Maximize Your Office 365 ROI With End User Training

Microsoft sign outside one of the supplier's offices.During the past six months, most of us have undergone a number of drastic changes in our lives. Our homes now also function as our workspaces, as well as our children’s classrooms. Formerly face-to-face meetings and hangouts now take place over video calls. In an effort to keep people connected and ensure they can still collaborate effectively despite these significant shifts in lifestyle, many businesses have turned to the Microsoft Office 365 suite, which empowers remote workers with apps like TeamsOneDrive and SharePoint.

However, adapting to new programs and processes isn’t always easy. If your company is considering implementing Office 365 apps or has already adopted them to give your team the ability to get their jobs done effectively from anywhere, conducting comprehensive training is essential for successful end user adoption.

Why Training Matters

Office 365 apps like Teams have tremendous potential to ensure your staff members work together just as efficiently from their homes as they would if they were all in the same office space. That potential will only become a reality, though, if your team actually uses the apps and knows how to make the most out of their capabilities and features. You can install Teams, but if your staff doesn’t know how to make calls, schedule meetings and share files via the app, it won’t benefit your business.

No matter how exciting new tech is, many people still feel more comfortable with what’s familiar to them (e.g., a traditional on-premises phone system they’ve used for years). As a result, the biggest issues with the implementation of new IT solutions often stem from the personnel involved: In one survey conducted by Forrester Research and CustomerThink, 38 percent of 414 marketing, sales, customer service or tech management professionals participating in CRM tech projects reported running into people-related pitfalls like sluggish end user adoption.

One reliable way to proactively address and avoid those types of issues is a well-thought-out end user training program. Although suppliers often provide you with instructional materials, it’s preferable to customize your approach to meet your company’s needs as well as accommodate different tech literacy levels, according to the Harvard Business Review article “Convincing Skeptical Employees to Adopt New Technology.”

Tips for Effective Office 365 End User Instruction

To maximize your ROI for the Office 365 suite, you’ll want to take steps to ensure your staff embraces the new apps and is fully aware of all the features they have to offer to enhance productivity and collaboration. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind during this process.

1. Make sure your team knows why you’re implementing the new solution. Your staff members will likely be more open to using Teams to make calls instead of traditional office phones if they know why you want them to make the switch. For example, you could send out a company-wide email explaining that the new platform makes life easier for people working from home, who might not have access to VPN phones. It’s also ultimately impossible to tell whether a deployment was successful if you didn’t define your reasons for doing it in the first place, according to the Citrix blog entry “Making it Stick: The 5-step Guide to Getting End Users to Embrace New Tech.”

2. Clearly define how they will benefit from the Office 365 suite. Your team will also probably be more motivated to learn how to utilize new apps if they understand how it will make life easier for them. If you’re implementing Teams, you could tell them how they can install the app on their smartphones so they don’t have to be tied to their desks to make and take phone calls and attend meetings.

3. Adjust the training for each department/position. Your sales team will likely use a unified communications app like Teams in a different way than your accounting department, for instance. It helps to address the unique ways people in various roles throughout your organization can best leverage the solution to enhance their productivity. You might also want to ask your employees what method of training they prefer (e.g., reading a written guide, viewing prerecorded instructional videos or attending live sessions where they’ll have the opportunity to ask questions.)

If you’d like assistance in training your staff on how to use any or all of the Office 365 apps, the Stratosphere Networks team would be happy to help you. Our senior IT consultants have extensive experience ensuring successful end user adoption and carrying out training programs for the Office 365 suite. For more information, please call 877-599-3999 or email sales@stratospherenetworks.com.

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