Tutankhamun and Office 365 – The hidden treasures
by John Filippis, Strategic Engagement Manager, Quorum
“…As my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.” ― Howard Carter, Tomb of Tutankhamen
Those immortal words from Richard Carter on the 4th of November 1922 as he peered into a hole in a rock that unveiled a new insight into an old and foreign world. The final resting place of Tutankhamen had bathed in darkness, totally suspended in time and untouched for 3245 years. Howard Carter’s response as he gazed into the foreign world for the first time provided me with the context of how to look at today’s topic; Office 365.
Can’t see the association ? I don’t blame you as its somewhat oblique, but hear me out.
For most organisations the transition to Microsoft Office 365 (O365) encompasses wonder, amazement and the promise of a new world. Much like how Carter peered through a hole in time to discover the wonderful things that came to him, slowly as he adjusted his eyes to the treasure trove that he has just transported himself into. So too is the journey to O365, but without the ancient golden bling.
You see the first foray into Office 365 for most people is likely something like..“isn’t it just office in the cloud??”; but only after looking deeper into this new world that one starts to see the full scope of what one has in front of them.
On one of my recent “archaeological” digs through the vast information on O365, I did a bit of a Howard Carter and came across a discovery of my own that I wanted to share. This discovery came in the form of a blog from Kirsty McGrath, Managing Director of OnPoint Solutions and Quorum’s Office 365 Adoption Partner. The link to her blog is below:
Kirsty argues that people just don’t “get” O365 and as such are unable to fully maximise its benefits for their organisation. Kirsty posted an amazing infographic in her blog on how O365 is constructed and how it all interrelates. I thought that this was one of the best ways to visualise what O365 has to offer (see the infographic below):
The wheel showcases just how diverse and capable O365 really is and just like any sophisticated tool, it needs the appropriate skill to get the most from it. Being the inquisitive type I decided to reach out to the guru herself and talk O365 over a coffee to learn some more about her creation,O365 and why adoption matters.
JF: Kirsty, I really love the graphic that you created for O365. What was the inspiration ?
KM: Whenever I was performing a workshop or conducting Office 365 training I was opening the ‘client’ environment and then my own personal Enterprise Office 365 to showcase the possibilities. It was difficult giving them a high-level perspective of Office 365. I tried a multitude of ways, e.g. lists online but they were cumbersome. I had seen and used some other infographics but they were either outdated or only showed limited features making it difficult to break each component of Office 365 down into usable chunks for the end-user (it’s a damn big platform).. It’s very difficult to get people excited when they don’t even know where to start. Users needed something simple and digestible.
JF: In your blog you stated that the average rate of adoption is around 10% for O365. Why do you think it is so low ? Do people not get it ? Do they not know what to do with it ? Or are they just stuck in a 90’s mindset about what “Office” is used for ?
KM: Often the low usage is not the user’s fault. It all comes down to the reason that it is being rolled out to users or the communications, change management and training strategy. It’s always a source of frustration for me as Office 365 is often purchased for its back-end servers in the cloud e.g. Outlook and the rest of the functionality just sits there unused (such a waste of an amazing product). The most common thing I hear from IT Projects is ‘They will use it, they have it at home! Or….’We will just tell them they have it and they can work it out’. No, they don’t work it out, most users don’t even understand what Office 365 is compared to their everyday Office 2016. Users are also often not even told they have Office 365 as part of their organisations environment. I’ve just had one team who after a year has come to me saying they didn’t do any training and have extremely low usage. Ultimately, users don’t know what they don’t know, education is the key.
JF: Where do organisations normally start their journey with O365 ? And why do you think they start there?
KM: The Office 365 journey is usually starting these days with OneDrive, It used to be Outlook (this has been used by many now for some time). Having 1TB of cloud storage where users can access their information anywhere, anytime with simple collaboration is the biggest ‘ah ha’ for users. It is such a timesaver for users, it makes for easy access to their documents, has the best cost reduction on storage for the organisation and usually the biggest sources of IT complaints in the past e.g. VPN in to get to documents.
JF: Many organisations seem to think that O365 is a money saving exercise and use the ROI instrument to state its case. I personally believe that ROI is a blunt instrument for accountants that short changes what benefits could be had. The return that organisations can extract from fully leveraging tools like O365 is orders of magnitude higher than any stated cost saving. What are your thoughts?
KM: Without a doubt, there is more than money on the line when we look at the current issues an organisation has with their way of working/technology platforms/devices etc. For many years I’ve heard and also peronsally lived the constraints of on-premise solutions. Enabling a user to work in their preferential style makes a huge difference to satisfaction, a more qualitative rather than quantitative measure. I recently had a client whose satisfaction survey based on their current working environment was so low it was having a massive impact. They were facing so many business process/people roadblockers they were losing good employees. To see users excited by a new way of working, enabling the integration of personal lives as well business lives to flourish and innovate has so many qualitative benefits which are a little harder to measure.
