Let me start with a simple statement: Moving to Microsoft Office 365 is a key element in many organization’s journey to the cloud. And yes, it does have the potential to save money. But I don’t believe that this represents its real value. In my experience, customers are not reaping the full benefits of Office 365 because they’re looking at it through the prism of pure technical enablement. They want to deploy it to save money. But because the cost-benefits aren’t paying-off quickly – or obviously – they fail to make the most of its real potential.
That potential lies in boosting the productivity of your people and the way they create, share and exploit ideas, information and creativity. That sounds quite grand. It is. And it’s a justified claim. In the rush to deliver business and IT projects that have a higher profile, I think that Office 365 is getting lost or pushed down the agenda. It needs to come to the fore more. You can leverage the power of Office 365 to achieve some headline gains that really make a difference to enabling digital.
To do that, you need to re-frame the argument: it’s not about cost (though cost is a factor), it’s about productivity. It’s also about making your journey to the cloud pay off in practical ways that affect the day-to-day work of your people. It might seem mundane, but better, faster, richer Word docs, PPT decks, Excel spreadsheets, as well as mail of course, are the engine of your organization. They’re not sexy, but they’re fundamental.
Of course, Office 365 does a lot more: planning, creating, running teams, and booking appointments – but many organizations miss all this. And the fact that it’s continually evolving, means that your license fee enables you to upgrade everyone’s Office capability on a constant basis. Their work tools, therefore, will always be at the cutting edge of what Microsoft offers. That can only be good for productivity.
I don’t see organizations getting excited about Office 365 for the right reasons. They take it for granted. They don’t link it to performance and driving revenues as well as cutting costs. In this context, those three things are the only things worth measuring, so why not measure them in terms of what Office 365 can offer? It’s a no brainer. The Problem is, that most organizations’ mindsets are fixed: they see Office 365 as just a basic tool. It is, but the fact that it’s so central to everyday work makes it so important. Improve everyday work and you improve productivity and, in turn, generate revenues and savings.
So, you need to understand Office 365’s real value and make a business case for it. Make sure you are doing the right work, then make that work as productive as possible. It’s a combination of not just the technology but the adoption and change management that goes with it. You also need to understand the costs, especially of carrying out mail and content migration as well as environment remediation. That’s all you need to do. Of course, it’s important to do it at pace, and through a business lens. Moving to Office 365 must not slow you down or distract you from your core objectives.
If you do get help, make sure it allows you to accelerate your Office 365 deployment and access the benefits quicker. Get help to understand the costs quickly and the productivity gains too. Rapidly assess how to migrate mail and content quickly. You need to create your bespoke transition to Office 365, and take on additional services that suit your needs (it’s not just about Outlook and team sites).
And think about co-creation. Ensure that you can make the most of the evolution of Office 365 to ensure you keep it evergreen, and understand how to continually apply its features to your company from both business and technical perspectives. It’s important to develop (or retain) your ability to evolve the platform as a core competency. It needs to be business driven and dynamic, especially as change is the new business as usual.
Think about Office 365 as a way of mastering productivity, and you’ll make the most of its potential, now and into the future.