5 Tips to Start Your Microsoft 365 Plan
As you start up your Microsoft 365 Business or Enterprise plan, it is necessary to strategize a plan for yourself, your team, and your organization. Your Microsoft 365 tools will be only as good as your communication structure, applied wisdom of the tools, and vision for your digital workplace. In this article, we will take a deep dive into Microsoft 365, 5 tips to start your Microsoft 365 plan, and how you can find help if needed. Let get started:
Kick Start Your Microsoft 365?
Ultimately, Microsoft 365 is a bundle of Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S). Microsoft offers its package for home, business, and enterprise. It is designed to help you achieve more with innovative productivity apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security. Microsoft 365 has the tools you need to work anytime, anywhere, on any device. It has the same Office apps (cloud versions or locally run applications) you’ve used for years, plus all the benefits of being on the cloud securely. All cloud-based applications stay up to date, so you’re always working with the latest versions. Microsoft 365 is currently the best digital workplace platform for everyone in your organization to be creative, productive, and work securely in today’s modern world. However, it can be frustrating when you are stuck at any point in your Microsoft 365 experience. Before you dive headfirst into your digital workplace, here are five tips to start on the right foot:
1. Identify and Communicate “Purpose”
As with most things, we need to start with “why.” I highly recommend understanding the role that technology plays in your organization and how it matches the vision, mission, and values. Not those glossed over things that might be hanging on your walls, but the true meaning and higher purpose of the organization.
If your users are brought into the overall goals of the organization, then rolling out new technology should be easy. Technology is ultimately intended to serve the organization by making things easier for your users. You will be much more successful if you can align and communicate your technology roll out to the more significant and higher purpose that your culture remains. Start with “why”:
- Why the organization exists?
- Why you need technology?
- Why are you pushing for adoption?
- Why should your users care?
- Why will this help us in the long run?
2. Beware of the Fire Hose
Are you confused or overwhelmed with all the features in Office 365? It can feel like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. You don’t have to do it all at once. This is something that can be planned to add value to your organization over time continuously. It’s probably best to slowly adopt this technology and ensure success each time you add something rather than try to do too much too fast and fail at all of it.
If you are interested in adopting more than one piece of technology, do it in such a way that it solves a specific organizational need. An example would be utilizing a SharePoint Team Site, a Power App, or a Power Automate workflow to facilitate contract creation and approval. Whatever it is, take it slow and ensure success. In the following article, we review the various tools that Office 365 has to provide; find out more!
Here’s what we suggest:
- Pick a technology that you want to explore and start by watching the videos provided here: https://support.office.com/en-us/office-training-center.
- Pilot that technology with you and a couple of other trusted folks. Kick the tires, see if it makes sense to you and your trusted colleagues.
- If successful, then it’s the right candidate for a broader audience and could be worthy of a greater concerted effort to roll out.
3. Create a Digital Workplace Plan
It doesn’t have to be super detailed or include every piece of technology. Still, it’s a good idea to understand what piece of technology looks useful and what is not worth investigating further. Then use that high-level information to create a simple timeline of when you might want to consider adopting the technology (i.e., Exchange Online, Groups, Planner, SharePoint Intranet, Teams with each one adopted over a quarter).
When communicated appropriately, this will make you look like a rock star to your users – and those users who are anxious to get started will know when something is slated for adoption. This will also give you plenty of time to plan your pilot groups, training, testing, and communication plans.
One last thing on plans – be flexible. A project is always perfect until you encounter resistance. Your success is determined by your ability to plan while allowing the appropriate amount of flexibility to meet the end goal.
4. Embrace the Change
In recent years, big corporations and small businesses have increasingly invested in digital workplace solutions. This demand for digital workplace tools is no coincidence! Modern solutions are no longer a future trend but rather a mandatory strategy for companies to learn and stay competitive in today’s markets.
Things are moving faster and faster than ever before. We all see it and feel it, but only when we take a short second to take notice. Microsoft used to release new major software releases every three years. Now, that pace has been shortened to releases made in real-time!
For a huge behemoth like Microsoft to keep up with the pace of innovation in the market, they have had to change the way that they deliver software to us completely. They host the software and roll out changes as fast as their teams can create the updates.
What does this mean for you? It means several things.
- Changes are sometimes not controlled by you
- Some things you can hold off on and others you cannot
- Eventually, you will probably get the change anyhow
- Sometimes this means that menus move around or look different
- Training will be impacted. Things are moving so fast that as soon as a training video is created and posted on a third-party site, it’s probably out of date the following week. Stay up-to-date and receive any information you are looking for here.
Beware! Change is inevitable. This level of change can be uncomfortable, but if you master it, you will rise above those who cannot embrace the change.
5. Make it Fun
Do you remember when learning was fun? Or maybe it’s only fun when it isn’t “work.” Most people love to learn new things. I know I do. The challenge is, learning some of this Microsoft 365 “stuff” isn’t fun. It’s work. If you recall the last time you learned something and didn’t realize that you were learning, it was probably with someone that you are close to.
Here are some tips for making Microsoft 365 fun:
- Learn in small
- Make it a 2-hour or half-day event rather than a full day
- Include food! (breakfasts, lunches, coffee, and time for folks to mingle)
- Maximize learning by creating a game or challenge for what you’ve learned
How Can I Get Help with My Microsoft 365?
Of course, this is easier said than done. If you’re interested in customized feedback on your current Microsoft 365 environment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. For more insights and information or questions, consult Klarinet Solutions and talk to one of our pros so we can collaborate for a successful transition for Intranet communications, Microsoft 365, or SharePoint.