Microsoft taps Vitalyst to Share Keys to Successful Customer Adoption and Change Management of Office 365—Insights from Ignite 2019, Part 3

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. In previous blogs in this series, we looked at the importance of change enablement and adoption and the value that partners can provide to customers who are deploying Office 365 and Teams from Microsoft’s perspective and from Vitalyst’s perspective.

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.

In this post, the third in the series, we will explore the theme from the customer perspective with insights shared during our Ignite session “Accelerating adoption and change management with expert best practices,” which included Alyssa Gonzalez, Senior Director – User Experience CBS Technology, and Nancy Wang, Organization Development Consultant from Pacific Life’s Change Management Center of Excellence. Vitalyst works with both companies to help them drive transformation across their organizations and support end-user adoption of Office 365 and Teams. And while each organization has deployed Office 365 and Teams, their transformation goals, challenges and journeys have been different.


As a global media company, CBS Corporation has several unique brands and business units, each with their own requirements and use cases.

“One of our greatest challenges was the level of fragmentation that we had in our environment,” Gonzalez explained during the session. “We had a bunch of different file sharing and chat tools. So, strategically, we had to take a beat and really help to drive a conversation within our business about which tools were going to drive value for our users.”

In the end, migrating to Office 365 and Teams enabled CBS to provide an integrated platform that provided users with multiple channels for communications and collaboration, while streamlining their infrastructure.

Migrating their users from other applications such as Webex, Slack and Box was not easy, however.

“A couple years ago, we had deployed another file storage and sharing tool, where we did not have the structure behind the project and it kind of fell flat,” Gonzalez said. “It was kind of a black eye. People did not want to use the technology we had deployed… That rollout was not structured in a way that led to successful adoption.”

That was one of the reasons why CBS brought in Vitalyst.

“We really needed a partner to come in first, advise us on how to do this for such a large company and what our options were. We have so many different cultures and we really wanted to understand the use cases across our business—so we could really tailor that experience, especially with Teams, that would drive the adoption the quickest and most effectively. We engaged with Vitalyst because we simply didn’t have the capacity and the manpower to do that alone.”


Alyssa Gonzalez of CBS Corporation

CBS had the resources and infrastructure to support the initiative, but they needed to be trained first. The company also needed help understanding the impact that adopting Office 365 and Teams would have on employees and how they work, as well as whether the company’s culture was conducive to change and quick adoption of these new solutions.

This is where having a partner such as Vitalyst has been most valuable, Gonzalez explained.

“With Vitalyst, we do a very wide range of different training and adoption activities—from one-on-one phone support to live, instructor-led webinars, videos and how-to guides, and on-site excite days. Being able to have that additional support, as well as a team that deeply understood the functionality of all the different platforms that we were looking for—whether it was Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Planner, or OneNote—that was a major benefit for us.”


For Pacific Life, adopting Microsoft Teams was about offering a channel for communications that would help support their internal change management and communications efforts and enable them to stay connected with employees as they move forward with their digital transformation. As a leading financial services and insurance provider, digital transformation is critical as they continue to see increased competition from new and existing brands.

During the Ignite session, Pacific Life’s Nancy Wang explained her company’s motivation: “People don’t read email. People don’t look at our intranet. So I saw Teams as a better communication channel to support the tsunami of changes that we are trying to implement.”


Nancy Wang of Pacific Life

However, as much as Wang understood the value that Office 365 and Teams would offer her team and her organization, she also knew the challenge that deployment and adoption would present.

She explained: “I went to our IT director and said, ‘How much of your success is based on people using the tool versus deploying it? We need to do change management better on this project. We need to drive this. We can’t just install the solution. We have to get people using it.’”

But she also knew that she and her team could not do it alone.

“I told him ‘I don’t have the capacity to do it. I’ll be the liaison to help partner to make sure they understand our organizational landscape and speaking another language. But we really need to hit this out of the park. We need to get a partner to do this.’”

As Pacific Life’s FastTrack Ready Partner, Vitalyst had worked with the company previous Microsoft technology projects. This, and Vitalyst’s reputation as one of Microsoft’s leading global adoption partners, made it an easy decision for Pacific Life.

The value of working with a partner like Vitalyst who could provide end-to-end change enablement services was quickly apparent to Wang.

“The change practitioner that was on our account was fantastic. She just kept us on task… the amount of discipline she applied made us hit our go-live date. And our numbers went… off the charts.”

According to Wang, having a comprehensive adoption strategy and solution had a major impact on Pacific Life’s Teams adoption—and Vitalyst’s communications services were a key part of that.

“Having [Vitalyst’s] writers and communication people come in to do use cases and write up the documentation to help build out our internal portal for a resource center—that was a huge,” said Gonzalez. “It was such a heavy lift and it was just such a relief to have people there to do that for us.”

Currently, CBS Corporation and Pacific Life are continuing their Office 365 and Teams adoption efforts and are looking to expand use of Teams for more advanced use cases such as live collaboration, internal and external meetings, and internal support. Both companies are working with Vitalyst and Microsoft to support their initiatives.


In terms of lessons learned from their initiatives thus far, both Wang and Gonzalez had interesting observations to share regarding the value of working with a partner to help with Office 365 and Teams deployment and adoption initiatives.

Said Wang: “One lesson that I can think of off the top of my head was how much Vitalyst used Teams to manage the project. And so, all of us on the project learned it so much quicker and then we became even stronger advocates for the tool.”

Gonzalez’s takeaway from the experience was slightly different: “Having that direct comparison between seeing a technology be deployed and fail because there wasn’t a change management structure and focus on adoption, communication, and education, and now doing what we’re doing with Office 365—it’s just been transformational.”

“I hear from all of our different departments every single day. ‘Hey, we could really use some help figuring out how to solve this problem’ or ‘How do I apply this manual process?’ How can I do this in Teams?’ Having someone to bounce that off of and to be able to say, ‘I have a great answer for you, and we have someone who can support you and help,’ is really transformational for us.”

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