Upgrading to Office 365 – Managing the Changeover

changing to Office 365

Office 365 has more applications, as well as faster and more collaborative ways to work and communicate than ever before.  There are both online and desktop versions available for most of the apps. Office 365 also offers amazing new tools and features. Are you upgrading to Office 365 but finding that managing the changeover is tricky? 

Change brings challenges

The end user is often the last stakeholder to be considered when a business makes the change to Office 365. How do end users normally feel about the decision made by the business to make the software upgrade?

Upgrading to Office 365

When any business undergoes periods of change, there will be a sense of uncertainty and hesitancy amongst the staff. The leaders of the business need to address these issues before they become concerns.

The solution is the pairing of training and support from Management. This will see any project through from the initial announcement through to its delivery and execution.

The business needs to address the following  key areas to ensure that the emotional and practical needs of the workforce are met. Implementing these steps, the business will deliver on employees’ expectations.

COMMUNICATING THE CHANGE

End users will be moving to the Cloud with Office 365. For a lot of people, this could be a major change to how they work, depending on what they do. The management team needs to communicate the plan clearly and manage the change effectively. This will ensure a smooth transition.

Management also needs to communicate the reasons for the change.  Keep the staff informed of the milestones of the journey and the dates when the key changes will be taking place.

WHAT does EFFECTIVE END USER TRAINING LOOK LIKE?

People often ask, ‘What exactly is Microsoft Office 365?’ The simple answer is secure access to cloud based email, calendars, websites and Office applications, anytime, anywhere.

A common misconception is that Office 365 is complex, technical and hard to learn. To address this, the business needs to provide a comprehensive training programme to ensure that all staff become confident and efficient end users.

The best approach is to use a blend of practical instructor led workshops where delegates will be shown how to access and use a variety of apps and functionalities in order to maximise the adoption of Office 365.

The training should take place a considered, inclusive, and safe environment.  The delegates’ learning needs to be supported with plenty of time allotted for questions, demonstrations and practice.

POST TRAINING SUPPORT

Many businesses and training providers fall into the trap of not providing enough floorwalking support in the post training phase of Office 365 deployments. Having this extra degree of support once users are in a ‘live’ environment can make a real difference in meeting the needs of end users. It will guarantee a smooth transition as users embrace and fully adopt the new technology.

By always keeping in mind the emotional and practical needs of staff during a period of major change, with the right layers of support, end users will eventually start using the technology to its full potential, allowing the business to prosper.

Upgrading to Office 365 and managing the changeover can be tricky but effective management and training will ensure a successful roll-out.

More STL Blogs on Office 365:

 

15 Reasons Your Business Should be Using Office 365 

The Secret to Creating a High Performing Team

The Secret to High Performing Teams: Do I have a High Performing Team?

The aim of any manager should be to create an effective team, also known as an HPT (High Performing Team). After all, the performance of a team reflects upon whom? Technically, everyone, but the manager or leader of the team in particular! So there are vested interests all round.

The Secret to High Performing Teams
The Secret to High Performing Teams

If you have succeeded in turning your team into a high performing one, well done you, but there are 2 key questions to consider: Firstly, how did you get there?

To answer this, please refer to Tuckman’s Theory of Team Development. Secondly, you think you’ve managed to create one, but how do you know for certain that you have? Has your team earned the HPT title?

To help you with this, let’s identify the key characteristics of a High Performing Team:
Goals

All team members are clear about the shared goals, which are sold as challenging but achievable. The team is highly productive; these goals are achieved and often exceeded.

Roles are defined

Each team member knows where they fit into the team and what they bring to it.

Strengths & weaknesses

Team members are aware of these. They learn from experiences and support each other, maximising strengths and minimising or eradicating weaknesses.

Communication

There is a relaxed climate for communication – people are direct, open and honest with each other. Team members share feedback, both positive and constructive, and conflicts can be resolved internally. Or, even better, avoided altogether!

Interdependence

There is a high level of interdependence amongst the team members. They work on important tasks together and teamwork and commitment are vital for achieving results.

Results

Members know they can influence the results of the whole team. They know they are part of a team that is made up of more than the sum of the individuals.

Trust

People develop mutual trust with each other. They believe that others have skills and capabilities which contribute to the team effort. They enjoy working together, which helps to build the team spirit. We’re in this together and we can do it!

Leadership

The manager has good people skills and is committed to developing a good team atmosphere (a nice place to work?). He/she acts as a ‘cheerleader’ for the team. Also, team members are encouraged to step up and demonstrate leadership when their skills and experiences are relevant to the needs of the team.

Creativity & innovation

Team members are encouraged to come up with new ideas, which are followed up and shared with the rest of the team. These ideas also assist the team’s internal mechanisms for decision making and problem-solving.

Risk-taking

Team members are prepared to take risks within established parameters. They feel able to develop their skills and abilities in a safe environment.

Conclusion

What have we learnt? The above list is not exhaustive, but if you can recognise these key characteristics within your own team, then well done. You may already have a high performing team, or are at least well on the way to creating one. If any of the above qualities are clearly lacking from your team, then this represents a development area for you and the team.

Once a high performing team has been created, some managers like to sit back and put their feet up. Understandable, but remember to keep an eye on things.

Creating an HPT is one thing, but maintaining that position can be just as challenging, if not more so. Good luck!