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 

UK government pays £5.5m penalty for not listening to Microsoft

UK Government pays £5.5m to Microsoft
£5.5m says UK government should have taken Microsoft seriously about XP

Imagine you’re at an important hospital appointment and you’re kept waiting because the scanner, which potentially cost £100K, needs a re-boot. And then you discover it’s driven by Windows XP which is no longer supported by Microsoft. That would be insane wouldn’t it?

Sadly not. It’s a true story and it’s probably just the tip of the iceberg across the NHS. Just how big a problem it is we don’t know because, as The Register discovered, the Department of Health doesn’t actually know the penetration of XP amongst its million PCs spread across GP surgeries, trusts, hospitals and other organisations. An estimate from healthcare specialists EHI Intelligence back in September 2013 put the penetration of NHS PCs running XP at 85%. Its survey suggests that NHS managers were keeping their fingers crossed that either Microsoft would change its mind or some sort of deal would be done. Fortunately for them, the government was able to finalise a deal with Microsoft for its public sector users – but only for a year, only for security updates for XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 and at a cost of around £5.5m. As people are wont to ask in such situations, how many nurses could that have paid for?

For many bodies such as the Metropolitan Police and HM Revenue and Customs, migrating away from XP will be completed by the end of the year. But it’s all a bit late and reeks of panic. The government’s central purchasing agency, the Crown Commercial Service, is putting on a brave face and claiming that its deal with Microsoft is saving the government £20m by centralising negotiations – but why has it had to happen in the first place?

“We see it as a serious case of hiding behind the sofa and hoping it will all go away,” says Rich. “Windows XP was born 13 years ago – that makes it venerable in technology terms. It can’t last forever.”

Microsoft has been flagging up the end of life for years and offering assistance in moving on. Yet it seems to have come as a surprise to many that’s it’s been true to its word. “Either they thought that the sheer numbers of XP users still out there would be persuasive in getting XP’s life extended or it’s an example of poor management”, says Rich Talbot, Trainer at Best STL. The NHS story suggests the latter. “We can’t even sigh and say that this is what happens in large public bodies, because organisations in every commercial space from small to large have missed the deadline too,” adds Rich.

Best STL hears grumbles about the greedy face of business forcing businesses to spend money when they can least afford it. Is Microsoft being fair in withdrawing support? Let’s look at its arguments.

  • Security issues leading to compliance risks. Security is definitely one of the biggest issues facing organisations today and Microsoft claims that an ageing OS can’t be protected sufficiently well. If that’s true, it’s important. And if organisations continue to use an operating system without updating security they will suffer. It’s quite likely that there’s a huge amount of malware silently sitting on XP systems today waiting to be initiated by attackers to steal data and devastate businesses. Even if the worst doesn’t happen, failing to comply with ever-tightening financial regulations is asking for huge financial penalties and loss of face.
  • Lack of ISV and hardware manufacturers’ support. Microsoft quotes Gartner research on its web site, arguing that a growing number of ISVs won’t support XP with new versions of their software and that manufacturers won’t support XP on their new PCs. On the other hand, one of the reasons that organisations may be holding back from upgrading is that they don’t know if their current legacy applications will work on Windows 7 or 8 or Linux or something else. Where there are specialised applications like the driver for that scanner, this could well be true – but, as Rich says, it’s time that someone found out.
  • Greater productivity with newer versions of Windows and Office. “Yes, it’s possibly true but it’s a very general claim and depends on your needs,” comments Rich. “We can all recognise this as marketing puffery.”

Is there an alternative argument that Microsoft is being harsh on government and businesses in times of economic difficulty? “We don’t think so,” says Rich. “The global financial crisis began over six years ago. How long can we keep claiming poverty? In any case, if the likes of Microsoft stopped driving for profitability, where would be the development that we all really need?”

So here’s the quandary. Microsoft is insisting that there will be no help beyond this final year for anyone. That’s hardly surprising and managers really need to avoid the temptation to sign up for the year and then promptly hide their heads again. So what’s the bottom line? Says Rich “If you’re running any applications on XP that are business-critical you need to take action now because lack of security and compliance are a real threat. If you’re driving important apps – such as that scanner – with XP then while security might not be your priority, lack of day-to-day support that puts the equipment out of action could be.”

Are you concerned about upgrading to a new version of Windows – we can help with migration and training for individuals and organisations contact us for more information.