Driving Adoption for Office 365, Part 4


The first part in this series talked about the importance of adoption for the success of Office 365. The second part described the vision, goals, and business scenarios. The third part discussed stakeholders and audience. Let’s get ready to discuss communication, learning, and the launch.




Although the current state of the world tells us otherwise, I do believe people are willing to accept change. You just need to be able to show them the long-term advantages. Looking at the introduction of a Cloud platform such as Office 365, communication is crucial for the Office 365 adoption. I advise you to include the following tips in your tools:

  1. What is in it for me
  2. Communicate your vision and goals
  3. Apply the analysis of the audience and company in your language and content
  4. Share the roadmap
  5. Be honest

What Is in It for Me

This is the key question to answer. Without an answer, most people are not going to follow your business scenarios. We discussed this in the first part of the series.

Communicate Your Vision and Goals

This is a bit of a follow-up to the previous tip. People need to be aware of the company’s vision and goals that line up with using Office 365. An example of this would be telling the company, “Office 365 offers the employees of Contoso a digital and modern workplace to work anywhere, anytime, and on any device.” This lets everyone know how Office 365 directly relates to them and the company goals.

Apply the Analysis of the Audience and Company in Your Language and Content

The previous article described the need for an analysis of the audience and company you are working for or with. You are now applying the analysis in developing your communication tools. You cannot release an Apple-type commercial that introduces OneDrive for Business in a formal and closed company. It will not go over well. You also cannot provide a paper manual in an informal and open company. Know your audience.

Share the Roadmap

There is no shame in starting small. It does not have to be a big bang. Believe me, big bangs do not work anymore. The budgets are not there and technology is changing and developing rapidly. You release your project after a year and you are probably caught up by reality. Tell your audience, “We are now starting with one business scenario and moving towards four finished scenarios by the end of the year.”

Be Honest

People talk. There is something called Google. You must be honest in your communication. People are going to find out if you are not telling the truth. I recommend considering the following communication tools:

  1. Introduction Session
  2. Email
  3. Posters

Introduction Session

You worked on the Office 365 business scenarios with your project team. They are aware of the advantages and content. It is now time to extend toward your other colleagues. My favorite example of introducing a new Office 365 tool is Microsoft Teams. Satya Nadella introduced Microsoft Teams to the world. The presentation included the vision from Microsoft, the roadmap, and extensive demos by multiple stakeholders. After the introduction session, the whole world knew about Microsoft Teams and what it can do for them. My advice is to try a similar approach for the launch of Office 365 within your organization.

Office365AdoptionPart4 1


I realize email is not a very ‘sexy’ communication tool. For the majority of employees, email is still the number-one communication tool. Don’t shy away from using introduction emails for communicating to your audience. The Office 365 FastTrack center contains a wide selection of introduction emails. Use these to your benefit! The following figure shows an example:

Office365AdoptionPart4 2


I am a kid from the eighties. I have always been a huge fan of movies and going to the movies. I could not wait to find out which new movies were on their way. We did not have the Internet. These days, movie trailers are a common way to introduce new and upcoming movies to a wide audience. I always had to go to our local cinema to find out which movies were on their way to the big screen. How did the movie people share this info? Posters! I remember seeing the Jurassic Park poster and I was immediately excited! I didn’t know anything about the movie but could not wait to see it. Apply a similar approach to your Office 365 business scenarios. The Office 365 FastTrack center contains a wide selection of posters and flyers. Get people excited and get their attention. Don’t forget the audience and company analysis. Have fun!

Office365AdoptionPart4 3


Your solutions for providing the business scenarios should be intuitive and easy to understand. There is still always room for learning tools. I recommend the following learning tools:

  1. How-to-videos
  2. Quick reference cards
  3. Classroom training
  4. Train the trainer
  5. Office 365 champions

How-To Videos

Videos are the number one communication tool in the world. The statistics for YouTube are insane. Over 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute! That’s crazy, right? Use video within your organization by creating short, training videos. We created many Project Portals within SharePoint Online. These can be found InSpark. These often contained the following videos:

  • How to request a new project site?
  • How to upload a document and assign metadata?
  • How to delete and restore a document?

By adding these videos in the Office 365 Video Portal, they are always accessible with the browser, Office 365 Video App on iOS, or Android. I also embed the videos in a SharePoint Page. This exposes them through a hyperlink web part on the Project Portal home page. Works like a charm!

Quick Reference Cards (QRC)

A QRC contains a brief description of key features of the Office 365 business scenario. This is on one A4, using both sides. You can click here to view a wide selection of QRC for Skype for Business. Try and be playful. The night before the Intranet Portal of one of our customers launched, we created a paper tower of QRC. We placed these on the desks of all the employees of the company. This immediately got the attention of all the employees.

Classroom Training

This learning tool has been used for many years. I have done a lot of these. There has been a decrease in the demand for training sessions. It is still useful for smaller and medium organizations. For these companies, it is a bit easier to train all employees using the classroom training method. You can also search on the Internet for third-party tools to provide online training sessions. There are many out there.

Office365AdoptionPart4 4



In case you are not able to train every employee, you should apply the train-the-trainer concept. Luke learned from Yoda. Luke is now training Rey. Apply the same principle in your organization. Train a selection of key users. Allow them to train other employees. This will decrease training costs and helps the IT department. They will not need to spend time answering basic questions. The trainers can handle this.

Office365AdoptionPart4 5


Office 365 Champions

Call them champions or something else. You need people to spread the love for your Office 365 business scenarios. I am always the external consultant. Therefore, I am not able to stay with customers after the launch of Office 365. I need the champions to keep the work going. They are an essential part of your adoption journey.


After communicating and training, you are now ready to finally launch your Office 365 business scenarios. I recommend the following launch tools:

  1. Launch party with food and drinks
  2. Fun launch video

Launch Party with Food and Drinks

People love free drinks and food. Organize a lunch with free food and introduce your business scenario to the whole world. People are going to show up in huge numbers!

Fun Launch Video

Why so serious? Have some fun! We recently applied an animation character to introduce an Intranet Portal to a local government. People loved it. It also guaranteed a high usage of the new Portal. Ellen Van Aken collects launch videos for Intranet Portals. Click here to get some inspiration.

I hope you have been inspired and ready to move on! The next part of my series is going to discuss the measuring, planning, and budget. Stay tuned!