SoftwareOne case study

City of Lincoln Council boosts employee adoption of Microsoft 365

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Successfully adopting M365 transformed the Council’s culture of working resulting in increased productivity, efficient collaboration & remote working

The City of Lincoln Council provides important services to 97,541 local residents, from housing and benefits to bin collections and parking services. The Council wanted to digitally transform to create a workplace fit for the future, making it possible for employees to work from anywhere while providing better services to residents. It invested in Microsoft 365 to enable this.

But the council astutely recognized that transformation doesn’t happen with new technology alone. For real change and maximum return on investment to be achieved, the human side of transformation had to take place too. Driving adoption of the technology would improve staff productivity and collaboration, and align with the guiding principles of the Local Government Digital Declaration.

The council chose SoftwareOne’s Adoption & Change Management Advisory service. This helped to build user confidence through extensive training, ensured employees understood how to use the new tools in the best way for them and were empowered to create new workflows and processes. Internal Microsoft 365 ambassadors were created, helping teams to stick to ACM best practice and continue using the new processes to solve problems.

City of Lincoln Council logo
City of Lincoln Council
Public sector
SoftwareOne Adoption and Change Management Advisory service
United Kingdom
SoftwareOne helped guide and advise us on the best starting steps to adoption. Having them train and talk to our users really helped people to understand the benefits of change – it was the best thing to come from working with them. There have been numerous comments from employees that they don’t know how they’d have managed during the pandemic without the transformation.

Fraser Trickett
Organizational Change Lead, City of Lincoln Council

About the client

City of Lincoln Council provides a broad range of services to Lincoln’s 97,541 residents. It works in partnership with local communities and organizations to develop a vision for the local area, working collaboratively to improve services and quality of life for citizens. It employs 650 workers and several contractors and is supported by a seven-person IT and one-person change management team.

The challenge

Previously, at City of Lincoln Council, everything was on-premise, so all employees had to be in City Hall to access information. The council recognized that it needed to modernize the way it operated to provide a better working experience and improved services to citizens, but that simply rolling out new technology wouldn’t solve the issue or change how employees worked.

One other challenge was that many of the council staff members had been working there for decades, and were used to using tried-and-tested manual processes and paper-based files. Therefore, a shift in culture was also required to truly transform the way its employees approach work.

It was important to bring these staff members on board from the beginning, as the council recognized that its digital transformation required human change along with technology change. This involved showing them the efficiency and productivity benefits Microsoft 365 could offer, to improve adoption.

The solution

Following a recommendation from a neighboring local authority, City of Lincoln Council selected SoftwareOne as its partner to support its change management project. SoftwareOne is one of the first global partners to be certified with a Microsoft Adoption and Change Management Advanced Specialization, so has extensive expertise in delivering tailored change management programs with real outcomes.

City of Lincoln Council understood the important role the workforce plays in the digital transformation journey, so the ACM course was specifically designed using relevant use-cases to help employees, who were used to manual and paper-based processes, to transition to a new way of working.

The ACM service takes a pragmatic approach to driving adoption, rolling out new tools and processes, and executing a fundamental culture shift. To begin the project, SoftwareOne conducted interviews with council leaders to understand what challenges they faced, define goals for the transformation, and determine the impact this would have on the council’s workload and workforce. A clear roadmap was then set out based on adoption methodology and recommendations from the internationally recognized PROSCI approach to change management.

One software logo with a city in the background.

The result

  • Immediate senior leadership buy-in: The council’s Corporate Management team and support staff were chosen to pilot Microsoft 365, including Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Exchange, and Microsoft SharePoint. SoftwareOne spent half a day training the 45 strong pilot group on the new functionality and outlining the project’s key principles. This created immediate leadership buy-in, who could then bring the rest of the council on board.
  • Creation of internal champions: An Internal Champions program has been launched on the council’s Intranet, which is now hosted on Microsoft SharePoint. This takes testimony from employees within the organization on their experience using Microsoft 365 and its benefits. The advantage of using Microsoft SharePoint is that every member of staff within the local authority can get to it from any device, whereas before not all staff had easy access. This helps encourage adoption throughout the entire workforce.
  • Maximize adoption of Microsoft 365: Dedicated training sessions, designed by SoftwareOne, used the council’s existing processes and workflows as examples to demonstrate the productivity benefits of features available in Microsoft 365. This helped staff go beyond email and become expert users. Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are now used heavily; in one 90-day period following launch, the council had 536 active users and 435 active channels on Microsoft Teams, 564 posts and 3,049 channel messages sent, and 2,965 meetings arranged via Microsoft 365.
  • Improved UX and culture of collaboration: SoftwareOne showed users the benefits of Microsoft 365, demoed how the new user experience could boost productivity, and helped create a new culture of collaboration. Staff were trained in video conferencing and how to use Microsoft Teams, with most teams within the council now using the technologies to enable flexible and remote working. Some employees were unfamiliar with communication features that weren’t email, so it was important to demonstrate how they can improve work-life balance, and create new working behaviors and rituals.
  • COVID-19 response: Having the ability to work remotely minimized the disruption caused by COVID-19. The council could continue supporting service users during the pandemic and staff were able to work from home during periods of lockdown. In addition, the council was able to respond to national projects - like the roll out of business grants - entirely remotely, something that would not have been possible at the same speed or efficiency without Microsoft 365.
  • Training the trainer: During the training process, SoftwareOne helped teach council employees how to become Microsoft 365 ambassadors and instructors. This means the council is now able to stick to ACM best practice and continue using the new processes to solve problems, even after the initial training is over.
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