If you rolled out Microsoft 365 quickly at your organisation, you may have encountered the challenges of IT management in the evergreen M365 world. In this blog, our Integrated Services Director David Francis gives his three tips for anybody looking to maximise the value of their technology investment.
In my role at Content+Cloud, I get to talk to clients a lot about their ambitions and the barriers to achieving them. Nearly every person, whether they’re based in IT or a business function, knows how important Microsoft 365 solutions are to enabling their people to do what they do best in today’s workplace.
But they’re not always able to achieve this. The reasons, as you can imagine, vary a lot – we work with organisations of all types and sizes, in different sectors.
Sometimes it can be about adoption – users aren’t comfortable with the tools, or different departments are using different solutions. I often see a disconnect between what business functions require and what IT delivers.
Other times, it’s purely about the change from the static, on-premises IT of the past to the fast-paced, flexible new reality of the cloud – many organisations weren’t prepared for the volume and speed of change in Microsoft 365.
So how can you get on top of the challenges and start getting the value from Microsoft 365 you envisaged? Here are three considerations that will improve your Microsoft 365 adoption and governance and drive your digital transformation.
1. Define what ‘value’ means for you
Many organisations investing in Microsoft 365 are embarking on what we often call the ‘digital transformation’ journey – a term that encompasses how they are improving experiences, processes and products through technology. The endpoint of the journey, however, is abstract – only you know exactly what transformation looks like for your business.
If you’re finding that your technology investment is proving to be less ‘transformative’ than you’d hoped, it’s probably time to take a step back and ask: what exactly is it that what you want to achieve?
Establishing what value means for your organisation is the first step in designing any service or operating model – and for optimising how they work. What is your organisation’s vision and strategy? What is the role of the IT strategy in achieving your organisation’s goals? Digital transformation depends on the alignment of business and IT objectives.
And it’s not just about what ‘value’ means to your organisation. It’s also about what matters to your users.
At Content+Cloud we always say that successful digital transformation is 20% technology, 80% people. It’s not enough to buy solutions off the shelf and roll out with a link to a training video. You need to understand what your users do, how do they do it, what they like and what they find frustrating.
Undertake user research and get the qualitative picture to complement what the usage data is telling you. Once you understand what your users find valuable, you’ll be able to reassess whether the tools and configurations you’ve chosen in Microsoft 365 meet those needs.
2. Stay focused on your goals
One of the most common difficulties I hear when it comes to Microsoft 365 adoption and governance is the sheer number of changes and updates to contend with. The volume of updates on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, coupled with the stream of updates in your tenant message centre, can feel overwhelming.
The key to staying on top of this is understanding – and focusing on – the requirements of your business. Not every single change coming down the line will affect every organisation the same. Knowing what matters most to you will help you cut through the noise, see what changes are relevant, and prioritise what actions are needed.
Keeping up with necessary changes is one aspect of this – another is harnessing the potential for innovation that the evergreen M365 ecosystem provides. Putting the processes in place for identifying valuable opportunities will help you plan business change activities and secure a competitive edge.
3. Listen to the data
Successful technology adoption is about planning, but also about your capacity to detect and adapt to problems that may emerge after rollout. You may know, for example, that a new app hasn’t had the take-up that was expected – but do you know why?
Is resistance happening across the organisation, or just in one location? Is there a particular point in a process where users abandon a tool? Are users turning to old or alternative solutions?
In the modern workplace, your people rely on technologies for information and knowledge management, meetings and communication, and collaboration on content. It’s more vital than ever to be able to see, understand and act upon any factor having an adverse impact on user experience.
Having a clear picture of who your users are and how they work is the starting point for designing the solutions they need, but a comprehensive suite of usage analytics will give you the insights you need into any live and evolving issues.
Think about the KPIs that matter, such as the health of your apps or the productivity of your users. Build a holistic picture that gives you the best possible visibility of problems and trends.
Enlisting the help of a Microsoft 365 services partner
Of course, this is a lot to consider – and getting to a place where good Microsoft 365 governance is an embedded way of working is not a short journey. A small business may struggle to find the resource to manage this in-house. For a large enterprise, the problem can often be even more significant, given the complexity and scale of operations.
This is where the help of an experienced Microsoft 365 services provider can be of benefit. At Content+Cloud we offer a specialist Microsoft 365 managed service designed precisely for this purpose. Called M365 PACE (Proactive Adoption and Change Expertise), the service gives you personalised, actionable insights and guidance to help you stay ahead of change in Microsoft 365.
With the help of a dedicated M365 specialist who’ll meet you and report regularly, you’ll soon be able to focus on what’s most valuable for your organisation, improve user experiences and drive towards digital maturity.
If you’d like to find our more, get in touch – we’d be delighted to learn more about your challenges and ambitions.