideBoard, the 1st change management digital platform using artificial intelligence, offers you all the levers you need to engage employees in migrating to Office 365 and monitor your project’s performance once the Digital Workplace has been introduced. InsideBoard is not an extra tool, it is directly embedded in Office 365 and is designed to bring users on board simply and easily, using levers inspired by their everyday consumer experiences.