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Office 365 is Microsoft’s fastest growing commercial product ever, reports writer Paul Rubens in a recent CIO article. This news is important for Microsoft’s future, naturally, but it’s also significant for IT leaders.

Office 365 is positioned as a productivity booster — use it to work more efficiently, in teams or solo, anywhere at any time. It’s still Microsoft and it’s still Office, which most end users know well. But it’s also much more. Office 365 represents that “new world of work” people are talking about. For organizations and business users, a migration to Office 365 is the start of a comprehensive work process change.

To get the most out of an Office 365 investment, IT leaders need to ensure not only that their users make it through the initial learning curve of a migration, but also that they begin to change behaviors and incorporate the software’s new tools and functionality into their daily routines. This requires careful planning.

One of the first steps is getting users to understand why they should adopt new processes. If their methods aren’t broken, why should they change them?

In a recent blog post, Vitalyst training and recruiting director Joe Puckett suggested introducing collaboration technology such as Office 365 as an augmentation rather than a revolution. “Big changes tend to provoke big resistance,” he wrote. “Small changes elicit less opposition.”

Small changes can include pilot groups, use of early adopters to spread the word, and training for core features. Even something as minor as collaborating with OneNote for a single project can have an impact.

One of the first steps is getting users to understand why they should adopt new processes. If their methods aren’t broken, why should they change them?

Examples of small steps include:

  • Encourage end-users to share files via links to OneDrive for Business instead of as email attachments. Everyone works on a single file that’s stored in a secure location, is backed up, and is accessible from almost any device. Version control problems are eliminated, as is content mayhem.
  • Suggest use of OneNote within Outlook to keep track of meeting notes. Instead of writing notes on paper, or in other applications, end users can open the meeting occurrence, and click the Meeting Notes button to record ideas and tasks. Notes can be shared, collaborated on, and synced easily across devices and platforms.

As end users begin to understand and appreciate the new functionality’s value, and if they continue to learn how to use extended features and tools, adoption will increase.

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