Office 365 Adoption and Change Management – does it only belong in IT?
Anything involving a computer goes through IT, right? Perhaps once upon a time, but it hasn’t been 1995 for a while. Rolling out new software across an organisation will clearly pass through a technical department at some point but embedding it into your processes and ways of working requires strong business engagement and leadership. Adoption is the endgame here, and so ensuring all your tech works properly is only the beginning.
Lead by example from the top and put the new software at the centre of your business practice: while the trigger for change might have come from IT, sustaining effective adoption will always be driven by the rest of the business.
But if not IT, who exactly should take responsibility?
Effective and sustainable adoption is an art, not a science. It isn’t a case of following a few protocols and expecting results to follow. It requires a business to invest in the new ways of working on top of the software itself. No change will stick if the mandate comes solely from IT; involving other departments such as internal communications, human resources and operations can be a step in the right direction.
You need to find stakeholders who will take responsibility and translate the IT department’s vision into a digestible language for the rest of your workforce. Most people can probably do their job without engaging with Office 365; it is your job to show them how using Office 365 will make their life much easier. In other words, you need to get your workforce to buy into the change. Rather than seeing adoption as an IT project, see it as a more holistic change management programme.
Communication and knowledge sharing is right at the heart of this. People want to see and hear the benefits of adoption from others in their department they know and trust. Watching a presentation from someone in IT is simply not going to win them over. Ingraining behaviour into the culture around someone is difficult, but a sure-fire way to ensure long-term engagement.
Consider bringing IT reps together with reps from other parts of the business with the intention of relaying their collaboration out to the rest of the organisation. If the leaders of each team can display their new adopted behaviours to those they manage, the burden of change very quickly spreads across all parts of your business.
When projecting the added business value of adopting software like Office 365, also contemplate the impact change processes have upon your IT department. By creating a greater network of responsibility for software adoption, you allow them to focus on the IT enablement work they can bring more value and expertise to, whilst empowering others who can drive value for your end users.
So, even if IT lives and breathes innovation and adaption, be sure to foster these values in everyone else as well. As we said at the beginning, 1995 was a long time ago.