Work Transformation: How to conduct a pilot

This article is a companion to the Modern Workplace videos created for Microsoft by Dr. Nitin Paranjape. Please watch the videos before following this article.

Thank you for watching the video. I am sure you are eager to transform your work by using the ideas demonstrated in the video. Here is a short guide which will help you conduct a successful pilot quickly.


  1. Subscribe to Office 365
  2. Identify departments and users who will participate in the pilot
  3. Activate licenses for these users
  4. Install relevant software on the desktop and mobile phones
  5. Choose the desired scenario and conduct the pilot
  6. Document the results, time saving and business benefits
  7. Present the findings to Senior Management
  8. Consider using Office 365 effectively and transform your business

Office 365 Subscription

  1. If you do not have an Office 365 subscription, you should create a trial subscription
  2. Typically it is a 30 day trial
  3. You can create a trial subscription by visiting this link
  4. Make sure you use the relevant country
  5. While activating the trial, you are required to choose a domain name
  6. Make sure that you choose a random domain name.
    DO NOT choose the domain name which matches your product or company.
    Why so, because after the trial, even if you do not purchase full subscription, that domain name cannot be reused later. Keep the pilot as a test. Not a production scenario.
  7. The actual domain name should be used only if you are purchasing the subscription
  8. This page is for activating the trial for E5 license. Do not worry about the pricing.
  9. This is a pilot. We are evaluating how the product helps our business.
    Therefore, it is important to evaluate all available components.
  10. This will give you maximum efficiency gains and ROI
  11. At the time of purchasing the subscription, you can choose or remove products as required

Identify Users

  1. It is very important to ensure that the pilot is not conducted only with IT users.
  2. As shown in the videos, we must include business users from relevant departments.
  3. Make sure that these users have watched the relevant video(s)
  4. This way, there will be clarity of purpose and it will set the right expectations
  5. At least 5 business users and one IT person should be a part of the pilot

Assign licenses

  1. Assign Office 365 E5 licenses to all pilot users
  2. Also assign Power BI Pro license
  3. All products are available by default to all users
  4. Keep it that way, at least during the pilot

Install Software

  1. On the desktop, install Office 365 Pro Plus from the Office portal
  2. DO NOT  worry about existing installation of any older versions of Office
  3. The new Office Pro Plus works along with older versions (except Outlook)
  4. Users can continue to use the older version along with Office Pro Plus
  5. This makes trying out the new Office extremely easy
  6. No compatibility testing is required for things like macros or add-ins
  7. If something does not work in the new version, just use it in the older version
  8. Install mobile apps for all the tools which have to be tried out.
  9. Typically a fully functional mobile should contain Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, ToDo, Planner, Teams, Skype for Business and Power BI apps

Try various scenarios

  1. Depending upon the scenario which you want to try out, use the appropriate tools and try it out
  2. Some scenarios require multiple tools. For example, Forms is used for gathering survey data and Power BI is used for analyzing it in detail.
  3. Consider the day-to-day business activities you perform. Try those out with the new tools and features.
  4. Note down the before and after status. Note down the benefits.
  5. Try different variations of common work activities. For example, try saving a file on OneDrive, editing it together with 3 colleagues, then moving the file to Teams. Check the sharing controls, view vs. edit mode, versioning, comparing versions (Word) and so on.
  6. Be ready to be surprised by new and powerful features which satisfy even the most latent needs. In fact, while exploring these tools, it is best to learn a feature first and then discover your need behind it. A simple formula to become super-efficient.

Document the results

  1. Note down the way the activity was performed before the pilot.
  2. Specify the title, persons involved, activities, step-by-step process, approvals, frequency and time taken to complete the activity
  3. When the activity is being tried with the new Office 365 tools, note down the above items for the new scenario
  4. You will be pleasantly surprised to find dramatic improvement on various fronts. Document the benefits.
  5. The benefits could be one or more of the following
    1. Time saving (obvious and enormous benefit)
    2. Elimination / reduction in errors
    3. Increase quality of the output
    4. Reduction in the number of manual steps involved
    5. Elimination of inefficient steps which you earlier thought were mandatory
    6. New benefits which you had not even imagined earlier
    7. New ideas of executing business
    8. Governance and compliance benefits
  6. Quantify the benefits
  7. For example, let us say you used Power BI to create a report. Earlier it required 3 hours of manual work. Now it happens in 15 minutes. That is a time saving of 165 minutes in a single instance. If this was a monthly activity, multiply by 12 – which makes it 1980 minutes of time saving per year, per instance. Now consider how many people in the organization can benefit from this activity transformation. Multiply by that number. For example, 218 people x 1980 minutes = 431640 minutes. This is equivalent to almost 900 person days of time saving.
  8. Convert the benefits to a monetary value
    Use contribution per employee to multiply the time saved. You can also use other parameters such as profitability per employee.

Present the findings

  • Present the findings and the benefits from the pilot to senior management
  • Briefly explain to them the activity before and demonstrate the “after” scenario using Office 365 tools
  • Highlight the benefits and monetary impact
  • Showcase the work transformation which resulted from the effective usage of the power of Office 365 platform
  • Urge the senior management to provide you with these tools so that you can be dramatically more efficient and deliver beyond expectations – thus driving personal as well as organizational growth

Plan for future

  1. If the pilot is successful and if the senior management has understood its potential, the next step is to implement the transformation across your business
  2. Plan for procuring the licenses, hardware provisioning, mobile app installation, training and most importantly, converting the new, improved way to a Standard Operating Procedure.
  3. Till people realize the impact of increased productivity on their own growth, SOPs are required to create awareness and ensure broad adoption
  4. Form an internal team which will proactively understand the power of each feature available in the Office 365 platform and map it to business needs
  5. Work transformation is easy and extremely rewarding with Office 365.

Questions? Post them here.

If you have specific questions or if you come across any roadblocks or get confused at any point of time, post your query here. Dr. Nitin Paranjape will try to guide you.
Please note, only usage and business mapping related queries are addressed here. Infrastructure and programming related queries are not resolved.

The purpose of this helpdesk is to help you realize maximum efficiency by using these tools efficiently.

Enjoy… Rainbow