The Adoption and Change Management problem

While driving adoption of Office 365 platform the conundrum of Change Management problem crops up quite often. Understand this common mistake so that you don’t repeat it. I am a certified change management consultant (Prosci – ADKAR). Therefore, by no means am I demeaning or belittling change management methods and concepts.

Adoption and Change Management poster

The problem with adoption and change management

Those who are managing the adoption and change management for Office 365, do not have in-depth knowledge of the Office 365 platform. Therefore, their deep knowledge of change management methodology does not yield the desired and sustained results.

Don’t get offended if you are ACM professional. I have spent 30 years of my life convincing 300,000+ people that they don’t know how to use Office!

Once they are convinced, their efficiency increases. Read other articles in this blog to understand what I am talking about. If you don’t agree with me, post a comment. I will convince you as well.

Adoption and change management: Quick Intro

Many change management methods are popular. Nudge theory, ADKAR, McKinsey and so on. Whichever methodology you choose, the common factor is that it is a methodology – a way – of achieving some change.

Unless the change is fully automated, humans are involved somewhere in the process. And humans don’t change easily. That is why, what you are changing must be compelling enough to overcome the inertia to change.

Each methodology provides ways of making that change as compelling, palatable, and sustained. The jargon will differ, but the concepts are similar.

The problem comes when you get lost in the change management process itself while the item to be changed itself takes a backseat! In this case the change at hand is maximize efficiency using Office 365 platform.

Example: Adoption and Change Management (ACM) disaster

A customer, somewhere in Asia, spent a lot of time, effort, and money on conducting a thorough ACM initiative for moving from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange (Office 365). I was not a part of this project.

I happened to conduct a session for the ACM team 2 days prior to Exchange and Outlook launch. They showed me all the types of promotions, internal marketing, gamification and so on that was being planned. All great.

In two days, 3000 users were going to see Outlook for the first time – after being with Lotus Notes for 9 years.

I asked them to show me the Lotus Notes to Outlook functional parity guide, cheat sheet, poster, mailer or whatever else you want to call it.

Nobody had even thought of it. After spending 100,000+ USD and 3 months of a 15 member team, the most basic requirement was not addressed.

Needless to say – their project did not go well.

Solution: ACM team must know Office 365 well

Unfortunately, everyone thinks they know Office. The ACM team is no exception. Therefore, the first step of adoption and change management is to understand that they are inefficient. And unless they become efficient, they cannot successfully bring about the change – no matter which methodology you use.

This is easier said than done. It requires lot of time and effort. But it is worth it. Why? Because, if nothing else, the ACM Team itself will become super-efficient!

Imbibe Office 365 before starting Adoption and Change Management initiatives. How exactly? Here are the steps…

  1. The ACM team must be cross functional and must include IT, HR and Finance representation
  2. At least 3 hours per week of dedicated effort is required for a period of 3 months to make yourself efficient
  3. This cannot happen unless the managers / bosses of the ACM team allow them to spend this time. Read this article to learn more.
  4. That is why the bosses need to be convinced that they are inefficient and they are paying salary to inefficient people
  5. Divide the work of learning across the ACM team – by product
  6. No product is big or small
  7. Learn all features of each of the products methodically
  8. Do a bi-weekly cross-pollination exercise where each member presents for 10 minutes or so and then time is kept for discussing integration and business mapping opportunities
  9. Document each feature, its benefit and the potential beneficiaries (personas is a popular jargon nowadays)
  10. Once you have covered at least 30% of product features, start the actual ACM activity
  11. Continue the learning and business mapping process
  12. Gamify it if required
  13. Remember, ACM for Office 365 is not a short-term initiative which begins and ends. It does begin but never ends!
  14. Create material which maps to business needs / problems and then show the related solutions (features / tools)
  15. DO NOT just show features and tools. That is boring and useless.
  16. Quantify the benefits. Let users learn, apply to their context and present the benefits. These micro / nano case studies are vital to the long-term success of Office 365 adoption.

Sounds too complex? I can help you

I have been doing this for decades. Not many customers understood its importance. Even today many customers just buy the products and waste money. It is not worth buying a product unless you have the willingness and capability to utilize it fully.

I can help you accelerate this journey. As you know, I am a one-man-show. Therefore, I will help you identify the ACM team, champions, early adopters and then nurture them to come up to speed faster. That way you get amazing ROI from your Office 365 investments and it is a growth driver for your business as well. Drop me a mail at nitin@maxoffice.co

Avoid common mistakes or worst practices

This article is the 14th one in my series on Office 365 Worst Practices. Read the other articles before you start. This will eliminate enormous amount of time and effort wastage.

Your comments and queries are welcome

I am sure many of you feel strongly about this subject. Many of you may already have faced a disastrous adoption initiative or are in the process of executing one. Do share your thoughts, queries, and concerns. I will try my best to help you.

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