Here is the recording of the session I conducted at the Ignite Tour – Mumbai. BRK3788: Maximizing Office 365 adoption and ROI
Duration 59 minutes. Lot of practical guidelines and demos.
Here is the recording of the session I conducted at the Ignite Tour – Mumbai. BRK3788: Maximizing Office 365 adoption and ROI
Duration 59 minutes. Lot of practical guidelines and demos.
Office 365 platform is very powerful. However, I have noticed that most customers derive only fraction of the potential benefits. There are many reason for this bleak outcome. Refer to my series on Office 365 Worst Practices for details. In this article I will highlight the reverse Office 365 Best Practices.
Adoption, Consumption, Effective Utilization, Efficiency Maximization, Workplace transformation, etc. are the words / phrases used while describing maximum and relevant usage of all Office 365 tools by all users. They all mean the same. The objective is to maximize ROI and work efficiency in order to drive personal as well as organizational growth.
Many customers just want to move from on-premise to cloud. They think that is the ONLY benefit of moving to Office 365. Just convert from CAPEX to OPEX – save on-premise overheads and that’s it. This is not the ONLY benefit of O365. There are a thousand more. Think of empowerment of all users (while saving money).
Go for E3 or E5 SKU. For ALL users. Yes. The cost will be significant. But if utilized appropriately, unimaginable improvements will follow in months. Break-even can happen in as little as six months.
Disclaimer: I do not benefit monetarily by sales of Microsoft products. As you know, I am an MVP (evangelist) and RD.
There may be very compelling reasons for IT to spearhead and drive the Office 365 migration project. However, it is not just an infrastructure migration. Unlike most products, Office 365 is NOT transparent to end users. In fact, it is very visible to them. Every user spends 4 hours or more using Office tools. If you want to change (improve) their usage of these tools and add many more tools, you better do it in a manner that is compelling to all users. Push does not work (unless it is a security issue).
Pull is requried. IT alone cannot generate that pull. IT must do this along with the business side.
Top Management is the crucial component which is often missed. It is not enough to have a couple of powerful sponsors. The top management has to experience the efficiency transformation first-hand. Only then they will be able to support the initiative wholeheartedly. Otherwise they just cut a ribbon, give a motivating speech at the launch and then nothing happens. Everyone remains inefficient happily thereafter!
All possible business heads should be a part of the Office 365 project. Why? Because, all of them stand to gain substantially from the potential productivity transformation. If some business heads refuses to support the initiative, leave them alone. After they see the success stories around them, they will happily join the mainstream.
If you cannot convince the Top Management, do not bother to convince the users. Your adoption drive has already failed.
Everyone plans for the launch. It is an event to show off your contribution, gain recognition, motivate more users to join, demonstrate tangible improvement and so on. No problem. Great. Go ahead and put posters, change desktop images, insert banners on intranet home pages, create mailers, create a buzz, conduct quizzes…
That is just the beginning. If nothing happens beyond this, the end comes swiftly. Any kind of excitement reduces soon.
If excitement was sustained, it would be called boredom!
Unless you convert that excitement into a necessity (a good habit), the benefits will be very short-lived. ROI will be a distant dream. Remember, Office 365 is a subscription, but it does not include wisdom and capability transformation. Software cannot do it alone. We need sustenance.
To achieve this you need many things including – having a significant training budget, internal team to drive efficiency and ability to highlight internal successes to motivate all users on a long-term basis.
Office 365 is not just a small utility. It can transform lives and organizations. Give it enough time and perseverance to transform you.
Office 365 contains 20+ tools. Most users know only four – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. At least they think that they know.
Unfortunately, nobody knows how to use Office efficiently. We are all trial and error artists!
Just adding 16 more components and conducting a half a day training is not going to change anything. This is the height of wishful thinking. Each tool needs to be explained in terms of the need and its benefits.
In most cases, the rollout of tools (and related training) is phased out over a year or more. In this case, every user does not even get exposed to every tool – which is a perfect recipe for failure.
This is contrary to common practice of deploying one component at a time. Provide all tools together. Sounds complex? No problem – break it down into phases. In each phase include a manageable set of users. It could be a location, team or department. Initially have smaller set of users, learn from the rollout and then expand the horizon.
Make sure the learning activities are synchronized with the rollout. The worst case scenario is a user who returns from a training – highly motivated to try the new stuff, to realize that the laptop is still running older version of Office and no trace of Office 365. It is a frustrating experience for users. This creates negative word-of-mouth publicity which can destroy the adoption drive.
This should be the larger objective. The most common reason for work inefficiency is the misuse of Outlook. Now with OneDrive, Teams, Skype, Groups, Planner and other tools, the need for using email is reducing dramatically. All these tools eliminate mails and provide a more focused channel for working together.
