Global cloud adoption has reached 81 percent, according to a recent report by Bitglass. The cloud security company notes that this figure represents a 37 percent increase over 2016 and a whopping 238 percent increase over 2014.
Microsoft’s Office 365 is leading the pack—it has been deployed by more than 56 percent of organizations globally, which is double the amount of Google G-Suite implementations, according to the report.
But there’s a catch—increased usage doesn’t equate to increased value.
That was the takeaway from a pulse survey published earlier this year by Gartner. For the survey, Gartner asked respondents not only which Office 365 components their organizations use, but also asked them to assign each element a value on a scale from 0 to 100.
For usage, the results were largely what they expected, according to a blog post by Gartner Research VP Craig Roth—more than half of respondents indicated that their organizations primarily use six of the 18 identified Office elements. They are: Office ProPlus and Exchange Online-Outlook (both more than 80 percent), OneDrive for Business (79 percent), SharePoint (74 percent), OneNote (66 percent), and Skype for Business Online (62 percent).
Usage of other applications such as Teams, Power BI, Yammer, and others were substantially lower, dipping just below 50 percent and as low as 30 percent.
What was surprising, according to Roth, was the disparity between usage and value. For example, nearly three-quarters of respondents indicated that they use SharePoint, but they assigned it an average of 14 points out of 100 for value. The gap between usage and value was even greater for other applications such as OneNote, Teams, OneDrive for Business, and Skype for Business.
“It’s one thing to begrudgingly access some team files on OneDrive or know there’s a team site that you never use, and another to really get value out of a component,” Roth writes on his blog.
If your organization is facing the adoption vs. value challenge, here are four steps you can take to increase the value of your technology investments:
- Develop a holistic strategy for Office 365 user adoption—one that addresses both culture change and technical proficiency. Business leaders need to understand how apps work together and how their organization can benefit most from the technology.
- Execute that strategy with targeted, task-oriented training. One-size-fits-all training is not enough—when learning objectives are based on an actual assessment of employees’ proficiency levels and job responsibilities, they are more likely to meet those objectives and apply the knowledge immediately.
- Incorporate data to design a customized, immersive learning program. This enables employees to focus on what counts.
- Provide a range of learning and development options. Individual and organizational growth is more likely when employees know about and have access to a variety of options, including skill tracks, live support, and targeted, short-burst learning opportunities.
In his blog post, Roth also suggests that the adoption vs. usage disparity is an “indication of how much work is ahead for organizations to learn how to best use these newer technologies and slowly change working behaviors.” With the right plan in place—and with the right adoption partner—organizations can reach their goals and increase the value of their investments more quickly.
 “Office 365: Enterprise usage doesn’t translate into enterprise value,” by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld, Jan. 17, 2018
Jen is an award-winning journalist who writes about workplace productivity and technology for Vitalyst. She believes in the power of using plain language, especially when writing about technology, and lists “achieving and enabling clarity” among her life goals.