Microsoft Ignite 2018: Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork

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Microsoft Ignite 2018 returned to Orlando this year for another news-packed week. The company’s largest event for IT and enterprise developers saw its doors open to more than 26,000 people from 100 different countries.

Microsoft Igite 2018

During the event, many announcements about Microsoft and Office 365 apps have been done. In this blog, we have summarized the main announcements and new features regarding Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork. During the session “What’s new in Microsoft TEAMS the hub for teamwork” held by Angela Donohue Group Product Marketing Manager and Marc Pottier Group Manager, the newest features and main future directions of Microsoft Teams have been presented.

A changing modern workplace

As a matter of facts, nowadays we are living in a changing modern place. We are becoming more “social” at work and we use more and more mobile apps. Indeed, according to Microsoft,  45% of employees and workers use social tools at work. Diversity is another keyword to describe the current work environment, since 5 generations are working together in the workforce. Companies are global and there are no boundaries for the businesses. As a consequence, the trend or remote workers is expected to increase, reaching a peak in 2020, when  72% of workers will be remotely. At work, we are more team based and collaborative, since 80% of employee time is spent collaborating. In response to these changing modern trends, Microsoft Teams is evolving to offer companies and organizations all around the world the perfect solution to work in a smarter and more collaborative way in the modern work environment.

changing modern workpalce

 

Teams is the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history

During Microsoft Ignite 2017 Microsoft presented highlights like Guest Access for External Users, Command Box, Cloud Recording, Direct Routing, Inline Message translation and these were just few examples…. And always in 2017, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams will become the single client eventually replacing Skype for Business. Now, Microsoft Teams is ready to become Microsoft primary business communication platform!

Microsoft Teams

Skype for Business Online features have been delivered in Microsoft Teams. New customers should just jump straight to Teams and for existing customers there are resources available to help with planning upgrades for Microsoft Teams. Customers that have not yet tried out Teams can access a free version of Microsoft Teams to try an introductory experience. The free version of Microsoft Teams is now available worldwide in 40 languages and includes unlimited chat messages and search, built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups and teams.

Be more productive with powerful new tools for meetings

At Microsoft Ignite, Smarter Meetings with Microsoft Teams has definitely been the focus of many sessions. Microsoft Teams, with the new features and functionalities, will help employees and team workers to stay productive and connected throughout the meeting lifecycle.

  • Scheduling meeting in Teams: There are many ways to schedule meetings in Teams. For example, using Outlook, you can now invite people outside your organization to join your teams meeting, only remember to add them as guests before the meeting starts. But now you can also schedule a meeting directly in the context of a thread. The advantage is that if you are working in your team and discussing around an issue with your team member, you can directly reply to him with a meeting or video call.
  • Background blur: Now, all Teams customers can remove distractions and focus your video on what matters most. Indeed, it is already available the functionality to blur your screen background during a meeting, so only you are visible (and not your messy living room if you are attending the meeting from home).
  • Meeting recording: Meetings are no longer just a point in time experience. With meeting recording in Teams, you or other invitees who missed the meeting can playback recorded audio, video and content at any time. Pull up a transcript, powered by Microsoft Stream, and search for keywords so you can optimize your time while getting caught up. And it is also indexed, so if you want to search for a particular topic, you can type the topic you want to hear about and Teams will display the moments when, during the meeting, that specific topic had been addressed. Same thing if you are only interested in one person’s speech in particular. You will just jump right to that point. This is very useful if you only missed one part of the meeting or if you are interested only in that part. You don’t need to listen to the entire meeting anymore.
  • Meeting notes: You can type in notes as you are in the meeting, you will see what the notes are and they get posted back into the channel instantly after the meeting is over.
  • Power point sharing: Share your content and open up a presentation during a meeting online. Join this meeting with the presentation simultaneously with your phone. And participants can even navigate through the slides privately, read ahead or look back to review something they missed.

 

remote team work

 

Collaborate as a(n) (international) team

  • Instant translation: Everybody in Microsoft Teams can communicate in their own language, and Microsoft Teams will automatically translate the text for you. Everybody can communicate in the language they are more familiar, no matter where you are in the world. How handy is this functionality, especially if you are involved in an international project? If your Chinese colleague writes a message in your team in Chinese, you don’t have to take Chinese classes to read and understand it! Teams will do the job for you! We are enthusiast about this feature, but we also wonder how accurate the translations will be…With Microsoft Teams collaboration is pushed to the limit! Our principle whitepaper Collaborate as a Team can give you more insights on how to boost collaboration in your organization using Office 365.