If email usage continues to grow with minimal increase in the usage of other tools, your adoption strategy (and execution) has failed. In this case, relook at the content, provide more focus on new tools, also explain why email misuse is bad and provide more hands-on experiences to convince users. Publish internal case studies to make people aware that it works within our organization as well (not just in other company’s case study).
Depending upon the product(s) you have, emphasize on teaching the new method of analytics. Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map constitute the new platform called Power BI. If every user adopts to Power BI, there can be unimaginable improvement in everything that the organization does. This happens even without branching into big data, IOT and other recent technologies. Ever since Power BI was introduced, I have not seen a single organization which has leveraged this powerful toolkit across all users. What a waste!
Almost routinely, I see that the adoption plan just does not include Office itself! The logic is, we have been using Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook for many years (or decades). Everyone knows how to use these tools. Why waste time and money? Just cover OneDrive, Skype, Teams, Groups and OneNote. Wrong thought process. Why?
Office has been around for decades. Any new product Microsoft adds is DESIGNED to integrate with Office. Nothing is created in isolation. Therefore, for all these cloud tools to be utilized efficiently, they must be used from WITHIN Office.
Integration is the most important feature of Office platform. By excluding Office from the training and adoption plan, you are literally ensuring sub-optimal results. No question of having a good return on investment.
One more reason for including Office. It has evolved beyond our imagination in 30 years. Unfortunately, nobody keeps track of how Office is becoming better and offering more and more benefits with lesser effort. Reinventing Office is a great way to transform efficiency – along with the new cloud tools.
There is more… But for now, this is a good start.
Your opinion matters.
Feel free to post your experiences as comments.
Queries are also welcome.
Deployment is easy. Quantifying the tangible benefits is difficult.
Here are some practical and usable guidelines for measuring the impact of Office 365 based upon my experience.
Estimated reading time 8 min
ROI calculations are commonly done in the pre-sales stage, while evaluating investment decisions. There are many methods of calculating ROI. This article is not about the methodology of ROI calculation. It is about the one important aspect which is often left out from the calculation.
|Humorous, sarcastic and hard-hitting keynote speech video.
Learn the secrets of maximizing efficiency using Office.
23 min Video
The title sounds negative. Please don’t get offended. Don’t take it personally.
This is based on what I have seen and experienced while coaching over 210,000 users globally over the last 11 years. Let me complete the sentence “everyone uses but nobody cares whether it is being used fully and appropriately across the organization”
And of course, I am not just complaining. I will also provide a solution approach.
Please read the earlier post. This is a continuation post. It is not possible to recap the Part 1 article.
A reader asked me this after reading the first article.
These two articles do not contain a single example, screen-shot or illustration. Those who read my articles and have seen my live sessions are fully aware that I am always showing demos and visuals.
I refrained from these things for two reasons:
That is the attitude of most people. But I feel this is a counterproductive attitude. Let me explain.
I am sure it is a redundant question. I am assuming everyone will say YES to this.
If your answer is NO, then you don’t need to read the rest of the article. Because the concept of “value” is based upon some goal. If you don’t have a goal which involves improvement of your current status, then nothing will be perceived as valuable by you (in the context of MS Office).
Let us also agree on this obvious statement. I don’t think anyone doubts that.
In fact, we are already striving to work better every day – at individual or organizational level. In order to achieve this, we learn our subject better, attend training programs, benchmark our performance, perform process re-engineering, and many many other things.
Of course the percentage may vary. But it is a significant portion of your day to day work… Include all tools – Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote (for those lucky ones who know about it. If you don’t know what is OneNote, read this post which I wrote earlier)
Anyway, you consider the percentage which is right in your context.
Let us call your domain specific work as structured. As you studied your core subject, and gained experience in practicing it, you are obviously very good at it.
Moreover, there must be some business processes laid down to execute your work. There may be some automation or software already available to simplify and speed up your work. Needless to say, someone must be monitoring your core work – your KRAs, Balanced Scorecards, Deliverables and other matrices.
How about the remaining 50% work you perform using Office? Who is monitoring the exact process you are using? Forget about others, even you yourself have never tried to check if the methods I use to get my work done are the best / optimal methods.
This is a normal situation. But in fact, this is the root cause of drudgery, work-life imbalance, stress at work, poor or slow growth and a large number of related issues.
Why so? Because the situation is far from normal – it is absolutely abnormal.
If you have learnt Office by trial and error – which is true in most cases – then you have no choice. You must be inefficient! (Even if you did attend a course on MS Office, it did not cover all your work related activities – so this rule applies anyway!)
Have I gone mad? Not at all. I am not trying to scare or offend you. I am just telling you the truth.
Here is why …
Let me complete that sentence now…
Unfortunately, we have never put this effort in finding the best way of doing things.