JF: Do you believe that organisations have any particular end game with O365 ? Or do they just “plod” along without any clear objectives of what they want to achieve with it?
KM: In my experience, there is a mixed bag of objectives. It’s rare I don’t see Office 365 classed as an IT Project which causes all sorts of issues. Its often communicated to me (and would also seem) they are moving to the latest, most cost effective and best tool kit available but it’s rare they have a digital transformation objective, or a even a vision of where they are going. Starting from a vision is so vital! They roll out the technology, expecting users to just come to the party because it’s fancy. They often don’t even know the extent of how the product can be used themselves therefore can’t communicate an great objective to users. I know I’ve even purchased the latest bells and whistles (top of the line cooker) and then it’s sat in a draw as I really didn’t know why I needed it or how to use it in the first place! Where was my own vision here haha.
JF: And have you worked with anyone that is looking to measure and define key indicators of productivity measurement that they are working towards achieving? If not, why ?
KM: So far, not many even consider it. I’ve been working with partners and their organisations to ensure that they set key adoption success indicators to know if they hit their objectives and goals. This gives them some amazing insights into their organisation, team and their own personal user behaviour and where to focus adoption/productivity efforts. Why purchase something if you can’t quantify and/or qualify in the long run if it was successful! Productivity is often seen as a ‘buzz’ word with no clear metrics or KPIs around it. Who owns this? HR? Do you have a person who focuses purely on this? Often it is sitting with IT which makes no sense. Many cannot answer this well.
JF: What role does Change Management and proper user training play here in changing the equation around adoption?
KM:It’s the most vital component of Office 365. At least half the budget for an Office 365 rollout should be attributed to an Adoption program which includes a robust Change Manqagement, Communications and Training plan. I’ve seen some great change management programs with no training! I hear again and again, we have no (or very little) budget for Change Management or Training. Crazy! The rule of thumb is it goes Process, People & then technology. What process does it change for the user (giving them their ‘ah ha’ moment if you do good training to solve a known issue or current roadblocker), how does the user shift to what’s familiar, similar or new (also backed up by training or it just won’t be used) and what technology supports this new way of working (how many people just use their mobile phone for basics and how can they be mobile for example). Office 365 is all about Change. This is a people project. Be careful of Change Fatigue! They need to plan their adoption strategy well.
JF: What do you see as the biggest mistake that organisations make with O365?
KM: Oh good question and I could go for a really long time on this one haha. I would break it down to the following mistakes
1: No vision
2: Don’t know the product to even communicate benefits to the business
3: Break the solution by turning off key features the user needs, which leads them to go around the technology to do their ‘own thing’. They haven’t supported the preferential style of working.
4: Roll the solution out piece by piece turning on workloads one at a time. Good for IT but dreadful for user experience. It breaks collaboration and communication as the Office 365 solution is very integrated as a platform. How do you show users to work collaboratively on a OneNote Notebook when they haven’t even got OneDrive/Sharepoint turned on. It’ becomes stand alone.
5: No Training! A big one. I have organisations come to me again and again saying users aren’t using the solution they have provided. I always ask, did you do training, and I can guarantee the answer is ‘NO’ A core miss for any Office 365 program.They don’t set up a robust Office 365 Champion program. The best user support, learning and knowledge comes from those internally who are key influences and motivators. Nominating people to ‘help’ just won’t work.
I’ll stop there! Dr Nitin Paranjabe has a great list of ‘Worst Practices’:
JF: If you could give someone a “golden” piece of advice around O365, what would it be ?
KM: Leave no user behind! Build a robust Adoption Strategy with the right resources to support an Office 365 program. Bring the user on a great journey or you will spend 2-3xs the amount of money later fixing up failed programs.
With Kirsty’s final response firmly jammed into my OneDrive via my O365 version of Word, I sat and thought about it a little more… Kirsty makes a good point. Even though I use many aspects of O365 every day (probably more than most) I still don’t consider myself to be anywhere near “fully enabled”. As a result there are certainly tasks in my day that I could do in O365 that would make me more efficient by using components like Flow, Stream, Delve, Teams, Sway, Planner and a lot more.
But I am not doing it…however I know I should. It is so important to keep searching for new avenues and learning to challenge the status quo in the way you do things. Howard Carter never gave up on searching in the valley of the Kings and because of this, he was able to uncover the glorious lost treasures of King Tutankhamun.
So grab a shovel and start digging into that O365 stack right now…and just like Howard Carter who knows what “wonderful things” you might dig up!!