Finding expertise

  • Who: In Teams there is the functionality that allows you to know what people are talking about in chats. In the search bar loaded up with capabilities, there is also Who. You can ask the question “Who knows about CRM?” Who will look at all the messages and chats that you have and he will retrieve a set of people that know about that particular topic more than others? In this way, you can quickly and easily find the right person with the right expertise you are looking for. Finding the right person who can answer your question in an easy way can save you much time. For a deeper approach on how to profile expertise and find the right people with Office 365 tools, check Silverside whitepaper Profiling Expertise.

Empower workers in all roles and across industries

Microsoft is extending the power of Teams with new experiences that are tailored to industry-specific and role-based workflows. There are more than 2.5 billion first-line workers worldwide – including factory workers, store clerks, and electricians, among other roles. Why should they be excluded by the benefits of Microsoft Teams for their productivity?

WhatsApp Business

 

  • Home is a new mobile experience that allows first-line workers to see at a glance the most important and relevant info for their day. With Home, first-line workers can clock in and out of shifts/breaks, receive important notes for the day or shift, find out who is working during the shift and save time by easily reviewing information and schedule.
  • Shifts enables first-line managers to plan schedules in an employee self-service and integrated experience. They can create, update and distribute schedules for teams as well as broadcast open and unfilled shifts so that other employees can cover them. Finally, they can review and accept time off requests and swap shifts – all from mobile. For first-line employees, they can swap/offer shifts and request time off, right from their phones.

Teams for the entire organization

  • Introducing SharePoint & Teams Integration: SharePoint is being integrated even closer with Microsoft Teams. This means you will be able to see all the file use and customer use you have created in SharePoint in a surface in Teams. This will help you blend all your business practices in Teams. This will provide a consistent developer and user experience, regardless of whether your code is hosted in the cloud or within an organization via SharePoint.
  • Live events: You can create a new meeting and name it a “live event” and add some people. This will be a live event of one person or more people to many and it will scale up to 10.000 participants. So for example, if you are hosting a webinar you can do that in Teams. You can define who is the producer, who are the presenters and you can choose who you can present to (a specific group of people or it could be public), you can decide if the video afterwards will be recorded, available on demand and so on.
  • Replicate your best Team’s experience with Templates: Found a team setup that works best for a type of project or work style? You, as an admin, soon will be able to easily create new teams based on best practices and lessons learned by leveraging a new REST endpoint as part of the Microsoft Graph API. With Team Templates, you’ll be able to pre-define a team’s channels, apps, and tabs that can help you easily create consistent teams across your organization. You can also define team settings and auto-favorite channels, allowing your team owners to focus on collaborations rather than spending time setting up the team.  All other users, for now, can create a team based on an existing one, without having to start from zero. However, only admins will be able to create proper teams templates.

Part 1. What If

Part 2. Magic and Modernisation

Part 3. People and Technology

Part 4. Unpacking People

Part 5. Unboxing Technology

Part 6. Refining People and Technology

Part 7. Downward Trend Lines

Deepak brought his presentation to a conclusion: “So there’s a clear linkage between our downward trends. From an HR perspective, I see employee engagement dropping, and from a Finance viewpoint, you see revenue and market share dropping.”

Deepak had been presenting the latest figures on employee engagement to Shona, the CFO. The firm had been pretty good at surveying employees on work issues for many years, and so had the historical data points to see the trend lines over time. Pretty good at a process, however, did not this time equate to anything pretty with the consequential numbers.

“I’m sure we could argue causation and correlation here,” said Shona, after Deepak had finished. “But linkage is a good word. There’s something clearly going on that isn’t good for either of our respective departments, and the summary numbers we individually pay attention to.”

“Agreed,” Deepak said. He waited for Shona to speak again.

“Do you have any insight into why employee engagement is cratering?” asked Shona.

“When we saw the summary numbers, we looked back at the comments made on the survey forms,” began Deepak. “There weren’t many comments, but those we read were fairly dim.”

“Like what?” Shona wanted the details.

Deepak turned to his computer and opened an Excel spreadsheet. “Like … ‘No matter how hard I try, it’s too hard to get anything done here,'” he said, reading one of the responses. “Or ‘Everything about the way we work feels so outdated, and there’s too much red tape to make progress.’ And ‘The glossy brochure on working here made the firm sound so progressive, but now I’ve accepted the job, I see the reality of a slow and siloed organisation.” He paused, looking at Shona. “Do you want more?”

“Are there any positive comments?” Shona asked. “Is there anything we’re doing right?”

“A couple of people like Friday evening drinks,” Deepak answered, a rueful smile crossing his face. “But there’s no positive comments about the work, our results in the market, and even job prospects with competitors. A few people commented that being an alumni of our firm is a black mark on their resume, not a bright light.”

“Well, my numbers trail your numbers,” said Shona. “What do you think we should do now?”

