After our PACE Workshop, attendees said...

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On 7th June 2019, we organized the workshop: “Learn how to create the best Office 365 User Adoption Plan”. In this blog, we want to tell you something more about how the workshop went, from the perspective of our participants! We hope to transmit the feeling and the positive vibe of the PACE Experience so that you would want to join next time! 

You can read more about the workshop’s agenda here.

Top 3 ingredients of the workshop:

  1. Attendees with superpowers: This PACE experience has been so nice thanks to all of you. We especially admired your energy, expectations, will to learn, actively participate and debate. We couldn’t ask better than this!
  2. Quality of content and collaboration: During the workshop, there were many moments to collaborate, discuss, criticise, share experiences and opinions. We loved this! And the quality of the conversations was impressive. Well done!
  3. We had so much fun! On Friday we had time for learning, discussing, playing and having fun! Gamification worked perfectly to generate fruitful discussions and inspiration for real-life scenarios. The cocktail of games and serious stuff was just perfect!

Participants said they liked the most…

“The mix between theory and practice and discuss different topics with attendees”

“Concrete methods and samples, materials provided, understandable explanations”

“Combination of lecture and activities: Sasja is an excellent teacher. Like the digging into scenarios and working as a team through the day”

This PACE Experience has been a great success! Thanks to all the participants. But we don’t stop here! This is just the beginning!

So, what’s next? Will you be there at the next PACE Experience? Work in progress…

In the meantime, you can download our eBooks or PACE whitepaper to know more. 

Sales meeting notes with Microsoft Teams and OneNote

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Centralising regional sales meeting notes with customers / business partners
using Microsoft Teams and OneNote notebooks

At an international client the sales organisation wanted better insights from meetings held with large customers or resellers of their products. The sales organisation is spread out across EMEA, divided into 5 regions, each of which consists of sub-regions and/or countries:

  • Germany& North-West- and Eastern Europe
  • Middle East and Africa
  • Southern Europe
  • Turkey, CIS & Poland
  • UK

Better sales meeting notes required

To help the organisation’s sales team be more efficient and effective, the Centre of Excellence decided they needed more alignment between the regions and countries sales meetings with customers and business partners. The current practice entailed many different forms of meeting notes taking. So each regional or even sub-regional team had their own way of working. Also, sales meeting notes were taken 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. Therefore it was hard for executive management to get insights into all of these scattered meeting notes, done in many different formats.

This organisation had already started using Microsoft Teams for the day-to-day collaboration. But rather than having many teams who shared their meeting notes in their team (per region or country), they started a Sales meeting notes team, of which all people from all regions are members, including senior management. Because there was a specific requirement to not let the regional sales people see eachothers files and notes, the standard Teams and OneNote setup would not suffice. Only senior executives should have access to all sales meeting notes (across regions and countries).

Using OneNote notebooks in each channel in Microsoft Teams

The team has (besides the General channel) a channel for each region, where sales people share their meeting notes in a OneNote notebook for that region. Subsequently each regional notebook is setup, with section groups, sections and pages. Especially relevant is that meeting notes are standardised by template pages, for more uniformity.

Sales Meeting Notes Team Overview

Sales Meeting Notes Team Overview of regions in Channels and a OneNote notebook per channel containing sections.

 

We love Teams, and we love OneNote as well. First of all, it allows for note-taking that fits the way our brain is wired. A research article ‘The pen is mightier than the keyboard‘ explains that taking notes by hand is superior because the mental processes involved requires the learner to summarize, imagine, and conceptualise what the speaker is trying to communicate. Where people who type their notes into a device focus primarily on transcribing.

Most of all, OneNote allows us to not only type, but also write, draw and record audio. It’s very free-form, meaning you can scribble everywhere on the ‘paper’, not just from top to bottom as in Word.  Learn more about using OneNote in these training lessons.

