Ignite2019PanelSession

Microsoft taps Vitalyst to Share Keys to Successful Customer Adoption and Change Management of Office 365—Insights from Ignite 2019, Part 2

At this year’s Ignite conference, one of the major themes was helping Microsoft customers maximize the business value of using Office 365 and Teams. As covered in a previous blog in this series, Microsoft’s Ginny Hoban shared her insights into Microsoft’s view on the importance of adoption and change enablement, and the value that partners can provide to customers who are deploying Office 365 and Teams.

In part two of this blog series, we explore the theme from a Microsoft Partner perspective, with insights from Greg Headley, Vitalyst’s Microsoft Alliance Director. Headley was a featured speaker in the Ignite session Accelerating adoption and change management with expert best practices, along with Ginny Hoban, Senior Partner Marketing Manager at Microsoft, who moderated the session, and Alyssa Gonzalez, Sr. Director – User Experience CBS Technology, and Nancy Wang, Organization Development Consultant from Pacific Life’s Change Management Center of Excellence.

Click to view video of Vitalyst's panel discussion, filmed live at Ignite 2019.
Click to view video of Vitalyst’s panel discussion, filmed live at Ignite 2019.

Microsoft has a vast ecosystem of partners who provide services and solutions which help customers accelerate their path to value with Microsoft technology. In the case of adoption and change management, most customers just do not have the bandwidth and expertise to fully support these areas and meet the needs of their end-users throughout their deployment projects.

As a Gold partner, Vitalyst specializes in providing Microsoft customers with a full suite of change enablement and digital adoption solutions and services for Office 365, Teams and other Microsoft technologies.

Headley explained: “We think of ourselves as a change enablement partner—we take the best parts of change management and the things that really help customers understand what that journey is going to look like, and combine that with the change execution side of things. We’re helping end-users along that journey to be successful using the technology.”

It is this ability to provide end-to-end services and solutions that has helped make Vitalyst Microsoft’s number one adoption partner in the U.S. for Teams and Office 365.

“The common denominator is people. Most of the projects that we’re going to work on are going to involve people actually using the tools and we see that, on average, enterprise projects run 45 percent over budget and deliver less than half of the value that they were expecting when they started.”1

How can organizations avoid that over-budget/under-value trap? As Headley pointed out during the session, change enablement is the key. Recent research indicates that organizations who leverage change management as part of their projects were six times more likely to meet their objectives than those who did not.2 The reason for this is that, when organizations take time to understand the impact that these changes in technology can have on their employees and business, they are better able to anticipate areas of resistance, gaps in learning and support, and also ensure that they are aligned in the overall goals and objectives for their projects.

HOW CAN ORGANIZATIONS AVOID THE OVER-BUDGET/UNDER-VALUE TRAP? ACCORDING TO VITALYST’S GREG HEADLEY, CHANGE ENABLEMENT IS THE KEY.

This is where partners like Vitalyst, who specialize in change enablement and adoption, can provide real value. Having a proven methodology—one that has been tested with customers and projects, and can be easily adapted to fit the needs of each customer—makes it easier to ensure that organizations are aligned in their goals and expectations and that they have the right strategy in place to meet them.

Fundamentally, it means looking beyond just the deployment of the technology. “I’ve worked at a number of different ISVs [independent software vendors] where the technical part was great. We could deliver on that. The people side was our problem,” said Headley.

In the session, Headley cited Vitalyst’s proprietary PROPEL methodology, which is underpinned by Prosci’s ADKAR change management model. Vitalyst uses PROPEL to manage projects and deliver the right services and solutions to make each customer successful—it drives every customer engagement, from change planning to change execution and service delivery. It is this ability to go beyond planning and ensure proper execution and end-user support through the change that has made the biggest impact on Vitalyst’s customers.

Beginning with change enablement workshops and assessments to help organizations define project scope and goals, Vitalyst works with customers and their Microsoft Success Teams to develop the right plans and strategy. However, the process is not one-size-fits-all, said Headley. Regardless of whether customers are migrating to the cloud and are new to Windows 10 and Office 365, or are migrating from Skype for Business to Teams, we adapt our approach to fit the needs of each customer and project.

RECENT RESEARCH INDICATES THAT ORGANIZATIONS WHO LEVERAGE CHANGE MANAGEMENT AS PART OF THEIR PROJECTS WERE SIX TIMES MORE LIKELY TO MEET THEIR OBJECTIVES THAN THOSE WHO DID NOT.

Next, Vitalyst develops a strategy and specific plans to address each customer’s unique needs for communications, deployment, training, support, and more. Working together with the customer, Vitalyst develops custom content and resources based on the skill level and personas of their end-users and provides recommendations on the best means for delivery and engagement. Vitalyst then executes in partnership with the customer and the Microsoft Success Team, integrating with existing resources as needed.

As Headley explained, the goal is “seeing a change in the behavior of the people in your organization, so that they are using the tools and driving that usage up and keeping it sustained and healthy all along the way.” Not just in the short term, but as a long-term change that is transformational. That is where partners such as Vitalyst can have a major impact on customers and help them realize the full value of their investments in Microsoft technology.

Stay tuned: In part three of our Ignite series, we will recap the insights shared by Vitalyst customers CBS Corporation and Pacific Life during the session—including the drivers behind their deployment of Office 365 and Teams; their experience working with Vitalyst; and their recommended best practices for increasing end-user adoption and use.


1. McKinsey Digital, “Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value,” by Michael Bloch, Sven Blumberg, and Jürgen Laartz. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/delivering-large-scale-it-projects-on-time-on-budget-and-on-value. Retrieved Dec. 3, 2019. 2. Ibid.

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