Microsoft (or any vendor for that matter) assumes that everyone would like to get their work done in the best possible way – and therefore, they will be willing to discover, learn and benefit from the new / improved features which are constantly being added – that will make people grow faster and be more efficient.
However, from a user side, there is no desire, curiosity or interest in finding out whether there is a better way of doing our work – in spite of having the intense desire to grow in their careers.
This is the mismatch which is the root cause of apparently useless or irrelevant feature set of Office and ubiquitous, global inefficiency which is not even noticed as a problem.
Of course Microsoft is potentially losing revenue is due to widespread lack of awareness about the real power and benefits of Office. But let us focus on the user / customer level loss right now.
At a individual level, obviously each one of us is losing because we are wasting precious time and energy every day due to inefficient usage of Office tools.
Just to give you a tangible perspective – if you work for 1 hour using Office – any tool – any version – I can almost guarantee that at least 10 to 15 minutes of that effort was a complete waste!
I know it is a bold statement – but trust me – I am not talking random stuff. I am saying this after closely interacting with 195,000 users across 15 countries and diverse industries.
The above statement holds true irrespective of the version of Office you are using and the number of years of experience you have with it.
With due respect – there are many experts who are absolute masters in usage of Office. In fact, these people help Microsoft add more features!
Here I am talking about a regular business user whose job is to get the work done using Office. Their primary role in life is NOT to study and teach Office.
Experts are excluded from this statement with a rider. Usually people are experts at ONE product. They may be an absolute Guru in, say, PowerPoint – but they cant use Word formatting properly. Like any field, within Office as well there is severe compartmentalization.
As you know, I started my career as a doctor. ( for those who don’t know … I am a postgraduate in Gynecology. Moved to IT 23 years back and have not practiced medicine since then)
Here is how the spread of a disease described.
(These are just practical definitions. Not official definitions.)
Let us say there is a pandemic. What does it mean? Does every living person have it? Obviously not. It is a very small subset but it has spread across geographies and spreading fast. That’s all it means.
But consider the inefficiency in the context of using MS Office – which is so ingrained into all of us for so many years. It is like everyone having the disease.
Now this is the funny thing about medicine. If few people suffer from something it is called a disease. But if almost everyone has the problem, then it is not called a disease – it is called NORMAL!
That is the real – root cause about Office underutilization.
Because almost everyone is inefficient, it is not even noticed as a problem. If you don’t notice it, you don’t act on it. That is the sad story.
Don’t worry. I have not forgotten where we started. But all this detour is required to explain the problem, the psychology and the technology behind it.
Coming back to the features. Here is what happened.
MS created a great product on day 1 – they got more feature requests – they added those features – then they observed how people use the new product – they got more ideas – they added more features – in the meantime more feature requests came – and the cycle continues … even today – after 25 years. I am sure MS is working on at least 2 or 3 future editions of Office as we speak!
If nothing else, why don you consider appreciating Microsoft for the phenomenal (and often thankless) effort it has put in to create and refine a product over 25 years.
So let us see the steps
Some need or problem leads to creation of a feature. Microsoft knows why the feature was created. But do we (as unsuspecting users) know what it was created for?
Obviously not – because we are not even attempting to look at it. We have closed our eyes to it.
This is a common complaint. Here are the facts.
Office.microsoft.com has huge amount of information including online help, in-depth articles, videos, training materials, quiz contests and so on. Hardly anyone goes there unless there is a problem
Offline help is also brilliantly written. But try to remember when was it that you pressed the F1 key last time? If you did press it – was it for troubleshooting or for learning?
Web search on Office Tips yields some 112 million results on Bing and 1.1 BILLION results on Google! Most of these are free. Amazon lists 25,424 books under Microsoft Office alone.
In spite of such widespread availability of knowledge sources, people at large are absolutely inefficient.
What does that mean?
People do go and read these things but ONLY WHEN THEY HAVE A PROBLEM.
When I don’t know how to do something – I find it and use that method. Fine. Nothing wrong with it.
But what people don’t realize is that whatever they think they already know is itself inefficient!
That is why so much knowledge is ineffective. It is a psychological problem. Not a technological or content limitation.
We don’t want to know more about it – I call it Active Ignorance!
Everything I have been talking about is depressing and pitiable. But that is for a reason. There is a positive side to it. And it is simpler than you think.
Till now we were ignoring everything other than what we knew.
Now you have to simply assume that what you don’t know may be useful to you.
The only way to find out is to reverse the process – look at the features and think what could be the need or problem this feature is solving…
Then ask yourself – do I have this need? If the answer is YES, you benefited from it – your efficiency increased.
If you don’t have the need, never mind. Forget it.
Most of us think – “I know 5% and another few % more will make me more efficient”
The real answer is that – potentially as much as 60 to 70 % of feature set is absolutely relevant to you. The relevance may not be immediately obvious – it requires some applied learning. But that is the kind of number we should be looking at as optimal.