To be continued …

Webinar: Insight into Sales Meetings Done Smarter: Meeting Notes with Microsoft Teams and OneNote

Last week our senior consultant Sasja Beerendonk held a webinar Insight into Sales Meetings Done Smarter: Meeting Notes with Microsoft Teams and OneNote
The workshop was focused on insights into how to do sales meetings smarter sharing the real-life experience of an international Silverside customer Omron Healthcare. She presented the concrete methodology used to help the customer achieve what they needed regarding sales meetings.
Silverside philosophy teaches that first, you should learn how to use in the best way the tools you already have to work smarter. However, sometimes, from Silverside working practice we see that this is one of the most challenging actions for users in a process of changing the way of working.

In the specific case of Omron Healthcare, an international client spread out across EMEA, the sales organization wanted better insights from meetings held with large customers or resellers of their products.
They needed more alignment between the regions and countries sales meetings. The current practice meant each regional or even sub-regional team had their own way of working, with many different forms of meeting notes taking, in many different formats (Word, Excel, paper-based, or other forms), and in many locations (laptop hard drives, shared network drives). Consequently, there was no single place to be able to find all sales meeting notes.
The solution? Using OneNote notebooks in each channel in Microsoft Teams where salespeople share their meeting notes for that region. Subsequently, each regional notebook is set up, with section groups, sections, and pages.
By watching this webinar, you will be able to learn practical Office 365 Client Use Case and specifically, centralizing sales meeting notes with Teams and OneNote.
Moreover, you will know more about how to design the Team channels and tabs, structure the OneNote notebook with specific access rights for section groups and using page templates. Lastly, another key benefit that this webinar offers is concrete information on how salespeople went through training, and what typical current behaviour was though to tackle.

The entire webinar has been recorded and can be watched for free just by creating a free account through this link:

Insight into Sales Meetings Done Smarter: Meeting Notes with Microsoft Teams and OneNote

How to reduce the cost of a user adoption strategy?

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Time is money. Said Benjamin Franklin and he was right. Especially nowadays.

If you think about your work day and all the activities and tasks you have completed… so many things need to be done in a short period of time. user adoption
Indeed, time is precious, so we have to use it in the right way. Hence, managing your time in a productive way, is critical. This is why people are looking for better options and solutions that can allow them to be more efficient. If you are working with your colleagues, which tool is the best for communicating and collaborating? No matter if you are working alone or in a team, time is always precious and working efficiency is always a priority.

 

How can organizations deal with this challenging demanding environment?

Technology comes to help. For example, Microsoft Office 365 tools are giving new modern ways of working. They enable employees to be more productive, more efficient while collaborating more.
But what happens when these tools are so new for employees? This brings big changes to their working environment and daily routines. And when it actually happens, people are stressed twice: how to meet their deadlines while learning how to work with the new tools?
In general, employees are always stressed about new technologies coming into their workplace. They are worried about how disruptive this will be for them. Usually, they are worried and raising questions like: will I understand the new tools? will I be able to use and work with them?

 

user adoption

 

Of course, managers say that they try to help employees to get to know the new tools. They organize trainings, they hire external experts’ trainers, send employees to some workshops. However, much of these trainings are, unfortunately, worthless. According to McKinsey & Co. research, only 25% of respondents to a 2010 survey said that training improved employees’ performance.

And the fear about how the change will affect their job causes reluctance to use the tool or to know more about it, as a result, employee spend more time working on their task because working tools are new and they still haven’t developed skills how to use these tools efficiently. What is more, when tools are new users have to spend long hours in training instead of working on their actual tasks. Lastly, the IT environment is changing rapidly, so what happens…? What you have learned a months ago, can look different today.

Continuous leaning that doesn’t require a lot of time is needed

To encourage your employees to learn how to work with new tools, managers need to provide them with good quality, relevant, always updated learning content that is available at any time. Silverside presents an Office365 knowledgebase QuickHelp.

This is a cloud-based training solution for Office 365 users, that is accessible anywhere at any time, right from within your Office 365 App Launcher. This platform provides always updated information depending on user’s skills and needs
(from a non-advanced user to a very advanced and even technical user.) The majority of content is in short videos (1- 4 minutes) so it is easy to follow.
Every user can find answers to questions or learn something new by taking only less than 5 minutes every day. Using QuickHelp all user aroption employees can be guided with assigned learning paths. It offers a personalized account, where he/she can select learning videos based on their preferences regarding Office 365 apps. This learning platform provides up-to-date information so an advanced user can find new topics, meantime a beginner can follow the full program on a certain topic without having any information gaps.

The strength of QuickHelp is the ability to give personalized, relevant and timely content for its users.

QuickHelp aims at eliminating inapplicable, irreverent content and focuses on those Office 365 tools that you are using.
With this platform user are able to reach the information they need based on their previous knowledge, preferences and, role in the company. And QuickHelp is available 24/7 so employees do not need to sit in a training for long hours.
Join us at our FREE workshop “Office 365 training: 5 min per day to increase user adoption” where our experts will present the changes in the IT world, the changing role of the IT support desk and will introduce the new approach ‘’ fix problems and learn at the same time’’ with QuickHelp.