Restricted permissions for channel’s Files and OneNote notebooks

Since the team only allows for simple membership management (access to all the team’s channels and tabs), we tweaked the membership a little on the SharePoint back-end. While everybody can access the team, and view the channel’s conversations, the Files tab showing the SharePoint document Library is limited to members that have permission to edit that folder in the library. Instead of having one central OneNote notebook, a notebook is created within the channels Files folder, therefore inheriting the access rights from that folder. The executives get access to all files and folders in the team.

OneNote notebook setup

Each Channel’s Files folder (with restricted permissions for sales of that region only) contains a OneNote notebook. Therefore only the sales people for that region (and the executives) have access to these sales meeting notes.

Sales meeting notes - Section groups and sections

Section groups and sections

This is how we setup the OneNote notebook:

  • Instructions page on how to create meeting notes
  • Section groups for regions that have sub-regions
  • Sections for countries within (sub-) regions
  • Page for each customer (name), and Sub-page (based on template) for each customer meeting.
  • A template page for each customer / Business Partner meeting

 

 

Sales Meeting Note Template Page

Sales Meeting Note Template Page

 

Read more about the productivity scenario Smarter Meetings.

Curious about how you can help organisations to adopt and embrace Office 365? Download our ebook ‘Wanting to use instead of having to’.

eBook – Change made easy for Office 365

Sales is the blood circulation of a company

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How important are sales and marketing for your company? The answer may seem obvious. But actually, for many companies, especially in some sectors like IT or logistics, is not.

Harry Clarijs is a trainer and coach at Value Add, a commercial marketing and business coaching and training company in the Netherlands. value addDuring an interview with us, Harry explained how in many cases companies are too focused on technical things and on the quality of their technology products and lose the focus on sales and marketing, losing also many business opportunities. We talked about many things: how during his training he manages to change the behaviour of his customers towards marketing and sales, the barriers to change and he tries to overcome those.

 

Q: Can you tell me something about yourself and your career?

A: I have an IT background. But since the beginning of my career, I was interested in technology and in people. I then shifted to the sales part of IT, becoming a sales manager and then sales director. Then in 2010, I decided that I wanted to go further for myself and so I started my own company, Value Add. I chose to follow my passion for sales and in helping other people to become more successful in sales, a very important area of the business. The main reason is that in IT most people are technical, and do not really care or are not interested in sales and marketing for the products. They are only worried that the products and software are working, and the processes are followed. But sales are fundamental for a business. So, knowing how things work in It, I decided to especially focus on helping IT customers to reach more success in sales and marketing for their companies. A very small example: customers of an IT company, they don’t buy SharePoint, the technical solution itself. Instead, they buy collaboration and what collaboration means to them, also using SharePoint as their means and tool to be collaborative in the digital workplace of today. So, if you focus on collaboration, you can sell more than focusing only on the technical aspects of SharePoint!

Q: And what do you specifically do to spread this message around IT companies? A: Well, first, I organize these power sessions that are a sort of short workshop in which I motivate the customers and make them understand why it is important to focus on sales and marketing for their business. During these sessions, I address common topics like “how to get more customers and how to grow existing customers”. Besides that, I also do coaching, like 1:1 session with the customers. Then I do also training and business cases.

Q: And how does it feel to be a trainer nowadays with an IT background? A: It’s s a very nice feeling! I shifted from a desk job to an office job and now I am always surrounded by people and giving workshops and training. I like to be open and help people with the right training they need, inspire them to achieve more. I enjoy it very much when people are growing also thanks to me and my work. This gives me energy!

Q: What is the main challenge of being a trainer in this field? A: I would say the main challenge is to deal with an audience that is always very different and with different requests, needs and goals. It is important to adjust to them but sometimes it is also hard to speak their own language and to meet their expectations. Also, sometimes it is difficult to make people understand some concepts and above all make them actually implement into their business what I taught to them. Many times, they are very enthusiastic during the sessions, but then they do not act concretely.

