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Accelerating Office 365 User Adoption

14 Oct 2019 by Nigel Williams

Office 365 user adoption strategy planning

In a previous blog For Easier Adoption Add Change Management I reviewed how embracing change management principles will enable you to execute a well thought through adoption plan. In this blog, I am going to examine how Adoption Accelerator, a service within Quadrotech’s new Nova SaaS Management platform, can support this.

Adoption Accelerator brings user data, campaign phases and integrated communications to the Office 365 adoption process. Together these make the adoption process both easier and more effective.

In the change management blog, we identified seven elements of an adoption plan based on change management principles:

  1. Targeting end-user groups and developing prioritized scenarios
  2. Identifying those in the organization that can help lead adoption (early adopters)
  3. Establishing the right metrics and measures of success
  4. Developing your communications strategy and cadence
  5. Understanding training requirements, including end-user and stakeholder content
  6. Developing the change management process
  7. Developing strategies to overcome potential resistance in employees and processes

The challenge for most organizations in developing a plan like this is that they don’t have accurate metrics to measure the current level of adoption and to track adoption as it grows. To compound this, user communications and associated communications are most effective when supported by data and aligned to changes, or a lack thereof, in user behavior. Accordingly, the lack of readily available metrics that describe and track user adoption levels presents a significant handicap.

Your Office 365 Adoption Strategy

Adoption Accelerator brings user data, and defined phases to adoption in the form of campaigns designed to speed up the adoption of Office 365 workloads. A brief description of the setup process is the easiest way to outline these capabilities, after which I will review how they contribute to the seven planning elements above.

To get started you will name your new adoption campaign, define the workload and add the start and end dates.

Next, you will specify the number of phases the campaign will have. User communications align to phases, so the number of phases you define will determine how frequently you send user notifications and communications through the campaign.

After that, you will specify your adoption goals and define the data collection period. The goals can be based on any one of the metrics shown in the table below. The collection period is the period over which you will be measuring your audience’s adoption goals.  Boolean logic is used to combine multiple goals.

SharePoint Total Activities File count, viewed or edited File count, synced File count, shared internally File count, shared externally Page count, visited
OneDrive File count, viewed or edited File count, synced File count, shared internally File count, shared externally
Teams Message count, team chat Message count, private chat Call count Meeting count
Skype Session count, total peer-to-peer Conference count, total organized Conference count, total participated
Exchange Message count, sent Message count, read Message count, read
Yammer Post count Read count Liked count

Once you have defined your goals you can specify the audience that they will apply to. This can be performed by using filters to select a department, geography or one of many other groupings to define your target audience.

To complete your adoption campaign, you just need to specify the duration of each phase of the campaign and set up user communications for each phase. User communications can be set to run at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of each phase and have their own template, which enables you to add links for the content appropriate for the phase.

Read more: Using the Six Sources of Influence Model to Drive Adoption

In the table below, I have applied Adoption Accelerator’s user data, plan phases and integrated communications to the seven elements of the adoption plan to show how they benefit the planning process. I have included some benefits from the Reporting service within the Nova SaaS platform also as this service provides some additional data that is helpful in ensuring each plan element is addressed effectively.

Plan Element Adoption Accelerator Benefits
Target end-user groups and prioritized scenarios Audience filtering by organizational divisions, geographic attributes and license status allows for tight targeting.   Combining filters with workloads informed by usage date and business priorities enables the creation of prioritized scenarios.
Identification of those in the organization that could help lead adoption Use active user reports* to identify early adopters who could help lead adoption across the organization.
Metrics and measures of success Adoption Accelerator provides a comprehensive set of metrics (see table above) together with pre-built campaign reports.  This can be augmented by workload activity reports from Nova’s Reporting Service.
Communications strategy and cadence Campaign phases provide a clear communications structure and cadence and allow the integration of the appropriate educational and motivational content.
Training requirements, including end-user and stakeholder content Training content can be inserted into the process through the phases of the campaign.
Change management process development The adoption data and metrics can be used to inform change management process development, including importing data into change management systems via the Adoption Accelerator API
Strategies to overcome potential resistance in employees, processes, etc. Presenting user or departmental success stories based on objective evidence can form part of an effective adoption strategy.

What becomes clear from the exercise above is the value that a data-driven approach brings to the adoption process. Baselining and tracking user data provides a sound foundation for many of your adoption activities including strategy, targeting, communications, content, and metrics.

The application of change management principles together with a data-driven approach is an extremely powerful combination that makes the adoption process less risky and more effective than approaches that don’t make use of them. To learn more about the service, please click here.