It’s no surprise that CIOs who are committed to spearheading their organisation’s digital transformation strategy are implementing Microsoft’s Office 365. Cloud-based working on Office 365 supports organisations to become more scalable and agile, providing flexibility for staff while reducing IT support burden. There really isn’t a competitive offering that comes close to providing the same breadth and depth of services, however many of the associated challenges and solutions discussed below can apply to any comprehensive business system supporting digital transformation.
Microsoft Office 365 is a dynamic and complex beast. Just staying on top of updates can be a full-time job, let alone training users on them. It can be overwhelming for users and even for IT professionals to know what to use when. Even if you are familiar with the options and decide to use, say, Yammer, to communicate within your team, unless the rest of the organisation gets on board the impact can be limited.
As a consultant I speak with many CIOs and CTOs who do not feel confident to release all Office 365 features. Some organisations are not doing much more than migrating email accounts to Exchange, even if they have an E3 or E5 Office 365 license.
Office 365 is a world-class platform with frequent enhancements. Microsoft invest billions in security and functionality. It is the perfect solution for remote working – why not take advantage of the services you already pay for? By not embracing the many excellent tools that Office 365 has to offer, your organisation is failing to realise the benefits that can have a significant impact on productivity and competitiveness. Critically, if you do not provide people with the tools they require, they will find their own with all the associated risks of shadow IT.
“Sure Office 365 is great,” you might say, “but I don’t have time to work out what everything does and how people can use every tool.” Your teams are probably also too busy to think about this, which is why everyone is living in their inboxes and emailing around status update spreadsheets.
A popular approach is to look at the apps and tools available in Office 365 and then try to figure out what to do with them. What might be more effective – and less time consuming – would be to look at the organisation’s business needs first, then use them to identify the right Office 365 tools.
Think about your team and the departments you work with. Do they look at their To Do list and think “I’d like to try Planner” or “Teams might work for this project”? I think not, they are very busy and just want to get stuff done. They don’t have time to figure out the technology landscape and that’s where IT should be able to provide solutions and take them on a use case journey.
There’s a great free resource to help with this called the Office 365 Galaxy. It’s a fun way to explore the applications available in Office 365 – what they are, what they do, tips & tricks – but it also allows you to start with what you are trying to get done. Select from eight use cases like “Solve problems and innovate” or “Get more done faster” to locate the right tools for more information.
Why not allocate a business use case each to a few productivity champions and task them with identifying the right Office 365 apps for their nominated process or requirement? You don’t have to release everything at once, this would probably be counter-productive and result in confusion followed by a flight to traditional tech. Just introducing Teams for the right purpose could have a profound impact on the way your organisation works.
Microsoft Office 365 is the business ecosystem of choice for the world’s most successful companies. Don’t miss out on the productivity and communication gains it offers, start creating your plan to harness the benefits today.
About the Author
Managing Director, WebVine. With more than 20 years’ experience in the tech industry across three continents, Marcus Dervin is passionate about improving the way organisations work. Marcus is a recognised thought leader in the Digital Transformation space, contributing regular articles to the technology and business press.0