As a simple answer – if the button is in the RIBBON you almost definitely need it.
I know this has been a long (and possibly confusing) post.
Here is the culmination of all the detours.
Office is a great product and has the potential to help you grow faster than you ever imagined.
The sad part
I suggest you explore Office with some genuine curiosity and effort for a few days, check if it makes a difference to your work efficiency and effectiveness and then you will be in a better position to answer the question.
In short, find out a little about what that 95% is and then decide whether it is worth paying for it.
I worked with the sales and merchandizing team of an apparel manufacturer recently. 50 participants – 3 days of work. During this process, each person showed me how they use MS Office for their day to day activities and I showed them a better, faster, optimal method.
It is a kind of Instant BPR or Efficiency Makeover session.
Based upon user inputs, we documented the before – after time taken and additional benefits.
The result? I could show them a
yearly time saving of 8000+ person days!
Mind you, no automation – no macros – no LOB integration. Pure, simple effective usage of MS Office features. That is the real power.
I will suggest a small exercise. In this blog alone, I have written 80+ articles. Go through some of them and see for yourself. Let me know your thoughts.
Your comments, suggestions, queries and experiences are welcome.
This is a different type of article. It addresses the fundamental question about what value does Microsoft Office bring to the table – from the point of view of efficiency improvement.
Let me start with a disclaimer: everything written here are my own views and conclusions. This is not in anyway an official response from Microsoft or any other company or individual.
This is a concern almost everyone who has purchased Office has in their mind. It is manifested in various ways…
In spite of having these concerns, there does not seem to be a clear answer available. There are some people who blindly upgrade to new versions, some who resist it, some who go to apparently equivalent products like LibreOffice, Google Office and so on.
As the value question remains largely unanswered, there could be two possible answers to it >>>
If you count every button, option, function and so on… there are about 8000 features available across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. (8000 is an approximate number. But the real number is very near this value … probably higher but not lower.)
Most of us think that we use 5% of these features… that is about 400 of them. Unfortunately that is not true. In my experience, based upon interaction with over 195,000 users most of us use around 120 features. The so called power users use 200 on an average.
I have not done a formal survey for this. But you can think of the number yourself (don’t think of percentage. Think of the number) … and I am sure you will come up with a similar answer.
All of know that we use a very small fraction of available features. But we are not worried about it..
Why? Because we think something like this…
In short… the thought is
What I know is enough and what I don’t know is implicitly considered irrelevant and useless from my point of view.
Most people ask this question out of irritation rather than adulation!
Hardly anyone is impressed with the incessant addition of new or improved features version after version for last 25 years.
Doesn’t Microsoft realize that there is gross underutilization of the product? I am sure that they know about it. Why am I so sure?
Because, like all software vendors, Microsoft also has a Customer Improvement Program. Periodically, statistics about feature usage are sent to Microsoft and analyzed by them.
I obviously don’t know the exact statistics. But it is fair to assume that they are aware of the underutilization.
The question is … why do they keep adding more and more features?
The answer is simpler than you think. Any technology or software never created as an academic exercise. It is created to cater to some need or to solve a problem someone is facing.
Therefore, by definition, any feature which you see in any software originates from a need or a problem. The solution may be available without the software – by doing some manual work – but the software feature is designed to take away that drudgery from the human side and simplify / eliminate or automate it.
In the same spirit, it is safe to assume that all these 8000 features must have originated with some user need, feature request, inefficiency which was noticed by someone and escalated to the product team … something like that.
Obviously, if I requested a feature from Microsoft and they added it, I would be very happy and use it actively. That is a no-brainer.
What about other people who did NOT ask for that feature? May be they have the same problem… but
How will they know about it?
How will they discover it?
Will they ever use it?
The answer – based upon my experience is – they will never know it existed and they will never use it!
In my opinion – this is the real problem.
Let me restate the problem.
As a typical user, I may have some problems… I have found out my own solution to it based upon a feature set I was aware of – at the point of time when I faced the issue… however, Microsoft may have provided a more effective, faster, more elegant solution to my problem – which I simply failed to notice – and therefore, I am going to use my self-discovered, not-so-efficient, solution – life long!
I feel very sad to say this… but that is the pitiable state of Microsoft Office.
Just try to imbibe the implications of what I just said. Keep the thought in mind. We will come back to it later…
Most of us think that features which we are not using are ADVANCED.
Try to go through few of the last 10 articles I have written and ask yourself – were these topics basic or advanced…
For your convenience I am listing the last 10 articles here…
Go through these and think.. whether it is basic or advanced?
Post your comments here – article – basic or advanced.
I could have made a survey for this but it is cumbersome. Let us make it simple.
You can also add your comments on my Facebook group (Instant Efficiency) where this blog will be posted…
I will wait for the response from readers and then write the second part of this article in a few days…