By Allison Maguire, Principal, Engage for Change Consulting 

COVID-19 has created a critical need to move to virtual ways of working for organisations across the globe. Many of those organisations have rapidly enabled remote working with the powerful toolset that makes up Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). 

So you’ve got your entire staff up and running online, a huge accomplishment! 

Now what? 

For many this has been a significant investment, in a short period of time, with a narrow focus, and in response to a critical need. Microsoft 365 (M365) comprises a powerful toolset, with broad functionality, how can we ensure we get a real return on investment? 

You have likely already started by enabling critical activities your organisation requires to keep moving forward — addressing bandwidth constraints, remote access, collaborative remote teams— in the near term.  

In the long term, you want to ensure that not only are you enabling core business processes, but that you’re optimizing them. For example, helping those remote teams work effectively together, supporting innovation and business resiliency for the long term. 

Transformative Power 

Microsoft 365 provides a robust platform for transforming the way we work. It allows colleagues to work collaboratively in ways they may never have before. It connects staff no matter where they are, with the key information that they need. 

Knowledge shared may be explicit and codified in the form of data, documents, and online conversations. Or it might be tacit, meaning it resides in the heads of the experts and colleagues that can help them. 

Strategic Imperative 

Getting value from Microsoft 365 requires an understanding of your current cultural and organisational readiness for change and how the toolset will serve as an enabler of your business goals. 

With a focus on these 2 areas, you will ensure M365 is: 

  • Strategically aligned with business goals 
  • Helps colleagues with their daily work 
  • Viewed by colleagues as a vital tool 
  • Has increasing and continued participation and maturing use 

What happens if I do nothing? 

As with any technology change initiative, it is not “build it and they will come”.   

Without strategic planning, and guidance, most colleagues will continue to use the familiar Office tools in a limited manner and engage only lightly with new collaborative tools. By mapping use of the toolset to compelling and tangible business objectives, colleagues are more vested in adopting the new tools and ways of working. 

Without clearly defined governance processes, roles and responsibilities, work will be inefficient, efforts may be duplicated, and information and ways of working with the new platform may not be trusted. You need upfront governance planning and clear processes to support ongoing adoption, or you risk creating an ineffective “wild west” of knowledge creation which benefits no one. 

Without an intentional adoption plan, aimed at maturing your audience of colleagues over time, participation and effective use of the tools may drop off. This is where the creation of a network of engaged Champions could really aid in sustained value creation. 

Do not orphan your investment in M365 

According to KPMG research published 2019, 80 percent of revenue growth will hinge on digital offerings and operations by 2022. That research was published pre-COVID, so imagine how much more focused that competitive need has become!  

It’s vital that you don’t let the innovation end with just the implementation of remote working with M365. 365Tribe has partnered with Allison Maguire, a leading Future of Work Strategist, to develop a series of tactical,  modular workshop programmes to help you on your way to maximizing your investment in M365. Check them out today!