Steps to successful adoption of Office 365

When deploying a new technology, most companies too often focus their energies on the technical aspect of implementation. Obviously, having the technology is a prerequisite for adoption. You will therefore have to migrate to Office 365 first.
However, change management is just as important when deploying Office 365. The Cloud offers new opportunities and, in some cases, very different ways of working for your employees, to which they must get used. All employees will need to be trained on how to use these new tools. Employees, known as “early adopters”, will quickly benefit from the advantages of Office 365 applications, and will find the Microsoft Teams user interface interesting and intuitive.
However, for many, Office 365 tools will remain a mystery in their use and application. So you need a strategy that encourages everyone to use Office 365 and integrate it into their daily lives. Thanks to our experience in change management, we have been supporting companies for more than 10 years in their adoption of Office 365 applications. Recently, some of our employees have been certified by the PROSCI method (if you missed the article, it’s here). In this article, we will summarize what the PROSCI method is and the steps to successfully adopt it in Office 365.

The PROSCI method

PROSCI’s unique objective is to help organizations develop their internal capacity to manage the human side of change and, consequently, to carry out their change initiatives. They accomplish their mission by empowering you to apply research and results-based approaches to your change projects. The method is therefore composed of 3 phases deploying precise action plans, revealed by the ADKAR tool, an acronym emblematic of the PROSCI method, meaning Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.

Preparing for change

The first step in adopting Office 365 is to define the need for change. The goal is to get a true picture of the current state of the organization and how the deployment of Office 365 will impact it. You will need to define the uses of each tool implemented within the company.

Study current uses

Studying current uses will provide an idea of how people use their tools today (or, for that matter, how they do not use them). For example, do most of your engineers on site currently communicate via WhatsApp? Do some teams use online storage via DropBox? This will then help you to map the uses of the Office 365 tools you want to implement and then more easily convince employees of their benefits.  For example, knowing that engineers are currently communicating via WhatsApp, you may be able to “sell” to them the idea of using Microsoft Teams to exchange instant messages. They will find the chat, but also the storage and collaboration on their documents. You can easily show them that Microsoft Teams allows them to use only one tool with the same features and uses as they had with WhatApps and DropBox. Without proceeding to a need definition phase, you could not compare the old and new uses of collaborators, leading you to easily obtain a discourse highlighting this technological change.

In practice, how to do this?

– Invite key ambassadors to come to the room to discuss the use of technology
– Conduct research with end users, including interviews
– Create two or three people to identify how your employees use the technology, so that you can then describe the areas for improvement and define a change strategy that includes the benefits of communicating the change to your users.

Managing change

The preparation phase for the changeover to Office 365 is essential. It is about helping users get used to the idea of working with new tools. This step can make all the difference between a high level of adoption and a total rejection of the new tools. This step is very important, it means that you will have to prepare your users for the change. Change is not easy for everyone. You will have to communicate intensely by reminding employees of the benefits and how the change will take place. Above all, it is important not to communicate only once. It is important to speed up communications as the weeks approach the switchover.
This involves engaging ambassadors in the process and obtaining their support. It is also about coaching them so that they are prepared to embrace the upcoming change.

Preparing for change: how to do it?

– Prepare marketing and communication elements aligned with the objectives of your communication plan to arouse the company’s curiosity. These may include poster campaigns, newsletters, management communications, etc.
– Choose change champions in each department. Technology-oriented people who can pass on the desire to use the tools to their colleagues
– Proximity managers are much more important when it comes to change. Involve them in order to win the support of each team.
– Set a date for the deployment of the new tools and notify employees.
– Organize a tool launch day including several actions such as demonstrations and training

Strengthening change

Even after a successful start to deployment, there is always a risk that adoption will fall back once the “novelty effect” is over. This is where the reinforcement of change comes in. Reinforcement should include a regular review and analysis of the use of Office 365. Do users use all the tools provided? Has use started to decrease? If there are gaps in the use, you need to find out what causes them. Are users returning to their old work habits? Are employees resistant to using the tools?
Microsoft regularly adds new features to Office 365, so don’t hesitate to communicate on it and coach users regularly.

Reinforcing change: how to do it?

– Analyze the use of the new tools implemented
– Monitor Office 365 updates to anticipate upcoming changes and prepare to inform and train users on new features
– Maintain training for several months after deployment (training platform, workshops, sessions, etc.)
– Provide support through ambassadors or proximity managers in case they meet users who are resistant to use
– Include Office 365 training in the integration processes when new employees join the company

If you missed our article on Office 365 adoption: dream vs reality, click here.

Do you have a question? Contact us for more information