7 things that will help you running successful projects

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What does all modern knowledge workers have in common? Projects.
The amount of existing research about projects and project management is huge in the academic world. However, even though these studies are useful guidelines, contributing to expanding the knowledge of managers and project managers, sometimes research is far away from real life and daily practice.

 

Indeed, many studies exist on project failure, detecting and analyzing the causes of failure for projects in organizations. Among the common reasons for failure there are:

• Poor planningprojects failure
• Poor experience and knowledge of the Project manager
• No monitoring
• Not respecting initial objectives
• Losing control of the team
• Poor communication and collaboration
• Poorly defined requirements
• No risk management plan
• Unrealistic project estimates

What studies do not always address is how to avoid these failures while running a project in the complex context of real business life.
Thanks to Silverside experience with project management, it has been possible to list the seven things project team members and project managers can do to improve the chances of success of your projects.

 

1. Plan

Firstly, you should define the desired outcomes and results of the project, with strict time planning. Another important task in this phase is to assign the right human and financial resources, together with the necessary tools and rules. Finally, find the right project members and equip them with the right tools.

 

2. Methodology

Decide upfront the methodology you will use on your project. What project phases will the project proceed through? What will be the key go/no-go decision points? What are the expected project outputs for each phase? Think of a structured methodology.

 

3. Communicate

Analyse the key stakeholders and communicate with them throughout the project. Your stakeholders can make or break your project. A proper communication plan is needed to communicate in the best way with all your stakeholders, from team members to sponsors, managers or external stakeholders.

 

4. Collaborate

Using the right tools and strategies to collaborate with the project team members and stakeholders is a fundamental task. Too many times the collaboration strategy is underestimated and this impacts negatively on the end results of the project. Office 365 offers many apps to improve project management and collaboration within the teams, like Microsoft Teams and Planner. In this way, you can draw up a project schedule that clearly allocates project tasks to team members and collaborates simultaneously on the same platform and digital workspace in a smarter way.

 

project collaboration

 

5. Monitor

Get your sponsor and key stakeholders together to track the milestones of your project and your achievements on a regular basis. How will you know if your project has succeeded? What are the key indicators of success? Which tools and norms are you going to is? How to correct the process if needed?

 

6. Risk management

Unforeseen events are always happening, you cannot think about and foreseen everything. It’s real life, real work and chaos happen. Do not let an unforeseen event sink your project. Find out what risks can threaten your project and build a risk strategy into your project plan. You will face issues and problems only if you have the answers and strategies to overcome them. Don’t forget to keep track of these and communicate their impact and consequences, while adjusting the planning.

 

7. Learn from mistakes

Use your monitoring reports to evaluate success and failure. Once the project finishes, use these reports to learn for the future, you can always improve your practice. But do not only use statics and diagrams as reports. Ask toy team members and stakeholders how they felt about the project and the collaboration. Was the project a success from their perspective? How did the project impact them personally? From this, you will discover what went well and what did not go so well. Apply these lessons to your next project.

 

running a project whitepaper

Successful projects do not just happen. They require structured planning, the right tools, insightful management, and good interpersonal skills.
Silverside principle whitepaper running a project explores the state of running team projects today, looks at the research on running team projects and casts our vision for improving this important aspect of organizational life. In this way, we offer guidance to project managers and project teams members. With our research and practical suggestions, running a project will be an easier and more successful task.

How to change user's behavior?

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We all have some behavior that we would like to change in ourselves or encourage others to change in a positive way. Sometimes we see the clear value of doing things differently, but for some reason, we do not change our behavior.

How do we start changing the behavior? For example, you want to quit eating candies. And so, you tell yourself ‘’ I have to stop eating candies otherwise, I will be fat.’’ So what we do here is trying to scare ourselves with the negativity that might happen to us and we think that this leads to making a change. And this tactic is very widely used not only by individuals but also in many organizations and institutions for example by a government saying ‘’ stop leave trashes otherwise you will live in a dirty neighborhood’’ or by healthcare institutions ‘’Stop smoking. Smoking kills’’

However, research shows that warnings have a little impact on changing behavior. According to Dr. Tali Sharot research, when we think about negative consequences we tend to ignore them because we are not completely sure if this (the negative scenario) will happen to us for real, we prefer to ignore negativity and so this emotion is not the best stimulation for a change. However, positive emotions are encouraging people to change says Dr. Tali Sharot. We like to feel that we achieved something positive, even though it is a small step.

QuickHelp

This model works for every kind of changes and the business world is not an exception. Indeed, nowadays in the global market, only those companies that can adapt to fast changes will survive.
Doesn’t matter in which market or sector you work, you have to always be dynamic, grow and learn a lot. But this is definitely easier said than done.

