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How to avoid a failed M365 implementation?



"25% of technology projects fail, 20% provide no profit realization, and as many as 50% need massive rework the moment the project is finished.


54% of IT projects that fail are due to project management, while only 3% are due to technical challenges"

Forbes Magazine


Gartner stated in 2012 that "IT projects are 80% about culture and 20% technology," and this quite clearly explains the challenge businesses have if their Microsoft 365 implementation relies on that users figure out how to use the tools and applications themselves.


The mistake most businesses make is a lack of focus on adoption – that is, building a culture of sharing– creating enthusiasm and training employees in a new way of working.


We often experience that all tools are made available to all users in the business without any kind of change management or user adoption. Lack of training and guidelines creates frustration among users and can in the worst case lead to unwanted user behavior (continued use of shadow IT, absence of adoption, etc.)

The understanding that no business is the same and that it is the work processes and people who are the driver behind a successful implementation are lacking in most cases. Our experience is that it is important to have a good process around change management to refer to and anchor this in both project management and the business that receives the changes.


Change management ensures a faster path to success

The combination of project management and change management with a focus on user requirements when introducing new services ensures a faster adoption rate of new functionality, a larger number of users take advantage of the new solutions ("start small, scale fast") while ensuring a common knowledge and sharing platform that can be measured against expected profit realization.


Interaction is defined as the interaction between people in order to achieve common goals. This is characterized by dialogue, coordinated task solving, systematic sharing and reuse of information as well as a culture of learning and openness. A prerequisite for this is modern and appropriate digital solutions.


So what are the success factors for a good end-user adoption?

Training and continuous reinforcement of messages are a driver behind good end-user adoption. This can be divided into 4 parts.


Stakeholders

A thorough stakeholder analysis is important to ensure that the correct action is made when deciding whether and to what extent functionality should be used.

  • Leadership anchoring – identify and include sponsors in management. These should tell the business how important the introduction is and even lead by example. This, in our opinion, is the most powerful of all in connection with adoption. If everyone sees that managers are actually and themselves part of the change tool and expect everyone else to use it, this is powerful for the employees.

  • Empower champion networks – make sure users have help and support as soon as the need arises. This can be anything from how to use tools to how it should be set up.

User histories

Clarity about what requirements a solution should meet and how it should be used to achieve this is fundamental to properly set up a solution.

  1. Ensure documentation of the work processes that are carried out and use their desire for better workdays. These form the basis for testing and verifying the solutions that are implemented in the organization. Try to cover all eventualities.

  2. Define success criteria – this facilitates the work of signing out the solution on delivery.

Awareness

The most important thing about awareness activity is to create a desire among users: "Yes, I want to participate in this."This change is important to me and can give me good opportunities to do my job in an even better way."

  1. Conduct communication campaigns to keep your organization up to date on status and progression. This allows users to prepare for the new to come and prepare for training.

  2. Stakeholder launch event – ensure sponsors and ambassador networks are at the forefront of introducing solutions in your organization. It will make their adoption work much easier.

  3. Continuous measurement and eventual adjustment to ensure the use and that the business achieves its investment goals

Training

Believing that users are so curious about new tools that they are happy to sit down to read how M365 functions should be used is like believing in Santa Claus. We must acknowledge that there are many different user groups in a business, and we must not think that all users in the organization have the same requirements. It is important to offer a multitude of training activities so that one meets all user groups.

  1. End-user training – ensure that end users have the opportunity to learn the new ways of working, this can be via courses, online seminars, self-learning, etc.

  2. Role-based training based on documented user stories.

  3. Prepare support – after rolling out M365 tools to your organization, support must be ready to act on requests for assistance.

Finally, it is also important to remember that the adoption process is not over once the training is completed. That's when the important job begins!


Successful businesses are the ones who have dedicated roles to continue to cultivate good use and interaction after the initial rollout.


In summary, we see that it is important for a changing business to have clear ambitions and goals. User involvement and adoption ensure a focus on profit realization for the business.

Senior management stakeholders that fronts the change in the organization make it easier to guarantee a digital competence boost and ensure that guidelines for use are in place.


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