When I meet with prospective clients, they are often surprised to learn that the key to a successful Office 365 deployment lies just as much in the hands of their users as it does with the technical team. Some of the most common pitfalls we see to successful Office 365 deployments are not around technical issues but rather on user adoption and not having a plan for change management.
Pitfall 1: Non-Structured or Non-Existent Migration Communication Plan
When you are impacting systems as prevalent and business critical as email, it is important to devise a plan that delivers clear and regular information to your employees. Your communications plan should be a part of your migration plan, starting well before your first mailbox is moved and going well after.
Prior to migration, outline changes your employees can expect to see and by when, making sure to emphasize key benefits. Try to address any questions they will have on how they will be impacted and who to contact with any questions. During migration, keep them apprised of progress and any potential issues you have encounter that will impact them. After migration, highlight exciting features and changes along with training schedules.
Pitfall 2: Unprepared Helpdesk Staff
Your helpdesk staff is typically the first line of contact for issues your users may have. A well-trained team can make all the difference in the experience your employees have with a new system. Forecast quantity and content of potential helpdesk requests to ensure responsiveness and quality of user experience through the migration and as they learn to use new tools. Make sure to define the level-of-support helpdesk will be required to provide and the process for escalation to an Office 365 expert for second tier support.
Pitfall 3: Misaligned User Expectations or Training
To manage expectations of your team, we recommend training executives and key users to become Office 365 champions. Employees who are internal influencers and drivers of corporate perception will be essential to have on-board with the migration.
Everyone learns differently and it is important to have a variety of materials to educate your team. Provide quick reference sheets, schedule train the trainer sessions, and create on-demand videos, for example. Make sure to periodically scheduled Q&A sessions for those soon to be migrated or to address post-migration questions.
The more you prepare to provide the right communications and support at the right times, the more you will increase your chances of deployment success and user adoption. Have you considered change management as a part of your large projects?