How to Sabotage Your Office 365 Adoption Plan
You begin with the best of intentions.
You’re going to implement Office 365, this unbelievable platform, and change the world (or at least your organization). All of your employees will rally behind you and you’ll be celebrated for saving the company so much money and making everyone more productive.
Then you launch.
The first week, you observe that your team’s support tickets have increased 300%. Their phones are ringing constantly. Morale has shifted – you hear lots of sighing, some banging on desks. You get a couple of emails from users in a questionably-threatening tone about how they can “go back to how things were.” And one of your Tier 2 engineers has taken up permanent residence in a bathroom stall, all because it has a lock on the door.
You face the facts: your launch plan may have failed. But why? With the wrong approach to adoption, even deploying the right tools won’t save you. Let’s take a look at some of the risk factors and most common ways to sabotage your Office 365 adoption.
Not having an adoption strategy
Deploying Office 365 and sending end users a how-to guide and an FAQ document isn’t an adoption strategy. Effective change management, consistent communication, executive buy-in, various training opportunities (and more) are crucial to the success of the launch and ongoing adoption of the new tools.
Thinking like IT
You’re naturally inquisitive, but your end users probably aren’t as technologically-curious as you. Their goal during the workday isn’t to solve a puzzle, it’s to get their job done, and when the tools they’re accustomed to using change, it can create all sorts of problems. (Which eventually become your problems.) By putting yourself in their shoes prior to launch, you can better predict issues that may arise and prepare for them.
A consistent flow of communication before, during, and long after launch is critical to ensuring full Office 365 adoption and minimizing end user anxiety, disruption, and backlash. You can create a timeline with communication milestones, get feedback from department leads, and even enlist the help of your Internal Communications team to publicize the changes that are coming. This effort serves a dual purpose: not only will you prepare employees for the changes ahead, but you have the chance to get them excited and on board – all increasing the likelihood that they’ll welcome the new programs with open arms.
Trying to boil the ocean
Office 365 contains so many productivity-enhancing programs that it’s tempting to just release them all to your users and see what sticks. But unless you have an entire team dedicated to training end users, this method will surely backfire. By creating a phased rollout plan, you ensure that users master the business-critical applications first, and as your ongoing training schedule allows, you can continue to launch other new programs and updates over time.
Don’t be discouraged if you’ve implemented Office 365 and it hasn’t been met with applause. You’re asking end users to change their behavior and preferences, to try something new, which can be very difficult – even impossible – without a proper plan in place. But it’s not too late to save your Office 365 implementation.