How can organizations deal with this challenging environment? Technology can certainly help. For instance, Microsoft Office 365 tools are revolutionizing the way of working in many companies around the world. They enable employees to be more productive, more efficient while collaborating more.
But what happens when these tools are so new for employees? This brings big changes to their working environment and daily routines. And when it actually happens, people are stressed twice: how to meet their deadlines while learning how to work with the new tools?
In general, employees are always stressed about new technologies coming into their workplace. They are worried about how disruptive this will be for them. Usually, they are worried and raising questions like: will I understand the new tools? will I be able to use and work with them? And the fear about how the change will affect their job causes reluctance to use the tool or to know more about it.

HOW TO TURN CHANGES INTO A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE?

Everyone wants to achieve positive results in a short period of time. Employees that are going through a change process are not an exception. So how we can offer them positive emotions in a change process that will not take much time?

Tiny Habits Program Tiny Habits Program

A “Tiny Habit” is a simple behavior or action you do at least once a day, that takes you less than 30 seconds and that requires little effort. Every time you succeed in doing or embracing the new habit, you must celebrate. The stronger you feel a positive emotion after your Tiny Habit, the faster it will become automatic. So with small actions repeated regularly, we can easily transform our behavior at work. Hence, if you want to encourage people for changes, this method can be an easy way to bring some positive emotions for employees when they feel happy that they did a small positive step towards bigger results.

QuickHelp. 5 min per day to improve your digital skills

QuickHelp is a cloud-based training solution for Office 365 users, that is accessible anywhere at any time. This platform provides a lot of information that is useful for all end-users (from a non-advanced user to a very advanced user.) The majority of content is in videos, that are shot (from 1 to 4 minutes) and very concentrate. It also gives opportunities to sign up for ‘’events’’, webinars with Microsoft certificated trainers where participates can ask questions online.

Quickhelp
By using QuickHelp all employees have a learning path to follow. A personalized account is offered, so every user can select learning videos based on their preferences regarding Office 365 apps. This learning platform provides up-to-date information so an advanced user can find new topics, meantime a beginner can follow the full program on a certain topic without having any information gaps. The most important, all information is accessible at any time and it’s simple to use. By taking only a few minutes per day to watch a video about the tool you would like to know more employees will have a positive feeling that they learned something. To do so employees were encouraged by the positive feelings and not by warnings.

In the process of changing our behavior emotions are playing an important role. We want to succeed and feel good about our selves. In a business environment, a ”change’’ usually is associated with new ways of working that cause stress. It means that employees have to accept and adapt to novelties. This negative feeling causes reluctant for a change. However, even though the change process is difficult and challenging, luckily, there are some tools and methods that can bring positive emotion to users and encourage them to change their behavior. Follow these rules and do small steps for big changes. And if you want to know more join our workshop Office 365 training: 5 min per day to increase user adoption!

Part 1. What If

Part 2. Magic and Modernisation

Part 3. People and Technology

Part 4. Unpacking People

Part 5. Unboxing Technology

Part 6. Refining People and Technology

Jon had arranged to meet Mal to share the idea and the two mindmaps. Was the idea just what Jon could see, or could Mal see it too? Was it just the viewpoint of one person, or something larger and broader? Was the frustration that Jon felt an isolated feeling, or indicative of a wider reality?

Once their respective favourite hot beverages had been delivered to their table at the cafe, Jon turned the conversation to the idea.

“We’re too far behind the times. How we work is old and outdated. And it’s costing us in morale, in employees, and in the business opportunities we are (and are not) winning in the marketplace. I think we need to change.”

Mal nodded in agreement. “I see it too. I lost a key employee last week to a competitor because we couldn’t win the right types of business – our processes are too slow, too error-prone, and too archaic.”

“I’ve been thinking,” said Jon. “Well, dreaming really, about how we could change. And what would be involved.” Jon tabled the mindmaps for Mal to review.

“It’s a good start,” commented Mal, after reading both the people and technology mindmaps carefully. “But you have conflated too much under the people and technology words.” Mal picked up an orange pen. “May I?”

“Sure, go ahead,” Jon said

Mal started to mark up Jon’s mindmaps, beginning with the technology one.

“I see these ones as being more about how we work – let’s use the word ‘process’ here – although we could also say ‘practices’,” said Mal, drawing lines from two items on the technology mindmap:

  • How can the available capabilities be used by our people to enhance / change / impact their work for the better? What’s the scope of potential? What would be realistic, reasonable? What could be awesome?
  • How could we describe the available capabilities in a way that people can understand what it means for them? Not to drone on about this feature and that function, but instead to present a compelling narrative of how using it right would impact (and benefit) them?

Mal wrote the word “process” on the people mindmap as well. “Same with this one Jon. I see this as being just as much about process as people,” said Mal, drawing a line from “Locations and mobility. Where do our people work from? How frequently are people working on the move?” to the new word.

