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Author: Jonathan Stuckey

Avoiding the adoption disasters with Microsoft 365

(or any Software-as-a-service offering)

collapsed house - analogy for failed adoption of Microsoft 365
Your (M365) house could look like this - if you are not careful

At Spoke we spend our entire working lives enabling customers to take on and adopt Office and Microsoft 365 platform. Over the (many) years we come to see that there are a few basic principles which apply to these, and almost all other cloud software-as-a-service offerings.

The following are a summary of core-principles we apply when designing solutions on Office 365, so that organisations can adopt them more readily, with a minimum of re-factoring and user-impact:

Use the services and functionality as designed

Sounds ridiculous right? Its surprising how often we need to help people with this after they've paid for the services.

Remember you bought it "as-a-service" - that means its not a kit-bag or DIY project.

  • Do not over-ride core functionality, and

  • building widgets is a last resort with SaaS offerings

Consistency of user experience

User experience carries equal weight to information security - if something is too-hard, people will work-around you and you'll end-up back where you started with shadow-IT.

  • these services are design to be available anywhere, from any device. Explore what they do/not do

  • customizing the user-experience and code-development should be kept to a minimum

Let the project establish the capability for the organisation

Don’t look to deliver 1-shot 'Training' during the hand-over. It never works well...

  • identify key future roles and skills upfront

  • create improvement mechanisms (multi-layered)

  • establish baseline education programme

The mantra should be:

  1. educate users as a first-principle

  2. monitor the behaviors and reinforce with communication

  3. restrict access and features as a last resort

Business users are accountable for their actions

  • the project is responsible for educating users, not policing them.

  • functional evaluation and adoption has to be part of business-as-usual behaviors for your users

Start small, and extend

  • create a baseline

  • try, and hen apply these principles with new functionality

  • build a process for scoping, trialing, and extending functionality

Establish a rolling-roadmap

Think: Bend, buy, build - not build, build, build

  • understand what is usable right-now vs. in the future (evergreen releases)

  • capture needs and requirements, and see if map to out-of-the-box capability in other services

  • the built-in app-store will often have something that matches

  • find the right vendor or teams which actually understand the platform *and* your environment

What about Office 365 services specifically?

Not everything will work on Office 365

Office 365 is good, but it’s not Magic. Somethings just do not belong here.

  • prove what you need to do before you move anything

  • start small, with rapid incremental steps

  • build-up a process for harvesting practices and solutions

Admit if something just doesn’t fit and identify where it should go

OneDrive and SharePoint Online are not the same as a shared-drive

  • just moving things is not acceptable and often will not work as simply as a file-share

  • clean-out of unnecessary content before you move to new environment

  • communicate to the business - ultimately they are responsible for their content

Content is King.

Search is not magic – it needs feeding and watering.

Sorry, but all that boring old leg-work people used do to understand what they've got, who needs to use it, how and when.. is still critical.

If you want to find things easily, you will need

  • to do a spring clean of content before migrating

  • apply content standards and naming convention(s)

  • get into the habit of tagging (metadata)

Want to deploy and adopt Microsoft 365 services successfully?

Its not rocket-science. Its people-science... using principles and some rigorous practices.

Lego man in rocket
people + rockets = adventure

Microsoft has done a great-job commoditizing the technical setup and deployment of a lot of inter-

connected services. If you want the best from them, you need to do a great-job of enabling your people.

Want to know what we know? Give us a call

If you want to talk about adoption of Office and Microsoft 365, drop us a line:

About the author: Jonathan Stuckey

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