In their attempt to optimize resources for quicker attainment of business goals, a strikingly high number of organizations are making that decisive move to Microsoft Office 365. This trend is expected to gain more traction this year and the years to come, owing to the tangible benefits Office 365 provides when pitted against other enterprise solutions. While exploring Office 365 migration solutions, there are a few fundamental factors that must be acknowledged and adhered to; one of those is involving the human workforce or the end-users of the solution from the very first step.

In 2020, the number of Office 365 users grew by 21%.

Taking the employees into confidence and alerting them about the move, the motivation behind it, the expected benefits, and the migration details is critical to the success of the decision. A grave mistake most first-time clients tend to make is underplay the chances of facing adoption hiccups among staff members. The management doesn’t recognize the need to pay adequate attention to the adoption of the product until they see employees ignoring it or using it incorrectly. By this time, their wait-and-see approach already costs them significant loss in terms of time and workforce productivity.

Office 365 is used by over 70% of the Fortune 500 companies.

Reasons to Involve the Employees in the Office 365 Migration Process

Get the Buy-in From the End Users

There must be a robust communication plan to encourage the staff members to share their pain points with the current environment and their expectations from a new setup. Common concerns may be the ease of use of the application, storage space, data safety, timely assistance, etc. The management must make all efforts to convey how Office 365 is the answer to all such concerns and that it has been zeroed in on to give the must-needed productivity boost to the team. If required, special sessions should be arranged to make the users understand the intent behind the migration.

Prepare Users for the Change

Once the employees acknowledge the real value that Office 365 would deliver, the management must brief them on what they can expect in the days leading up to the migration, what would happen once the migration is underway, and in the post-migration phase. This should be followed by an explanation of what they need to do (such as data backup), and who to contact in case of issues. It’s a good idea to reinforce the D-Day communication by a department head via a phone/video call, webinar, or any channel other than emails.

Read Also Why Outsourcing is the Best Solution for Tenant-to-Tenant Office 365 Migration Challenges

Ensure Minimal Productivity Loss

Loss of working hours during the migration implies that people have to put in extra hours to make up for the loss. To avoid this, most enterprises schedule the migration for a time when there are low chances of an email service disruption. Migrations are usually carried out during weekends or off-work hours so that network users don’t miss out on important work emails or get locked out of the system during business hours. An effective way to foster a desire for adoption is to frame Office 365 in a way that gives employees a ‘why’, a logical reason for them to adopt it.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown began, the use of Microsoft Teams has increased by 894%. Microsoft claims that SharePoint is used by 190 million people across 200,000 organizations.

Ensure an Effortless Transition

For an unhindered migration experience, the best bet is to outsource it to an Office 365 migration service provider. A competent migration services firm helps the client with a migration roadmap, select the most suitable method (from stage, cutover, and hybrid migration), and prepare the right infrastructure, including server management resources like Active Directory Federation Services. Their end-to-end services also include user training and early migration tests to ensure that every part of the migration process is ready to be triggered, assuring quality outcomes for the client.

Smooth Change Management

Change management is an aspect of Office 365 migration that often gets overlooked. The management can introduce as many new systems as it wants but without proper processes in place, users typically bounce right off. The best way to foster a healthy adoption trend is to team up with an Office 365 migration solutions provider that can rightly address the concerns of the users regarding the use of the new application. To encourage users, the management can introduce incentives and keep moderate output expectations from them during the initial days.

Pursing an Ideal Migration Communication and Adoption Plan

office 365migration services

As already established, clear and transparent communication is the key to win the user’s approval for a successful migration process. The client and the migration partner must work out an approach for the intended users to provide them complete visibility on all the elements of the migration. Also, since managing the adoption of Office 365 isn’t always possible for companies lacking the necessary resources or expertise, it helps to consider the role that a competent partner plays in the process.

Outline the Benefits

A point-by-point comparison of how O365 and the cloud platform offer more features and higher possibilities as compared to the client’s old application should be the objective here. For instance, the management must elucidate what makes Outlook one of the most widely-used email services, how Teams helps foster greater collaboration, and how OneDrive is safer than their existing storage. The management must also understand that while the relatively tech-savvy individuals would easily try out the new application, others may take some time to take that first step.

In 2018, about 81% of the organizations in the world opted for cloud services, and over 50% of them were Microsoft Office 365 adopters. 

Create Training Opportunities

The role of the technology partner doesn’t end with the completion of the migration but extends way beyond. Downplaying the need to arrange sufficient training sessions for the users is a serious mistake the management could make. There is no point in investing in Office 365 only to find that the intended users are working around the features because of the lack of knowledge. The migration partner should be consulted with for devising a detailed training schedule where the vendor would dedicate sufficient time and resources to train the client’s side on the optimal use of the application.

Read Also Things You Must Know Prior to Launching a Full-scale Office 365 Integration

Convey Support Options

To help employees acquaint themselves with the new environment, the organization must make them aware of all available support avenues. Examples of such support resources include self-service portals, Power Users and Champions in the team, a dedicated help desk, or PowerPoint presentations. Training the employees on how and when to seek support is equally important to ensure that everyone can get the assistance they need.

Common questions to anticipate from employees

  • Why switch to Office 365?
  • How would the transition benefit me?
  • How long this transition takes and is there any loss of productivity?
  • Whom do I approach for help and more information about the transition?
  • What happens to the old systems and data?
  • How easy would it be for me to learn to use Office 365?
  • Is the management going to schedule any training sessions? Are they mandatory or optional?

Follow-ups and Re-evaluation

Change management is not a linear process. An undertaking like Office 365 migration demands efforts from the decision-makers for ongoing support and adoption progress evaluation. As new technologies and applications are added to the arsenal and new employees join the team, the need for support and training materials keep surfacing. This is where the role of a long-term business engagement with an Office 365 support partner helps. It can help the client design custom frameworks for period evaluations of their digital workplace initiative.

The decision to move to the Office 365 suite is a significant step in the pursuit for better productivity, higher collaboration, and significant cost savings. However, the decision has to be backed by an effective and all-encompassing migration plan that involves all stakeholders, especially your employees. When the end-user agrees to the change and is trained adequately on the right use of the application, the rest of the things fall into place on their own, enabling a quick realization of the organization’s objective for the decision.

Of all the companies using Office 365, 61% are small businesses (fewer than 50 employees), 24% medium-sized, and 15% are large (over 1000 employees).

Who We Are and Why Our Expertise Matters

At FlatworldEDGE, we help enterprises with specialized IT services, including custom software development, software testing services, IT infra management, and mobile app development, among others. We are known in the software services circle for our seamless Microsoft Office 365 solutions that help our clients implement their digital workplace strategy. Our end-to-end Office 365 migration and support services help clients realize the maximum returns in the shortest duration. Our Office 365 service framework has been designed for quick turnaround, enabling the client to bestow unhindered attention to the core aspects of their business.