In an excerpt from our ebook, we explain how your business can get started with Office 365, and why email and legacy tools aren’t enough.

Whether you are in the early stages of exploring and testing or have already launched the platform, it’s important to understand how to get started with Office 365 so employees actually use it.

If not, you risk overwhelming them with new features that may cause confusion and frustration. Even worse, employees could revert back to using familiar “free” tools. Or, they may stick to what they already know – email, word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools.

Make the most of your investment – and take it beyond email – by learning what the workplace collaboration platform can do for you and how to get started with Office 365.

Why Adoption Stops At Email

Implementing the full functionality of Office 365 requires a longer period of planning, discovery, and change management to understand how your business can effectively use these tools and make them the fabric of your company culture.

Many organizations start and stop with email because Microsoft makes it easy to migrate existing emails, calendars, and shared files. But also because it takes more time and effort to change mindsets so your employees embrace a collaborative work environment.

 What are the most common reasons for stopping at email? This is what we hear from clients:

  • Don’t know what else the platform can do.
  • Not sure how to use it to solve specific problems.
  • Unclear about what tools and features are a fit for the business.
  • Want to measure email adoption before adding new tools.
  • Need to migrate shared files and sites before introducing other tools.
  • Email migration was easy to implement and predictable.
  • Email migration was a quick activity with a clear return on investment.

By stopping at email, you miss an opportunity to get employees excited about how the platform’s social, collaboration and workflow capabilities can help them do their job in a seamless, faster way.

Another common reason employees fail to see the value in the Office 365 toolset: All the free tools available to them.

The Cost of “Free” Tools

There’s no question – free tools are appealing to employees. Not only are they easy-to-use and already a part of their personal lives, but free options are tempting because they don’t involve working with company IT teams. Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive – all those are simple, “secure” tools in the eyes of a user, and don’t require IT to setup, manage or approve.

But “free” can come with a price. Free tools are great until you realize the risk you’re introducing into your organization.

First, it’s hard to govern content exchanged in these tools. Many of these tools require a paid subscription to manage and govern. Individuals may have visibility into their content, but the organizations responsible for it do not.

Second, it’s easy to slide down a slippery slope when it comes to intellectual property exposure, legal content management and compliance. Personal information stolen, compromised or hacked is one thing, but corporate theft could mean significant exposure in the market.

Finally, free tools often create support and licensing issues for operational teams. In an attempt to keep business flexible, IT will license some departments to cover the governance and management of enterprise-level capabilities. Other departments may be licensed for something altogether different. In the end, IT may need to manage multiple tools, disparate governance and fractured compliance.

The good news is this – if you’ve licensed Office 365, you already have a set of tools that are on par with many of these free document collaboration tools. In addition, you have visibility into corporate use of content and sharing. Finally, you may already have sophisticated rights protection, and automated information protection.

If you want your employees to adopt this secure and compliant platform, you must help them see the value. Show them that the “free” tools only offer a stripped-down version of features they’ve grown to rely on in the Office suite. Remind them about this bonus piece: They only have to use one system to do it all.

Getting Started

To get started with Office 365, you need to fully understand capabilities of each tool in the suite to determine which tools will work for your organization. 

Organizations we work with often complain that Office 365 has too much overlap in features and functions, which confuses users. Here are some examples of where confusion takes place:

  • I need to collaborate with a group of people on a project – Should I use Teams or Groups or Yammer? Or, is it better to use a SharePoint team site?
  • I want to schedule a weekly conference call with my team – Should I use Skype for Business or Teams?
  • I want to store my own files in Office 365 – Do I use OneDrive or SharePoint or both?

Because we know choosing the right tools and features can have a big impact on adoption, we want to help eliminate confusion and bring clarity.

In our ebook,“Go Beyond Email with Office 365: How to Drive Adoption of a Collaborative Digital Workplace,” we look through the lens of the things people do every day – communicate, collaborate, store files, author and create content, and hold meetings – to gain perspective on the most important and valuable capabilities in Office 365 as well as those that are complex or just not ready. 

Download the Ebook