Q: So, part of your job is also to make people change their behaviour and ways of working? A: Oh yes, definitely! That is one of the most important parts because if you are not acting, everything you learned remains useless for your business. Q: Yes indeed… A: And you know, change is always difficult. But change is vital for your business. You have to push people to change, otherwise, it’s a waste of time, money and above all opportunities for you and your business. You need to have the right attitude to change.

Q: What is your strategy to make people change? A: Reluctance is something concrete. Many people are reluctant, they are not convinced that the right thing is to change their behaviour and ways of working. But you know, with these people, it doesn’t work to convince them. That is the wrong strategy. Instead, you have to let them practice, see the benefits and the concrete outcomes. Only in that way you are going to succeed with them.

Q: I think that experience is really the best strategy. A: Yes, and it is fundamental to also count the different communication styles of your audience or your customers and use the most appropriate for them.

Q: And in your daily practice, which kind of barriers do you experience the mist in your audience towards change? A: Well some people say that they can do it themselves and they have no need of help from external people since they consider themselves very experiences and thus they think they can do it. But eventually they don’t do it, they don’t even try, and they go on postponing. Some other people do not accept the fact that someone else knows more than they know, and that person can teach them a better way of doing things. But then when they are experiencing the difficulties, then they ask for help and then I help them. So, these are the most frequent obstacles.

Q: And how do you overcome these obstacles? A: What I do is to be patient, helpful and work on making them experience the difficulties and how they can solve them in an easy way. And focus on the results, because everybody, in the end, wants to see the results.

Changing the ways of working of people is always challenging. This is a universally valid concept, applicable to every sector and to every change, learn how to use new technology, a new way of working or a new marketing and sales strategy. However, as Harry tells us, with the right attitude and the appropriate strategy, nothing is impossible. Learn more on our PACE change management strategy and download our PACE whitepaper.

The impact of Trust in Teamwork

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In November, Silverside participated as a sponsor at the European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference 2018 in Copenhagen. We already wrote about how great this experience was in the blog More User Adoption, Less Technology.

During the event we had the occasion to meet fantastic people, share and confront our ideas with them, getting to know new perspectives, novelties and new ways of working. We also had the chance to interview some new friends, who were willing to share with us their perspectives, opinions and knowledge.

One of these is the company Solu Digital from Finland. Solu Digital is a Microsoft gold partner that provides knowledge management and analysis models for today’s complex business world. At the ESPC conference, they had the booth number 69. After attending a session about the inner and outer loops of Office 365, we were walking through the different booths and we got engaged with this company, attracted by a big word on their wall panel “TRUST”. Why during a technology conference focused on Office 365 these people are showing and promoting the word “TRUST”?

So, curious about the answer, we started talking with Henry Scheinin, CEO and partner, and his colleague Hanna-Mari Ilola. They explained that they produced a whitepaper on trust. Henry uses these words to describe their work:

“We conducted a research to formulate of a whitepaper, on virtual teams and their success factors. We found out that trust is one of the key success factors of virtual teams. We want to facilitate the creation of a swift trust by bringing more transparency and quality of governance to the creation and management of Teams and Groups in Office 365. This way, we are facilitating better collaboration. Our whitepaper was created together with a Finnish academic consulting company called “Deduktia”. The paper was written in three steps. The first step was to do an interview with our customers to formulate the correct research problems. Next, Deduktia’s researcher, Dr Emma Norbäck did a meta-analysis on what scientific literature and discussion have to tell about these specific problems. The third step was to create a whitepaper on the key findings in the study and to translate our research into actionable points for organizations.”

The main result of their research is that trust is a key factor among teams, especially if we are considering international remote teams that have to work together in the modern digital environment. The work of Solu Digital confirms what Silverside believes in and what we explained in our blog: Trust in teams is the core ingredient of collaboration! Silverside had the pleasure to interview Henry and Hanna-Mari and they shared not only information about the whitepaper but also about their main takeaways from the European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference. Here below, we present you a short extract from the interview with them.

