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Microsoft has steadily worked toward making Office more intuitive since officially launching it in 1990. Over the years, the company has added a wealth of new features, retired many that had outlived their usefulness, and shuffled and shifted countless more features in its quest for ease of use. The Office of today, Office 365, is a study in evolution that began with three applications and a somewhat clunky interface, and grew into an application-heavy, feature-rich product designed with the end-user in mind.

But organizations should not mistake “user-friendliness” for simplicity. As Microsoft improved Office’s interface over the years, it also added dense functionality and a wealth of collaboration capabilities.

The challenge Office 365 presents today is this: To get the most out of the software—to increase productivity, to enable meaningful collaboration, to inspire innovation, and to encourage better business outcomes—organizations need to take a big picture approach to migrations and be prepared to sustain their user adoption efforts.

Organizations should not mistake Office 365′s

“user-friendliness” for simplicity

Much has been written about the collaborative power of Office 365, but recent data suggests that many organizations aren’t using the suite to its full potential. They’re doing things the “old way,” and narrowly focusing on a few applications, like Outlook, Skype, SharePoint, and OneDrive. These are important applications, for sure, but they’re not the extent of Office 365’s immense collaboration capabilities. Excluding these capabilities can result in missed opportunities.

It’s critical for organizations to develop a holistic strategy for Office 365 user adoption. Business leaders need to understand how apps work together and how their organization can benefit most from the technology.

Once they have developed a comprehensive Office 365 collaboration strategy, they can then get to work executing it with targeted, task-oriented training. For example:

  • How to share and collaborate: How to streamline collaboration using features from a range of Office applications, such as Sway, Planner, Delve, Skype, OneDrive, SharePoint, Outlook, and more.
  • Make meetings better: Skype’s capabilities extend well beyond the meeting. Provide users with a primer on using Skype with Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and others.
  • Go mobile: An exploration of what users can do with Office 365 on a mobile device, from basics like joining meetings to more advanced capabilities such as editing and co-authoring.

By taking a holistic approach to Office 365, organizations can ensure that smarter collaboration and efficiency are the top goals, instead of training for training’s sake. Teaching employees how to use all of Office 365’s collaborative features will increase the value exponentially.

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