Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Why You Need an Office 365 Adoption Strategy Before Migrating

Adopting new technology can redefine job roles and business processes across an entire organization. It can also cause a lot of strife, discontent and stress for employees if poorly executed.

When it comes to Office 365, organizations need a robust adoption strategy to train employees, speed adoption and minimize business impact and risk.

Here are critical components of an Office 365 adoption strategy you need to know before implementation.

Why You Need an Office 365 Adoption Strategy

You may have chosen Office 365 for its potential savings, to access productivity tools or to enable greater flexibility and collaboration.

But Office 365 only helps organizations when used to its fullest potential. Here’s how a strong Office 365 adoption strategy aids individuals and organizations:

  • Minimize confusion with a new system. Individuals are naturally resistant to change, and introducing new technology into an organization presents a unique set of challenges. An Office 365 adoption strategy goes beyond the technical implementation to ensure employees are confident navigating Office 365 and understand its value.
  • Empower staff to take advantage of new features. If employees only use Office 365 for email, the entire organization misses out on key features that could help boost productivity and amplify your investment. A successful adoption strategy enables employees to integrate Office 365 tools into their daily workflows, work habits and processes.
  • Maximize the return on your technology investment. Adopting organizational change management strategies (OCM) to drive your Office 365 implementation can maximize your savings. In fact, companies that used OCM saw an ROI of 143 percent versus 35 percent for programs that didn’t utilize OCM, according to a McKinsey study. By developing a plan to adopt other Office 365 features, you can identify opportunities to consolidate or cancel existing subscriptions, saving even more.
  • Reduce unnecessary work for IT staff. A thorough adoption strategy can reduce redundant help desk requests and extra work for IT staff during Office 365 rollouts.
  • Make staff feel valued and heard. Investing in employees and training demonstrates value — employee training can decrease turnover and increase job satisfaction. Providing robust Office 365 training will speed adoption and buy-in from staff.

Critical Factors to Include in Your Office 365 Adoption Strategy

To reap the full benefits of Office 365, stakeholders must look beyond the technical requirements and address migration goals. Here are four critical elements that many businesses miss in their Office 365 adoption strategy.

Define Your Business Goals

An Office 365 migration is a complex technical project. It’s a major investment that could transform your business operations. To justify the move, it’s crucial to define business goals and communicate them to employees.

Whether you want to centralize IT administration, improve employee satisfaction, reduce costs or increase collaboration, business goals should be the foundation of your Office 365 adoption strategy, rollout and training.

Identify Your Business Scenarios

Business scenarios take goals one step further, translating high-level business objectives into specific use cases across various Office 365 features. They illustrate how each component of Office 365 will move the organization closer to its broader business objectives, such as increasing savings or employee productivity.

Business scenarios vary widely depending on your industry and operations. They can include everything from collaborating and sharing documents to updating devices and automating financial processes.

See more business scenarios in Microsoft’s Office 365 Productivity Library.

Here’s how identifying business scenarios helps ensure a successful Office 365 adoption strategy:

  • Understand and address business challenges. Identifying business scenarios bridges the gap between Office 365 capabilities and your team’s current roadblocks to find opportunities to improve work processes. 
  • Add context to training. It’s not just about learning a new technology. For a successful Office 365 adoption, users must see how it fits into their daily workload. Defining the top business scenarios helps teams put training into context and understand how Office 365 will help them work more productively.
  • Identify KPIs to measure success. Defining business scenarios provides clear metrics and goals to measure success, from increased employee satisfaction to reducing operational costs such as data storage.

Want more resources to ensure a smooth Office 365 implementation? View all change management courses from New Horizons.

Identify Your Key Stakeholders

A stakeholder is any individual or group in an organization that will be affected by the outcome of a project. Also known as champions, sponsors or power users, they’re key allies who can support you in the Office 365 adoption process.

When choosing key stakeholders, think about who will use Office 365. Who will be most affected by the change? Who can influence and drive change in others?

The key stakeholders should reflect a cross-section of your organization.

Executives, project managers, IT staff, human resources and sales will all use the Office 365 features in different ways. A diverse team of stakeholders ensures your Office 365 adoption strategy represents all groups, individuals and needs within a company.

When it comes to successful Office 365 adoptions, stakeholders:

Provide expertise. Stakeholders have a wealth of knowledge about current processes and procedures. They’re great allies for identifying current business scenarios and shedding light on how they can improve in the future.

Reduce risk. Involving stakeholders early in the process can help uncover potential risks and mitigate their effects.

Increase project success. The more engaged stakeholders are, the more they will champion and support your Office 365 adoption strategy.

Create an Office 365 Training Plan

An end-user training plan is the final, crucial step in an Office 365 adoption strategy.

Most businesses start with standard product training — teaching users how to operate and use Office 365.

The key to a successful, transformative adoption is scenario-based training. Scenario-based training teaches employees how to not only use Office 365 but also maximize productivity based on the organization’s business goals and scenarios.

Here’s a sample Office 365 training plan.

Business Scenario/Objective



What business scenario or objective are you trying to achieve?

What is the ideal training course or activity to accomplish the objective?

Who is participating? All employees? Executive team? Human resources? Key stakeholders?








This format does several things. First, it ties business objectives to training, ensuring each training activity has a purpose and goal.

Second, it helps you efficiently allocate training resources. Sales, human resources, marketing and executives have significantly different roles. It’s a waste of time and money to train all employees on every Office 365 feature.

Prioritizing training based on needs and job functions ensures resources aren’t wasted and accelerates Office 365 adoption time.

Enroll in Office 365 training courses today.

Build Your Office 365 Skills With New Horizons

Office 365 has the potential to speed up communication and collaboration and empower employees to work when and where they’d like — all at a reasonable price.

From end-user training to administering and managing Office 365, New Horizons has a range of training courses to support every role in an Office 365 migration and adoption strategy.

Ready to get started? Check our courses below:

Need additional leadership training? New Horizons has you covered there too. Register for a course today.


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