 

 

Change management is about communication first

Silverside is always looking for real stories about change management. This time, we interviewed Sander Verheuvel, Product Specialist and Business Analyst at Gunco BV. Sander is involved in many change management projects that regard the implementation of a digital platform, the migration to Office 365 and the re-branding of his company. How can he deal with so many change management projects? “Communication first” is his motto.

Q: Can you tell us something more about Gunco?
A: We are a Rotterdam based company, even though we also have some other branches in the Netherlands. We rent and sell lifts, other equipment and machines for companies, but we also offer lease solutions, we repair the equipment and also organize some training. Our strong point is that we deliver very quickly. If a customer gives us a call in the late afternoon, we can still deliver the machine the next morning. The competition is very high in this market and we are aware of it. Being quick in the logistics is our strength to deal with the low prices and discounts that other companies offer instead. Gunco is also part of a bigger Belgian company, TVH that acquired us in 2011.

Q: So, you do many things at Gunco and the quick delivery is your added value. Since you have been acquired, how do you deal with being a local company, acquired by a global company?
A: Well, it’s almost eight years now we are part of TVH, together with many other companies in Europe. That’s why every company was working with their own system and computer programs to do accounting, invoicing, and other operations… So they have started a project to have only one digital platform for every company so that every operation is aligned and the method is the same for all the companies in TVH. And this is why I got involved in change management.

Q: All right… So, user adoption and change management are for many companies “hot topics” nowadays…Do you agree?
A: Yes, totally…

Q: Despite this, we are lacking a bit of insight from the real world. So we started asking ourselves: ”How are these topics applied in the daily practice of organizations?“. We really need insights from real professionals in their daily working practice. And that’s why we are here today.
A: Yes, sometimes theories are good, but then in real life, it is totally different.

Q: Indeed. So how was the impact of change management on you?
A: Regarding the project of the digital platform for me was ok, I adopted very quickly because I was part of the project, involved since the beginning. But it’s a totally different story if we talk about other colleagues that just heard about the project….

Q: So, how was your strategy to deal with change management for this project?
A: First make everyone aware of what will happen with the new platform, what is the project about, what will change for them… In two words, communication and awareness.

Q: All right, so since when you started your change management strategy, how have been things going?
A: Well, as you also know, some people adopt change more rapidly and are more open-minded, other people are different and more difficult to onboard. For us, this category involves technical people and drivers for example, because they leave the company very early in the morning and come back at five in the afternoon or later. So they miss a lot of information and things going on. So I am now focused on this target to making them aware of the upcoming changes.

Q: So, the first step of your strategy is communication, especially with those targets that can be more reluctant to change, right?
A: Yes, informing everybody and communicate the change.

Q: And how are you going to deal with reluctance?
A: So, for now, we didn’t have big cases of reluctance, but in the near future we will encounter this barrier. For now, as I said, the main action is communication and involve everyone in the change project. Also because the digital platform is not the only change that will happen soon. We will also change our name and brand in November and we will move to the cloud with Office 365. And there are more change management projects. So the colleagues have to be prepared for all these little and big changes.

Q: And which channels or methods are you using now to inform people in your organization about all these changes and projects?
A: Via newsletter and emails, but we also attach informative panels to the wall or next to coffee break areas, so that everybody can read and stay updated. Also with meetings of course.

Q: Which barriers and difficulties do you expect will happen with all these change management projects going on?
A: Difficult question… we are expecting difficulties for users in working with Office 365 and the changes in the way of collaborating for example and the same can be said for the digital platform project… But then time is also another barrier. People have to deal with all these changes besides their normal job, tasks and deadlines… so time is a challenge. Another challenge is that we have several branches in different locations, so also making sure that the same information arrives at every branch and are understood correctly, is not easy.

