Microsoft 365 enables continual modernisation and innovation – but for many organisations, the pace and nature of change can be stifling. In this, the first of two blogs, we look at these challenges from the perspectives of IT leaders and managers, and explore how Content+Cloud’s M365 PACE service can help streamline your evergreen IT management.
Microsoft 365 is an evergreen service – which means change is constant. Information on changes comes through from the Microsoft 365 Roadmap and your tenant message centre – so you’ll know what’s coming next, the impact to your organisation and the value to your users and can understand, plan for and deliver these changes. Your users will be happier and more productive, and your IT department can focus on delivering continual value to your users.
Arriving at this model of constant evolution doesn’t, unfortunately, happen with a flick of a switch. In reality, the pace and volume of change is a challenge that many organisations are simply not resourced to handle.
Evergreen IT management with Microsoft 365 requires an understanding of your business strategy and the ability to make sense of the changes that will impact your operations. At Content+Cloud we’ve long provided a specialist service to help organisations navigate these difficulties – we call it M365 PACE (Proactive Adoption and Change Expertise.
Much more than an IT roadmap planning tool for Microsoft 365, M365 PACE gives you a dedicated Service Owner who becomes an extension of your own team. They’ll analyse the Roadmap and message centre content to provide personalised guidance on what action you need to take on the changes Microsoft is rolling out. The service also provides you with actionable insights from your Microsoft 365 usage analytics and productivity score that’ll help you drive adoption and improve usage of Microsoft 365 technology.
We’ve been speaking to some of our M365 PACE clients lately to find out more about why they chose the service. What struck us is that when many were moving to Microsoft 365, they didn’t know that such a service existed – but they’d realised quickly that they needed this kind of support.
In this blog, the first of two, we’ll share with you some of the common Microsoft 365 challenges faced by those with IT responsibilities, with a focus on those with more of a people and processes remit in the next.
What are IT leaders’ priorities for their Microsoft 365 evergreen service?
Clearly, no two organisations are the same – each has their own business priorities and requires different solutions to achieve them. But we weren’t surprised to hear from all of the clients we spoke to that technology is critical to what they do.
For some, an investment in Microsoft 365 evergreen services is part of their strategy of technical innovation. The right solutions can give them a competitive edge and allow new ways of working. IT teams are often at the heart of delivering their organisations’ objectives around new, improved services.
Equally, security considerations are paramount. As organisations have moved their data off premises or adopted hybrid working practices, there’s been more pressure than ever on IT teams to ensure company information is protected.
What challenges do tech teams face with evergreen IT management?
The biggest challenges we hear about at Content+Cloud are around adoption, and managing the level of change coming through the Microsoft 365 Roadmap and the client’s tenant message centre.
Ensuring smooth adoption and greater employee experiences
At some organisations, Microsoft 365 evergreen services such as Teams and SharePoint will have been rolled out at speed, for example during the pandemic – and they’ve struggled subsequently to get the full value of these solutions.
Changes such as these are as much to do with culture as they are tools – and in many workplaces, the rollout of new technologies can still fall on the IT team. As you move towards an evergreen, modernised model, where change is a constant, this expectation cannot be sustained.
At Content+Cloud, we’ve helped businesses plan for and deliver effective change and adoption activity. Our M365 PACE service gives tailored Microsoft 365 usage analytics and productivity score insights that give a real-time view of how your users are adopting and using technology, allowing you to take action where required.
Lack of an IT roadmap planning tool for Microsoft 365
The pace and volume of change in Microsoft 365 takes many organisations by surprise. An IT leader at one of our clients told us that to effectively understand the changes and how the business can use those changes detailed in the Microsoft 365 Roadmap and tenant message centre, they would need to appoint someone full-time just to do this.
Through M365 PACE, we’ve helped organisations get to grips with the influx of updates and actions. As I mentioned above, M365 PACE is more than just an IT roadmap planning tool for Microsoft 365.
We do, of course, give you the dashboard view you need of usage and adoption, and map out the changes you need to know about using Microsoft Planner. But what sets the service apart is the personal approach we take.
You’ll have a Service Owner appointed to your account who’ll get to know exactly what your objectives are. They’ll join your team meetings and help you report to your stakeholders. And if you have a sudden or complex question that they can’t answer right away, they’ll take it to our wider team of Microsoft 365 experts and come back to you quickly with the solution.
What successes do IT leaders experience with Microsoft 365 evergreen services?
The ideal end goal for any organisation with evergreen IT management is a truly modernised and managed infrastructure and technology ecosystem, where people are empowered to deliver to their fullest potential.
That’s the big picture, of course. But on the shop floor, we’ve seen tech leaders report a variety of specific benefits that have made life easier for them and their teams, thanks to making use of M365 PACE.
At a business function level, we hear how organisations are moving away from siloed, disconnected approaches to technology change. Departments beyond IT have access to the latest software across all their devices allowing IT to provide users with services they need (and services they didn’t know they needed). This approach enables IT to be more aligned to business objectives and come more of a business partner in achieving business objectives.
As changes and updates are deployed more seamlessly, new ways of working are embedded with less disruption – and users are becoming more digitally savvy. One IT head told us that prior to successful adoption of Microsoft 365, their staff would often be called whenever a user needed to set up a presentation in a meeting room. Now, users are comfortable delivering presentations from their own machine whether at home, in the office or on the move. Fewer tickets to IT? That sounds like a win-win situation.
For another, the structured and systematic process that M365 PACE brings to their planning is invaluable. Utilising their dedicated Service Owner they have a structure now, with an expert on hand, that helps them understand the changes which apply to them and when they need to take an action, such as planning communications or training options for users.
How M365 PACE can help you
If you’re responsible for making or influencing the IT decisions in your organisations, the chances are one or more of the scenarios above will feel familiar. If you’d like to know more about how M365 PACE can help you maximise the value of Microsoft 365’s evergreen services for your organisation, we’d love to hear from you.
If you’re not part of the IT team at your organisation but have a stake in how technology serves your people and processes, come back for our next blog where we’ll turn the spotlight on the challenges faced by people in similar roles to you.
Meet the Expert: Making sense of, and keeping pace with, change in Microsoft 365
If you’d like to hear more from our Integrated Services Director David Francis on how M365 PACE can help you get full value from the evergreen Microsoft 365 environment, sign up for our Meet the Experts on-demand webinar: ‘Making sense of, and keeping pace with, change in Microsoft 365’.