Buying new software and getting money with it, it almost sounds too good to be true. Yet, it may become a reality when purchasing Microsoft software like Skype for Business or Office 365. For many years, Microsoft has been offering Business Incentive Funds (BIF) to customers to support project expenses. You can use the funds, often in the form of credits or vouchers, to hire third-party consultants to help you successfully roll out Skype for Business or Office 365 within your organization. It proofs that Microsoft considers user adoption as a key factor in the success of their software. In this blog, I will tell you more about why and how Microsoft pays for Skype for Business or Office 365 adoption and rollout.
Prioritizing user adoption
The role of IT within the organization is changing, and Microsoft responds to this by supporting IT in their new role. Whereas their focus used to be solely on the technical part, IT should nowadays proactively engage with the business to improve operations and performance. Critical in achieving business value is user adoption. Research suggests that ultimately, software usage and success is much higher when end-users are aware of the new tool and its features and benefits and know how to use it effectively. That’s why Microsoft is prioritizing user adoption and encourages customers to do the same. Next, to onboarding assistance and rollout plans, Microsoft offers funding to hire external consultants that can help drive user adoption.
Microsoft success approach
Microsoft’s onboarding and adoption assistance is based on a 3-phase-model. Below I will explain these 3 phases:
In the Envision phase, you make a plan for successful rollout. First, you need to identify key stakeholders. These are adoption enablers from various departments and layers within your organization. Then you define your vision: how might new ways of working impact your organization? You will also want to delve deeper into current challenges, strategies and goals to identify relevant business scenarios and opportunities to improve work processes. A core scenario could be to bring teams together or get work done from anywhere. Lastly, you need to make a plan for activities that drive user adoption. Think of communications, events and training. To measure the success of your Envision program, you should formulate SMART goals.
The next phase is about onboarding new users and capabilities by your IT team. Microsoft or third-party consultants can help you prepare your technical infrastructure for the new software. You may have to interconnect different enterprise (collaboration) tools with each other to enable users to work seamlessly. Interoperability of, for example, Skype for Business with other video conferencing or telepresence software may raise some challenges. But with the help of the true experts, you can get it done. Furthermore, you need to ensure a smooth migration experience from the current to the new software. For example, transfer data to the new tool. Finally, you need to enable new users and capabilities.
You can generate more value with resources that help drive user adoption across the organization. First, you need to boost user engagement and drive adoption. Since learning via co-workers is one of the most efficient ways of training, you should appoint ambassadors that promote the new software among colleagues. Drive awareness with clear communication and promotion that shows people how they can benefit from the software. If people understand how it is going to help them, they will be more motivated to learn and use it. A launch event, for example, could really boost engagement. You should also provide end users with sufficient training and support. Microsoft offers a wide variety of resources to help you with this. Success plans, training content, road maps and more are accessible to customers through Microsoft FastTrack.
First aid with user adoption
Even though Microsoft offers a lot of support and resources, software user adoption might not really be up your alley. To get the best results, you may want to leave it in the reliable hands of the professionals. At Duppal, we help both national and international companies to get the most out of Skype for Business or Office 365. We can support you with project set-up, project coordination, business process alignment and user adoption. And the best part is, that you can get Microsoft to pay for (part of) those services! Curious as to how this works? Feel free to give me a call! In the meantime, you can start studying the topic by downloading the whitepaper below.