Q: And regarding the Office 365 project, how do you make sure that communication around this project works for every branch?
A: We have selected some Office 365 ambassadors for every branch. They will work closely together from the start of the project and their role is to communicate with their colleagues about the Office 365 project, but also to train and inspire them.

Q: And how did you select these ambassadors?
A: Well, we picked up those guys that have more interest in ICT, are more enthusiastic about Office 365 and have the qualities to spread the information throughout their branch. I personally travelled a lot through the branches, so I also know a lot of colleagues. I knew who to pick for this project.

Q: Ok, so this is the strategy you are implementing right now: communication and ambassadors. But what is your vision about change management?
A: I think it is tough to find the right time for creating and implementing the strategy. So, managing time is essential and also the main challenge. Moreover, change management is about balancing constantly between pushing (because you know you have a deadline) and not pushing too hard (otherwise you can lose the attention and enthusiasm of people). Change management is a daily practice, you really have to do it every day, it’s not just a project of three months and then it’s finished. Once you get started with it, you really have to continue because it is a continuous process.

Q: Based on your experience, which will be your main suggestion to other professionals that are starting out a change management project?
A: I think that communication should be a priority and also involve the colleagues from the very beginning. Keep people informed about the steps of the change process and also which are the impacts of those changes for employees.
Change management is a hard process full of challenges: reluctance to change, people behaviour, lack of time, communication issues. However, small and big companies have to deal with it.

Sander Verheuvel’s strategy is focused on communication first. This is also what our PACE methodology suggests to do from the very beginning of the process. But communication is just the beginning.

Silverside PACE methodology is made of four phases: Prepare, Activate, Capitalise, Enhance and can help organizations to manage change in the method of working and in technologies. Download our whitepaper or register for our PACE workshop to know how we can help you to implement a successful change management strategy!

A SharePoint developer's perspective on Microsoft Teams workshops

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Jovita Elzbutaite, SharePoint Developer 

In July Silverside invited our friends, partners, and colleagues for two exclusive Office 365 workshops: Collaborate as a Team and Co-authoring documents. From our long experience of working with our customers, we see that most companies are struggling with the adoption of new technologies and new ways of working. Since many organizations are migrating to Office 365 products we see that IT department still has questions about the real effective use of Office 365. Hence, our senior consultant Sasja Beerendonk invited her colleagues and…
explore the new ways of collaborating together. Jovita Elzbutaite is a SharePoint developer in an Amsterdam-based company and she was one of the participants of the workshop “Collaborate as a Team. Jovita agreed to share her experience in participating in the workshop ‘’Collaborate as a team’’.

Q: Did your current employee already have Office 365 when you joined the company?
A: I started working in the period when the company just started working with Office 365, so I witnessed the migration process. They user SharePoint 2010 on premises before.

Q: So your company did a migration by the time you joined it, how was it?

A: It was a huge project because my organization has 40.000 users all over the world, so it was a big project. But I personally was involved in the SharePoint part. For example in The Netherlands they had SharePoint 2010 and they wanted to put Office 365 and I helped in this part, so I didn’t work in email migration, but I know that it was quite a difficult work in terms of making the end users to use the new platform. And migration is still going on, it is not finished because we use Office 365 in almost 40 countries, but we also have several countries that have their own Office 365 and now they need to migrate for their O 365 to ours, to have one global environment. Hence, the process is still in progress.

Q: Why do you think people are resistant to go to Teams?
A: Simply because it is a new tool, and they are so used to use emails that is difficult to change their habits.

Q: Being a SharePoint professional, what can you say about working in Teams? What is your opinion? Do you like this tool? Can you see the value?
A: Absolutely! The first positive thing I am seeing is that users can manage everything themselves, they don’t need to go to admin to ask to create a SharePoint site. They go to Teams instead, that is more user-friendly. They don’t need to do any complicated things. And this is easy, an advantage.

Q: Why did you decide to participate in Silverside’s workshop? 

A: Because I was curious about how other companies are using Microsoft Teams.