“You okay with these changes?” asked Mal.

Jon shrugged, but not in a dismissive way. “Sure. What else?”

Mal re-read the two mindmaps. “I think there’s another couple of words we should be thinking about too.”

See Part 7. Downward Trend Lines

How to get the most out of your Microsoft Office 365 investment?

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Your IT manager suggested migrating to Microsoft Office 365, as it has been addressed as the best option now for your company. You trust him, you trust the IT team. So you did the migration, bought the licenses and now all employees are in. The investment was huge, and it’s time to get the most out of it. But how do you know whether and how your employees are going to use and exploit the possibilities that Office 365 can offer them in terms of productivity, collaboration and smart working?
By helping your end-users understand how those capabilities can improve their team collaboration and simplify their day-to-day tasks, you can make some positive changes for your company, starting to act for your return on investment.

 

Return on investment

 

 

1. Use Targeted Communications

To change the behavior of your end-user community and make them adopt the new technology, a communication strategy is essential. First of all, you have to create awareness and information about what is going on and what this changes will mean for end users.
You need to customize the message to their job role and specify how the new features can help them to be more productive, meaning do more in less time. So, focus on your audience and their needs. The critical question is “What’s in it for me? “ In other words, highlight the benefits for them.

2. Media mix

To implement your communication strategy, you can use several channels.
Printed material such as posters, flyers, brochures, and reference cards. They can be put up in common areas such as break rooms, printer bays, and bathrooms. Communicate your message and boost discussions, questions, dialogues.
Live events such as webinars, workshops, lunch and training. These are a great way for IT to engage with end users, learn about how the tool works, and discover many opportunities to solve real business problems with Office 365.
Audiovisual material. Videos broadcasted in your collaboration platform, internal organizational channels, WhatsApp groups, social media, intranet, corporate emails and newsletter.

media mix

3. Word of mouth

The good old way of communicating always works. People like to talk with people about what is happening in the organization. Everyone is involved in the word of mouth process to communicate the changes and marketing the new technology. Executives and managers are not excluded. They also have to tell their direct reports to peers telling peers. You can harness the power of peers telling peers by creating a champions program.

4. Champions program

Identify people in your company who see the value of Office 365 through personal experience and are willing to mentor their peers. They will be your ambassadors, promoting the use of the tools to their colleagues and inspiring them to follow their example.

5. Technical support for new users

The IT Helpdesk staff should be trained in what Office 365 can do, as well as how to support users facing problems and difficulties. Moreover, the IT help desk can identify a business productivity problem that Office 365 can solve in ways the end user is not aware, or discover common issues experienced by users that need more training.

6. Learning opportunities

Whether it is e-learning sessions, workshops, live or virtual training, the most important thing is to help users familiarize and experiment with Office 365. Learning how it works, the concrete possibilities and actions they can do in the daily work explained by experts is fundamental to avoid the barriers that can stop new users to adapt to the new tools.

 

conference call Skype

 

7. Keep track and monitor the progress

To do so, Microsoft provides many tools, such as Microsoft 365 usage analytics within Power BI. Thanks to this tool, you can gain insights on how your organization is adopting the various services within Office 365 to communicate and collaborate. You can visualize and analyze Office 365 usage data, create custom reports and share the insights within your organization and gain insights into how specific regions or departments are utilizing Office 365.

 

These seven points represent some tips and general ideas on how to proceed when a new technology, like Office 365, is being introduced in your company. However, to ensure a positive rate of user adoption and a successful change management strategy that will pay back your investment, a more structured user adoption strategy and change management methodology are needed.

Pace methodology SilversideSilverside PACE methodology is made of four phases: Plan, Acquire, Change, Enhance. Managing the organizational changes in the method of working and in technologies is just easier for managers, consultants and end users. Firstly, be aware of the organizational culture of your company and plan a complete and predictive change management strategy in all the aspects. Secondly, acquire the new collaborative business vision and the technologies necessary to implement the strategy. A user adoption strategy is fundamental at this stage to instill change at every level in the organization. Lastly, optimize the value gained by adjusting the strategy, address key challenges and align with the required business outcomes.

Download the PACE whitepaper! 

Part 1. What If

Part 2. Magic and Modernisation

Part 3. People and Technology

Part 4. Unpacking People

Part 5. Unboxing Technology

 

The planning board meeting had been torturous, as usual. Anyone would think that a regular meeting like that would have a rhythm to it – key topics to consider, key issues to debate, and a clear sense of what to do next by the time the meeting concluded. Instead they dragged on, were poorly facilitated, and generally just concluded that another meeting – in a month – was in order. Jon found the meetings ineffective, a waste of time, and stuck on merry-go-round mode. But it was fascinating to watch in some ways; Jon just couldn’t fathom that things could have become so bad. For all that they promised in bringing people together, meetings at the firm seemed to undermine the already fragile willingness to work together. Oh well … soon it would be time to embark on a “fixing meetings around here” crusade, but not today.

