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Adopt 365: How to plan to drive your Microsoft 365 adoption

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team
A group of people working on laptops in an office.

Whether you are new to Microsoft 365 (M365) or you want to deploy new features, adopting new technology requires change. Leveraging the multiple integrated technologies inside the Microsoft 365 suite of products goes way beyond simply learning how to use a new app. What it comes down to is that you are asking your employees to adopt a new way of working. But are you really prepared to get started properly? We’ll get you there – with our 3-parts series on how to “Adopt 365”. Let’s kick this off with our first part today – “Envision.”

Preparing the road ahead for them means you must plan a tailored adoption strategy that’s grounded in business needs. Completing an adoption of this caliber is not an easy task, especially since many employees are working remotely around the globe. Thankfully, Microsoft provides an easy-to-follow Adoption Framework to get you through the process, and we here at SoftwareOne are always ready to support your strategy. Let’s take an in-depth look at how organizations can get to planning to drive their M365 adoption.

Taking the right approach

Your approach to adoption can make or break your results. To truly drive adoption of Microsoft 365, the change message needs to come from above, and not just from IT. Then, it needs to be distributed through your entire organization.

Getting everyone on board is not an easy undertaking. After all, launching a new technology like Microsoft 365 is more than a technical migration. In fact, the single most important factor in successful change management is senior leadership support. We’ve even found that 71 percent of organizations where the CEO was visible throughout the change reported that it was extremely successful.

Secondly, technical readiness and user readiness must go hand in hand. Change leaders need to plan, pilot, and deploy both activities together. Promoting user readiness is fundamentally about listening to your users and giving them the opportunity to buy into the change - so make sure these channels of communication are readily available for your remote employees.

Taking the right steps

In order to begin to drive your M365 adoption, there are four steps your organization needs to take. Let’s break down what they are so you know how to create the most impact in your change project:

  1. Define a vision. When you begin this process, try to envision what it will look like from start to finish. Get a feel for what and who you will need so you can begin to assemble the right team.
  2. Get leadership support. Having a leader on board is really so everyone at the organization will see that this is more than just another IT upgrade. When your top leaders are backing this adoption, people will take note.
  3. Develop a Change Coalition. A change coalition is a group of leaders who are helping the organization by delivering messaging and activities to ensure that the new way of working is taking shape in their respective departments. Your change coalition can be coached by a certified Change Manager or a Leader who is setting the tone for activities and messages that will be delivered.
  4. Train end-users. Humans are like water: we always find the path of least resistance, which often means resorting back to email because it’s easy. Help them become more productive and understand the different ways of learning by implementing some of the audio and visual services offered in applications like Microsoft Teams.
  5. Raise awareness. If people can see how Microsoft 365 contributes to your wins and successes, the initiative will be more successful. Distribute free resources, flyers, and templates to communicate how Microsoft 365 helped accomplish your goals.

Breaking down the process

Luckily, Microsoft has an Adoption Framework, which is an easy-to-follow process for adoption, following the four steps outlined above. The framework is broken down into simple steps that consist of three phases:

  1. Envision
  2. Onboard
  3. Drive Value

The first phase of the journey is envisioning your adoption plan. This consists of assembling your team over virtual channels such as Microsoft Teams, defining your strategy, and then determining their readiness. The adoption framework suggests assembling a diverse team consisting of:

  1. Executive sponsors. These can be influential leaders who drive excitement and serve as role models that actively promote the adoption process.
  2. Success owners. These team members can be anyone but they typically hail from IT or HR. They play a role in collaboration strategy and are influential leaders who really understand collaboration. They should offer ideas on how people can better collaborate and they should be tech savvy.
  3. Early adopters. These team members will become your advocates later on when you have a wider launch. Select employees in your organization who are willing to adopt and ready to test drive M365.
  4. Champions. Here, you have the pillars of change management. They build awareness and provide feedback. Your champions will support this entire process, both providing you and end users with helpful insights.
  5. Expect Resistance. Planning for resistance will provide your change coalition with specific action steps for understanding and addressing resistance. These could be bother positive and negative steps that can be taking for managing resistance. These plans should be tailored to your organization based on its culture and propensity for change.

Moving towards the next phase

Once you have assembled your team, you should have every aspect of your Microsoft 365 adoption plan in place and ready to launch. Now, you will move into the second phase of the process: training your champions.

While devising a plan for your M365 adoption may feel tedious, it is how your organization can truly experience change. A rock-solid process will help guide you through the next two parts of the adoption strategy, and carry you into the future. With a team in place and leadership support, you should be ready to get early adopters involved and launch your pre-adoption plan.


SoftwareOne blog editorial team

Blog Editorial Team

We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.