Q: Could you tell me what did you like about the workshop? And maybe you have also some suggestions on where we can improve it?
A: Well, the first impression was great! I loved the environment was very cozy. I like the way your colleagues accept and welcome people, this is very important for a person to feel comfortable, not stressed. And the big plus goes how it was organized.
The way how Sasja presented Teams was not for IT specialist, was for the end users, easy to follow and not too technical.
I see it as a very positive thing, you do not need to be an IT specialist to understand the workshop and so to understand how to work with Teams and why this tool is useful.
I would say that the workshop answers the question of why you should use Teams instead, what are the benefits. And the presentation was just great, the presenters did a good job and I liked the structure a lot. We had our hands on, to try to log in and use teams by ourselves within all team. So we saw and experienced by ourselves how easy it is to communicate in Teams and to work together on the same file at the same time, having also video conferences.

Q: What can be improved when talking and presenting Teams to people?
A: Well, from my perspective I would like to know more examples from other companies. How they are dealing with Teams and how they introduce it within the whole organization. What kind of problems they encounter.  I remember the presenter gave a few examples from other companies, but I want to have more. Learning from other experience is always nice!

Q: What did you learn?
A: Well.. definitely about new features in Teams.

Q: What are the benefits that the workshop brought to you?
A: for me, it was very useful! In our company, we need to use Teams, but it is not an easy task to do so. People don’t want to do changes, they have all these questions and I need to give recommendations and help users to work in Teams. For me it was such a useful workshop, I have more ideas now how to help.  This training gives some good insights on how to show people the benefits of Teams and how to encourage them to use it.

Q: Did you talk to someone about this workshop? What did you tell?
A: The day I went back to work I was telling my colleagues about my experience. We have some difficulties to encourage people to use Teams, but these workshops gave me a good overview of why people should explore Teams. It is obviously a great tool, but users are lacking in communication about Teams and they need more explanation. I hear people saying ‘’let’s just wait’’, ‘’maybe Teams is not ready yet’. I do believe that Teams is ready.

Q: For whom you would recommend these workshops?
A: I would definitely recommend these to my colleagues… Teams is a daily work, they need some time to learn more about it. This is why we still don’t go completely to Teams. But I hope we will within the next few months. So I would say these workshops would suit for all my colleagues because all for them have to use Teams.

Q: How the workshop can help?
A: People have questions about Teams and… they are too busy to Google and find the answers by themselves. I believe that if you give them an hour and you teach them it would be very useful, it would be a good onboarding action.

Q: What do you think is the best solution when employees have a question, they don’t know how to use the tool, but they still need to work with it? Because, of course, users have issues and they contact the IT support desk. 
A: This training would be a good start because it gives answers to the most common questions. But then a platform with the right content and information is needed, so people can search for the answers by themselves. You presented a new tool QuickHelp, that gives updated, relevant content for every user. From my experience, this is exactly what people need to feel secure while migrating and using new software. But this QuickHelp is handy for all users, no matter how good they are in using Office 365. People are a bit reluctant when you give them online resources. For some people it would work, but for the rest… you need to push them a little.
And also, it is a matter of time, managers should give some time for all employees to learn. Let’s say if they offer QuickHelp tool, users should schedule some time every day to learn about Office 365.

Q: What is your opinion about collaboration with office 365 tools?
A: I think there is nothing better than collaboration in Microsoft right now. I am very glad I was able to join your workshop, this definitely gave me so more ideas and perspectives while talking about Teams.

Jovita was involved in the migration to Office 365 process. From her experience, she knows that a migration to a new tool brings confusion to people. She believes that all employees need to have a proper introduction and training with the new technology and they also need some time to get used to a new, different way of working. Jovita thinks that these presentations and workshops are necessary when on-boarding people to Office 365 environment and says ‘’It is a perfect presentation that you need to give for all users when they are informed that they will work with Teams from now on. ‘’