Jon looked back over the earlier mindmap on people. Those words and phrases had been useful in unpacking what the word “people” meant. Now it was time to do the same with the next big word – “technology.” Drawing several lines on a page out from the new word, Jon started to brainstorm again:

Technology. Who the vendor is, and what their products can do. And can’t do.

Technology. What is made available – or turned on – out of the set of capabilities in the underlying product. Not everything is necessarily of value, so perhaps not everything should be released. Or released at once? Or at all? Or ever?

Technology. How is the category of technology trending in the wider market? Who is doing interesting things? Is the category growing, at a plateau, or in decline? Any major concerns being raised?

Technology. How can the available capabilities be used by our people to enhance / change / impact their work for the better? What’s the scope of potential? What would be realistic, reasonable? What could be awesome?

Technology. How could we describe the available capabilities in a way that people can understand what it means for them? Not to drone on about this feature and that function, but instead to present a compelling narrative of how using it right would impact (and benefit) them?

Technology. What types of firms, teams, groups and people are making effective use of the technology? Who is struggling with it?

Technology. How are others describing the benefits that accrue from using the new technology in an effective way? Are there any significant costs to be aware of? Major drawbacks or downsides?

Much more than what’s in the box – “technology” is all about how what’s in the box is used to create an effect.

See Part 6. Beyond People and Technology

4 reasons why IT is a challenging environment

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We are working in a business environemnt  where every day we see how employees encounter different issues related to the way of  working,  communciating, collaborating,  but also about tools and technologies. Since the business world is becoming more and more demanding, people have more work to do and less time, so employees have to do more in the same amount of time. This is why technology can help us by offering possibilities to be more productive at work. If on one hand technology supports and helps employees and businesses, on the other hand it is tricky and can cause many issues to the users.

Indeed, hardly a day is passing by without at least one novelty in IT environment is released. As a consequence, technology in our working environment is changing very fast: new products, new features and updates are being presented every day. In Silverside working practice we see some main challenges that companies have, but have to overcome.

What are the biggest challenges in this dynamic IT world?

1. Workload

If you think about your work day and all the activities and tasks you have completed… so many things need to be done in a short period of time.

workloadTime is precious, so we have to use it in the right way. Hence, managing your time in a productive way, is critical. This is why people are looking for better options and solutions that can allow them to be more efficient. If you are working with your colleagues, which tool is the best for communicating and collaborating? No matter if you are working alone or in a team, time is always precious and work efficiency is always a priority.

Technology provides all kinds of possibilities: tasks are automated, it is easier for employees to reach their goals in faster ways and it is now possible what some decades ago was impossible. In this context, competition in the market is higher than ever. Moreover, customers all around the world are more and more demanding, pretending high quality products and services, the right support from suppliers and fast responses when they have all kinds of issues. The result? The need for employees to reach maximum productivity in order to keep up with the workload they are assigned to do.

2. Globalization

We are living in a global economy. This means that companies expand all around the globe, opening new branches in different countries and continents, in order to enlarge the profits of the global market. In other words, business doesn’t have any boundaries anymore. This has a great impact on the way of collaborating and working.

Globalization

Nowadays, people can be in the different places and still work together: remote team work is a habit and being part of the same project team together with people from Japan and Canada is now the norm. How can this be possible? Thanks to technology. Hence, it is not possible to imagine working without smart technologies for business communication. If you have a meeting, do you always need to be physically in the same room with your colleague? In this age, the answer is definitely NO. However, the question arises on HOW to do that in a productive way with the right technologies? Which apps and which functionalities to use to have the most effective online meetings and conferences?

3. Fast Changes

The only constant is change.

fast changes

We are facing the challenge of finding that perfect balance between keeping up with change and not changing for its own sake. Change is inevitable, and change is good, but  change must be consistent with corporate objectives and and bring some positive results.

The impact of technology on constant changes is huge, because new tools, apps, new features, and updates are being released on a daily basis. Technology is changing so rapidly for organizations and the ability to adopt new technologies is becoming a vital mechanism. Hence, managers all over the world make many efforts in searching for the best technologies to help employees work better and smarter because nowadays the technologies give us many opportunities on how to improve our work.
However, changing the technologies means changes in the way we work, so people need to adapt and develop new skills.

