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Top three things to know when moving to Office 365

  • Posted on March 15, 2017
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The following blog post was co-authored by Tom Hoglund, Executive, and Brad Gephart, Senior Director, of Platforms and Offerings.

Microsoft’s ‘cloud first’ strategy has helped propel Office 365 (O365) into becoming Microsoft’s fastest growing commercial product to date. The latest research conducted by the Digital Workplace Group (DWG) found that almost half (48 percent) of businesses around the world are already using it, with an increase of 15 percent expected in the coming year.

Breaking down the Barriers

A cloud first strategy has meant that a lot of the initial barriers to entry, which organizations faced five or so years ago, have fallen by the wayside. Microsoft has invested heavily in removing initial feature shortcomings of Office 365 and also addressed security concerns that potential customers had. O365 has become a solid foundation which organizations can leverage and build upon to realize their digital workplace visions.

So if you're an organization considering the shift over to Office 365, here are the top three things you should know before making the move:

  1. Plan beyond just the implementation of O365

It's one thing to roll out a new technology like Office 365, but it's another to ensure it is being adopted fully across the organization. Our goal for our clients once they deploy Office 365 is to make sure they're maximizing their adoption and making the most of their investment in the platform.

For clients to stay on top of this can be a challenge in itself, but ultimately they have to recognize the ever-green nature of things and the rapid evolution of the platform: there's an on-going life cycle management consideration that all clients need to be aware of to avoid becoming stagnant. It's not just about focusing on new features coming out, but about blending these features thus providing a more integrated experience in support of modern work styles. In Office 365, we not only makes sure our clients are prepared to adopt the software in a timely fashion, but also that they can continually adopt more features of the product as they look to solve some of their business challenges while at the same time ensuring value to the business.

  1. Even with infrastructure outsourced, there are still things you need to manage

When you've been used to working on-premise, moving to the cloud introduces a lot of variables that can potentially impact performance, especially when going through and conducting proper cloud readiness assessments for instance. But it’s very important to monitor the quality and continuity of service. And that doesn’t just refer to the Office 365 backend service. For example, for a company that has hundreds of sites and locations (each with their own local area networks and firewalls) you want to make sure that the business experience stays consistent. If not, end users may not use tools in the way you want them to.

As a result, it’s vital that IT teams understand the entire end-to-end digital ‘network’ and all the things in-between. You don’t want outages or performance degradation, and so with a distributed workforce you need to ensure that a resilient employee experience is provided.

  1. Unlock the real value: configure the technology to enable new ways of working

The third and final thing to consider is about how to use Office 365 tools in the context of your company – and how people work in your company to make them better at what they do. It's not just about installing the tools necessary and hoping your employees use them to be productive, it's about how they could use the entire collection of tools available to them to solve business problems. These can include anything from mobile apps and wearables to HoloLens (with many of these tools being able to link with O365). For example, if you put these tools together and ensure they are tailored to specific key workforces in your company while offering a consistent UX, then they can really drive incremental productivity and effectiveness in what they are doing, whether that's  supporting customers in the field, bringing new products to market faster or selling more.

While it has been a long time coming, no one can deny that the move to the cloud is happening at a much faster rate than initially anticipated. Office 365 allows organizations to consume productivity services from the leading provider, and create innovative digital tools and experiences that differentiate their business. While moving everything to the cloud on Day One is not realistic for most, it is important that the company has a clear vision and roadmap on how to get there as their requirements are met. But by taking the initial steps and understanding the benefits to the business and user, organizations will be able to embrace being a part of a digital workplace.

Learn more about how Avanade helped Henkel reinvent productivity by moving to Office 365.

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