« Everything would be fine if it wasn’t for end users »

The focus of too many projects is in the wrong place. Excel spreadsheets cannot predict the success of an Office 365 rollout. The success of a project is down to the people involved and crucially to the end users.

When the decision to move to Office 365 is made the end user benefits are usually right up front and centre of the justification. Yes, all the usual advantages of offloading nuts and bolts workloads and management tasks to a provider rather than doing it in-house make an attractive argument for the IT team, but this is unlikely to be enough to justify the potential company-wide disruption that comes with any large-scale technology refresh. To do that takes building a case that shows the efficiencies that a company will achieve through the use of new services. It is the users of that new service that are critical both to the initial justification, but also to the overall success of the project.

But people don’t like change. In every department there are people who resist change. Because they are too busy to engage with it fully, are afraid that they will never understand it, or feel that it may be yet another change for change’s sake and that there is little point. Take the account manager who likes to get out of the office to go see clients, for example. They will be the last to want to adopt Skype for Business as they will perceive it as negatively impacting on their work style.

Assuming the end user will adopt new technology just because it has great new features, will only end in low adoption rates. People need to know why these features are useful in their day to day role. They need to understand what they are, and they need to understand how to use them. Planning to leave users to figure this out on their own, is planning to fail.

Before the rollout has started end users should be given visibility of what is to come, they should be excited, want to see more, and be eager to try out the services.

Giving end users access to training, whether on demand or scheduled with a live online trainer before during and after a rollout of Office 365 will take even the most resistant user and make them a champion of change.