4. User adoption

When we talk about business technologies the big problem arises when in reality only a few people will actually use these new tools. Why they do so? Because people don’t like changes, they like to behave in the same old ‘’natural’’ way. As a consequence, making change work for your business is the challenge. One of the biggest challenges that technologies bring to business is user adoption: getting employees trained on new tools of working and encourage them to use new tools on a daily basis.
However, at first, employees are stressed about new technologies coming into their workplace. They are worried about how disruptive it will be for them. Usually, they are worried and raising questions like: Will I understand the new tools? Will I be able to use and work with them? When employees are told that new technologies are coming into their workspace, they get stressed and feel under pressure. And so, the fear about how the change will affect their job causes reluctance to use the tool.

 

user adoption

 

One of the biggest mistakes that companies do when they implement the new technology, is thinking that the date when that technology is introduced, correspond to the starting date of its usage. Because it is not! The real struggle is not the switch from one software to another, but the task to make people adopt it.

 

Here I listed four business challenges that I believe have the biggest impact on our daily work. It is not difficult to imagine that in such a condition it is really challenging for us to keep up with this pace and the struggle with personal and group productivity, collaboration,  adoption of new tools and new ways of working is real. Hence, Silverside invites you to participate in our free workshop ‘Office 365 training: 5 min per day to increase user adoption‘, together explore the challenges that the dynamic IT world brings for the end user and find out about possible ways how to overcome these struggles.

Part 1. What If

Part 2. Magic and Modernisation

Part 3. People and Technology

Part 4. Unpacking People

It was a few days before Jon could pull out that slightly less new journal again. There was much happening at work and home, and carving out time to think was often a challenge. But the train was good. As was the local park during the lunch break. And at a local coffee shop too, and that’s where Jon had set up this afternoon.

Jon kept coming back to those two mega-words on the first page of the journal – “people” and “technology.” While there was everything right and correct with both as having a huge impact on the journey of modernisation, they were too high-level to be meaningful. What aspects of the “people” side had to be explored? Likewise, what aspects of the “technology” side had to be understood?

As the smell of fresh coffee wafted through the shop, Jon looked at the first word – people – and quickly drew several lines coming off the word. Jon wrote an idea at the end of each line – knowing the ideas didn’t have to be right immediately, but could be useful and insightful.

People. Who are the kinds of people we have at our firm?

People. What are the job roles that people do at our firm?

People. What are the challenges our people face in doing their work today?

People. Locations and mobility. Where do our people work from? How frequently are people working on the move?

People. Approach toward change / progress / improvement / modernisation. Who is pushing to get better? Who is holding back?

People. How do our people relate to each other? How well do our people work together? What commonalities unite us?

People. Who else is ready for a change in how we work together? Who else is supportive and willing to champion for the modernisation journey?

Jon’s watch sounded an alert: the planning board meeting started in 15 minutes. Jon shut the journal, pocketed the pen, and picking up all the gear, walked out.

People. There was a lot more to this word than first met the eye.

Next time – technology.

Part 5. Unboxing Technology

Paintbrushes and Coffee

Part 1. What If

Part 2. Magic and Modernisation

Part 3. People and Technology 

Our person with an idea needs a name, otherwise this story will be too hard to follow. Let’s make the name Jon, because that could be short for Jonathan or Joni, and whether our main character is male or female isn’t of relevance to the story. We just need a person to take the initiative and act, and while any name would do, we’ll run with Jon.

Jon pulled out a new journal on the way to work, and got ready to think in ink. The fast train always provided a way of getting into the flow for Jon; the rushing scenery that made it hard to discern objects in detail served as a reminder to pull back from the specifics and notice the bigger picture. The swaying of the train, the low murmuring of discussions throughout the carriage, and the smell of fresh coffee wafting from the onboard cafe helped too. 

Jon was fascinated by the intersection created between people and technology. By the opportunity that people had to choose their own tools in the first instance, but how those tools then came to define the chooser. The kid playing with a hammer became the builder. The teenager selecting the perfect paint brush became the painter. The baker of cakes for school fund raising became the restaurant owner. The guy with an email address became the prolific and relentless writer and checker of emails. What technology offered as a gift to each one became part of who they became: a learned response, an ingrained behaviour, an expected approach.

But what has been done in the past could be changed in the future, and Jon had seen it change with friends over the past 15 years. The builder embraced a nail gun. The painter uses a spray machine. The veritable sender of email switches to using Slack. Change is possible across all the roles, but change must be seen to be relevant, applicable, and delivering value. At an individual level – person-by-person in isolation where the actions of one don’t have an immediate effect on others – the journey of modernisation and change is only a matter of a new decision, a new skill, and a willingness to try. In a larger group context, where people work together and are inter-dependent on each other to deliver something of combined value, a re-forming of how the group works together is required. While one can champion for change, one can’t force the change, but must instead take others on the journey of change.

The conductor’s announcement interrupted Jon’s thinking; it was time to get off the train. Jon looked at the writing on the page, and circled two words: “people” and “technology.” It was a good and essential start, although nothing earth-shattering.

But what else?

To be continued … 

See Part 4. Unpacking People