We spoke to our friends in the Microsoft community about the biggest misconceptions when it comes to Microsoft 365 user adoption and how you can actually get people to work with the tools you provide for them.
Change is hard. As humans, we operate with a certain amount of inertia and it can take a lot to get us to change our habits. As you probably know, this concept holds true in the workplace as well. People become comfortable working with certain tools and applications and getting them to change their ways can certainly be an uphill battle.
It’s a dilemma we see time and time again, so we brought it up with some of our friends in the Microsoft community. Turns out, there’s a right way and a wrong way to get people to adopt the tools you want them to use.
Last time, we discussed the importance of collaboration between IT and the teams they support, specifically when it comes to provisioning. The same goes for adoption, as we’ll see in this article.
Keep reading to learn all about the biggest misconceptions around Microsoft 365 adoption, and how you can do it differently.
The biggest misconceptions around Microsoft 365 adoption
Adoption happens naturally
If you’re expecting people in your organization to naturally adopt the tools you’ve provided for them, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, and potentially a very chaotic transition.
According to the experts, having a solid plan in place is a key component of encouraging user adoption. Remember, what might seem simple to you may not appear so for others who are used to working in a different way. Make sure you’re catering to everyone in your organization and guiding them as much as possible as you navigate these new tools together.
“Some of the biggest things that I see people making mistakes on and some of the biggest misconceptions in terms of Microsoft adoption is they fail to plan early enough and fail to cover all of those different roles that they have within a company.“
Program Manager, Microsoft
“It’s really important to keep it sufficiently simple and move things in an incremental process so that you can take your users along with you.”
Founder of Kinata Ltd. (@simonjhudson)
Educate end users
When users first log into Microsoft 365, they’ll be confronted with a wide range of tools—some they’ve seen before, and some that are totally new. So what are they likely to do?
Nine times out of ten, they’ll go straight for the software they’re used to and continue working the same way they always have. In which case, they’ll miss out on many of the features that make cloud computing so great in the first place!
Teach your users about key Microsoft 365 concepts
Did you know there are 20 ways to create a Microsoft 365 group? If your users don’t know what they’re doing, you could see the number of groups in your tenant spiral out of control fast.
End user education is one of the crucial components of successful Microsoft 365 adoption in the workplace—especially if self-service features are enabled. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can go about educating your users.
Many companies have experienced success publishing internal content that explains the change in IT and breaks down best practices to help everyone work effectively. Smaller organizations might prefer to rely on in-person training, team meetings, or informal chats.
Microsoft’s Microsoft 365 Training Center is a treasure trove of resources designed to help everyone in your organization make proper, productive use of the tools available to them.
Products over people
People are at the heart of your organization, so don’t forget about them! When you’re making the switch to Microsoft 365, it’s essential to bring your people along with you.
Make sure to account for the different ways that people learn so you can ensure that everyone has a solid understanding of the new systems in place and how they fit into them.
“Different people are gonna have different ways of learning as well. So some people are gonna be very visual video, some might like audio, and some people like the kinetic side that’s the doing.“
Owner of iThink365
“More features without understanding what it is that the users, or the process, or the outcome needs to be is a mistake. Focus on the intersections between people and the outcomes you want, not on the technology of the features that they can give.“
Founder of Kinata Ltd. (@simonjhudson)
Set clear guidelines
To ensure high user adoption, you need to define how you expect your users to interact with Microsoft 365.
This could be as simple as designating which tool to use for different tasks: i.e. Outlook for emails, Teams for chat, OneDrive for file storage. Apps in Microsoft 365 have a lot of overlapping functions, so it’s important to be clear how you want your users to negotiate this.
It’s also important to establish how you want them to use each individual tool.
Consider setting guidelines for:
- Who can create Microsoft 365 groups and Microsoft teams
- Sharing files with external users
- Naming new groups and teams
Adoption has an end date
One of the biggest misconceptions Microsoft experts are seeing around adoption is that it stops at some point. In reality, adoption is an ongoing process. Now that you’re in the cloud, change is inevitable, so people need consistent guidance as things shift and change within your organization.
“Adoption stops at some point. Like, it’s like a project. What’s the start date and an end date? There’s no end date to adoption because the changes keep coming through the cloud, and we have to keep communicating and encouraging people to try them out to see the benefits. So, there is no endpoint to adoption.“
Microsoft 365 Adoption and Change Management MVP
Monitor and improve
Organizations often find that user adoption declines after the first few weeks and months of usage. Once the novelty of new technology wears off, users get frustrated by not knowing how to complete basic tasks, and steadily fall back to their tried and tested habits.
To maintain high user adoption, you need to monitor usage over a long period of time. This will allow you to build a clear picture of which users are following best practices, and in which places.
Activity reports in Microsoft 365 can help with this by showing you how different people are using the various services in Microsoft 365. That way, you can easily identify where further guidance and education is required.
With more tools at your fingertips than ever, keeping up with the latest in the world of Microsoft is a full-time job in itself. Luckily, that’s what we do best.
Whether you’re looking to develop a Microsoft 365 governance plan or empower effective collaboration across your organization, we’ve got you covered.
Dig into our Expert Roundup series: