Filed under: Digital workplace
With so many organisations using Office 365 and its tools, how best to launch the platform is an issue which many IT, intranet and digital workplace teams have been considering. Given the potential of Office 365 it is critical that any deployment is carried out in a way which will help to deliver sustainable value and adoption.
Our recent business-first methodology provides a best practice approach for deploying Office 365 that gives you firm foundations for using the platform. This suggests seven stages:
- Understand the business context, from top-level business objectives down to the day-to-day needs of staff.
- Describe the desired digital employee experience, building stakeholder consensus around a concrete future and direction.
- Determine a digital workplace strategy that outlines what needs to be delivered and provides a concrete plan of action.
- Establish the technology platform, conducting the behind the scenes work to bring Office 365 into the business.
- Launch Office 365 capabilities in waves to the business, with a strong focus on adoption and use.
- Conduct strategic projects, to deliver new business products or to update existing business solutions.
- Progressively establish governance, putting shape around ownership and management to ensure a sustainable outcome.
We’ve seen a number of leading organisations with successful Office 365 digital workplaces follow some of these stages and approaches Some examples of these are explored below.
Understanding the business context: PANDORA
Understanding users and organisational priorities is a must for all digital workplace projects. Global jewellery manufacturer and retailer PANDORA has an extensive Office 365 programme incorporating SharePoint Online, Yammer, OneDrive and Skype for Business, which is branded as the “Digital Workspace” and includes an intranet called INFORA. Before the deployment, the company carried out extensive research both with stakeholders, frontline workers and other employees to truly understand business objectives and the everyday needs of staff. Hundreds of interviews were carried out with information supplemented by a global user survey to uncover the needs of employee type, function and region.
The discovery period was not only important for understanding the use of Office 365 tools and designing the intranet, but it also was key in giving context to the change management effort needed to help roll the platform out. Insights gained helped to place an emphasis on training and a comprehensive and lively launch campaign.
Describe the desired employee experience: UNICEF PFP Division
Getting stakeholders on side with a compelling but tangible vision of what Office 365 will deliver is also important. UNICEF’s Division of Private Fundraising and Partnerships (PFP) division was planning the roll-out of Office 365 tools and a new intranet to create a digital workplace. In order to build support among stakeholders, the team used storytelling techniques to convey a vision of the desired employee experience and make it something tangible. Taking inspiration from Step Two’s own “A week in the digital workplace” report, the team ran a workshop which involved a narrative based around an Emergency Communication Specialist landing in a fictional country (Brazolnad) during an emergency.
Here’s some text from the actual story: “He switches his smart phone on and gets notified via SMS about the new team space that Julia created. He is able to login to the space on his smart phone. He browses through the conversations and comments already made by the team, reads the key documents and quickly becomes aware of tasks assigned to each member of the group. He also sees the status of the emergency response, what documents are currently being worked on, and how much work is left to do.”
The approach was helpful in not only driving support, but also acting as a way to drive requirements and also as a useful reference point during the implementation.
Determine a digital workplace strategy: NEXTDC
Having a clear digital workplace strategy and roadmap ensures your implementation has direction and focus. A strategy should also describe the key components of the digital workplace, and outline how they must work together. At Australian technology firm NEXTDC the team took time to define the core components or “building blocks” of the digital workplace, and also where some of the different tools fit into this picture. The building blocks include collaboration, activity, discovery, Working Out Loud and flexibility. The building blocks have also provided a framework for a detailed change management and support program.
Establish the technology platform: Marine Rescue Queensland
Of course, it’s also important to carry out all the technical and preparatory work in the background including any clean-up of data, negotiating any security issues and implementing extensive testing. For example, voluntary organisation Marine Rescue Queensland implemented Office 365 to help support co-ordination, compliance, training, communication, document sharing and reporting processes across a number of crews who carry out marine rescues along the Queensland coast.
Even though the scope of the Office 365 implementation is not exceptional, it took approximately three years from conception to launch. Part of the reason for this length of time is that the implementation was mainly carried out using voluntary time outside core business hours, but it still took a lot of background technical work to get everything right. The highly positive contribution Office 365 has made to the organisation has meant it was definitely worth the wait!
Launch Office 365 capabilities in waves: PANDORA
In global jewellery company PANDORA there was only a small central team to support the global roll-out of a new SharePoint Online intranet and to promote the use of other Office 365. tools Because of this, a phased launch over 18 months was necessary rather than a ‘big bang’ approach. This involved training 130 global editors and running various go-live celebrations across world-wide locations. The team took a regional approach, starting with PANDORA’s Danish HQ, and then working through Asia-Pacific, the Americas and then the EMEA region.
Apart from making the roll-out sustainable, the phased approach allowed the team to learn on the way and adjust go-live training for each region. The global roll-out was also impacted by a major organisational restructure which had to be completed before the digital workspace could be launched in some areas.
Conduct strategic projects: Shire
Focusing on strategic-level projects also ensures that you will get maximum value out of Office 365. Shire is a leading biotechnology company. When in June 2016 the company combined with Baxalta and grew from 5,000 to 22,000 employees, the CEO saw the need to have a place for employees of the newly merged company to collaborate and communicate with each other. This needed to be available from day one of the merger. With Office 365 the obvious platform to use, a new intranet based on SharePoint Online with Yammer was regarded as a strategically critical project for the new company, helping employees to get to know each other and for the company to operate as a single entity and drive a “one company” culture.
Progressively establish governance: Shire
Governance makes your Office 365 platform sustainable and successful. From the very beginning Shire’s intranet (“The Hub”) and Office 365 implementation has used robust governance to ensure that it meets organisational goals, employee needs and has high standards. At the heart of this is strong ownership with clear responsibilities for different teams, as shown in the chart above. Governance and standards also helped to define intranet requirements, for example through a set of well-defined templates.
As the use of the intranet and Office 365 has developed, the team has progressively established further governance by establishing training and certification for site owners. The team is also building a framework using analytics and some automation to batch certification reminders and ensure compliance with the following elements: Site Ownership, Correct Permissions, Content Review, and Look and Feel (branding alignment).
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