IT teams and end-users tend to view new technology from very different perspectives. The IT team will be concerned with the mechanics of a rollout, with understanding user profiles and making sure a switchover happens smoothly, while the end users will just be trying to get their heads around the way the new technology does things and how best to use it in their daily work. This difference in focus needs to be a key consideration in Office 365 migration planning. End-user training shouldn’t be seen as an add-on to the rollout, it should be considered an essential element.

An Office 365 rollout brings with it many benefits and enhancements that make life easier for the IT team and end-users alike. Getting a company ready to embrace these changes though requires serious planning, it being far better to plan in advance of a rollout than to be forced to address problems after the event.

If you are moving to using cloud-based services such as OneDrive, some users may need an introduction to the concept of the service as well as training on the service itself.

This training isn’t just for the benefit of the end users, it will greatly reduce the levels of support calls during and post-rollout.

Developing a company-wide rollout plan should be done with the inclusion of end-user representatives. Without understanding their concerns, training needs, and ultimately their buy-in, you run the risk of low end-user adoption.

It is important to communicate coming changes by giving information on the timeline and reasons for the migration. Sell the benefits to the end users. Company leaders demonstrating early adoption of new services, and identifying people on the shop floor who can become champions of change within teams, can dramatically boost end-user adoption. Providing champions with up-front training will ensure they become local expert users. They can subsequently assist their teams in using the training resource, which will reap dividends.

Microsoft believes that if you can get 10% end-user adoption quickly, the rest will follow. So it is important to get the champions of change, both on the shop floor and in management, using the service quickly.

While training is available for all elements of the Microsoft Office 365 suite, Windows 10 and Skype for Business, it is not reasonable to expect someone to sit through more than 500 training sessions. The focus should be on the elements that are going to bring the biggest benefits, such as Skype for Business, and on the areas that may need attention to remove end-user adoption friction.

The simplest of things can cause friction in end-user adoption. If a user is instructed to use OneDrive rather than an existing shared drive, it is essential that they understand not only why and what the product is, but also how to use it. They may have had a shortcut set up on their local machine to save things to the company drive. They may just save things via this shortcut, they may not even know the destination drive name, so instructing a user to save to OneDrive rather than the H drive, for example, may mean nothing to them. However, if you have identified local champions of change on the shop floor, they should identify these potential snagging points and also provide local help to their colleagues’ post-rollout.

If champions of change can demonstrate benefits to other end-users, then company-wide adoption will be far quicker. Defining a time for old systems to be mothballed will remove the risk of users continuing to use the systems as they always have. It should be made easier to adopt new products and services than to continue working on old platforms or to adopt shadow IT.

Ensuring that your whole team has the knowledge and skills to embrace new services and bring forecasted efficiencies can only be achieved through effective training.


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