Work smarter, not harder.
This seemed to be the mantra which catapulted Office 365 straight to its widespread adoption across various organizations. Office 365, which was first introduced in 2011, as an answer to Google Apps, brought together all existing Microsoft’s services onto the cloud.
Office 365 accomplishes several goals – it simplifies processes for users, enables mobile access, and more importantly, it enables extremely effective global communication and collaboration. With employees, customers, and partners all operating from the same platform, it has become easy to streamline processes and generate real business outcomes.
However, the struggle that organizations are typically faced with is the difficulty involved in transitioning from traditional infrastructure to a cloud server. This process gets even more complicated if the organization is a large enterprise with offices across the globe. It is an inevitable fact that Office 365 offers so many useful apps which can boost the organization’s overall work productivity. But it does take a fair amount of time for a company to completely adjust to the change. Is Office 365 worth this time? Lets find out…
Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end – Robin Sharma
Is Office 365 worth all the hassle?
Before we get to the crux of this article which is to discuss roadblocks in Office 365 adoption, let’s take a minute to review why you should definitely consider addressing and overcoming them.
- Microsoft continues to make important updates to Office 365 suite, making it extremely relevant for the evolving marketplace. For instance, back in january 2017 Microsoft announced new updates which include Office Lens integration in Word and Powerpoint on Android, Office Insider for iphone and ipad among many others.
- With various pricing models, increased stability and storage capability, Office 365 is quickly becoming an attractive option for enterprises.
- By offering suitable plans for all sizes of businesses, Microsoft lets organizations tailor their spendings based on their actual needs.
According to a study by Fortune, Microsoft Office 365 is used by more than 80% of companies that use cloud email and that have more than $10 billion in annual revenue!
In terms of ease and elegance, Office’s mobile apps have consistently out shined the ones of Google. In addition to the Office 365, Microsoft offers many additional services such as One Drive for business, Yammer, Office 365 video among many others.
BetaNews reports that Microsoft Office 365 is used by more than a third organizations worldwide and continues to have an edge over G-suite.
Whether an organization will save costs by adopting Office 365 or not is determined by various factors, but it is evident that its adoption can reduce the overall organizational overhead.
So what are these different roadblocks you might come across during the adoption process?
Driving Users to adopt the new change
After having used SharePoint, Yammer and other office applications for several years, most users in your organization may find it difficult to start adapting to the new change. In order facilitate better collaboration and connection, and to truly leverage your investment in office 365, it is vitally important to get everyone in the organization enthused and on board.
Start by identifying key stakeholders and connecting them with your core team to create a success plan for effective adoption and onboarding. Ensure that all employees are informed in advance about upcoming changes.
Also keep in mind that while you continue to educate technologically challenged users, you may find that tech-savvy users may try to start using advanced tools, which you aren’t ready to operate yet. It is important to have everyone on the same page as to when and how the tools should be used. Ensure that you’re giving out the right information to the right people and at the right time.
Transition to Office 365 requires users to stop using their old email platforms or exchange email systems. They also need to transfer all their previous contacts, emails and calendar to the Office 365 mailbox created for them. This can seem like a mammoth task to users who are accustomed to the traditional system’s look and feel, which might cause a backlash in migration. You may even find users going back to the old system for communication.
Whether you are using an Exchange server or Outlook or Gmail, it is imperative to decide on the suitable migration path that fits your organizational needs. There are three types of email migrations that can be made from an exchange server:
- Express migration: For migrating all mailboxes at a time
- Staged migration: For migrating mailboxes in batches
- Hybrid migration: For maintaining both offline and online mailboxes in your company (Generally used for a gradual migration)
In addition to this, you can also use the Internet Message Access Protocol(IMAP) to migrate users emails from Gmail, Outlook, Exchange etc.
You can learn more about email migration, here.
Finding the right hybrid solutions
The speed and efficiency of migrations may vary across different organizations. Most organizations today want to retain certain key parts of their on-premises environment before going all out for a cloud setting. While this approach can be highly effective in that it enhances the end-user experience and eases post-execution support, it requires a more phased and structured way of implementation.
Organizations opting for hybrid solutions need to invest ample thought into deciding the pace of migration and analyzing which parts need to be retained at a given stage of migration. While a slower approach often reduces the value and increases the costs for the firm, a faster approach might lead to end-user confusion.
Integration of active directory synchronization can help in maintaining the hassle-free co-existence between cloud and on-premise environments.
Fear over security
Security is definitely a sensitive issue. Even after the strong assurances provided by cloud servers, there is also a constant fear among companies that their data might be compromised due to subpoena issued by foreign governments. Industries such as finance and healthcare may require additional third-party security tools in order to protect customers’ confidential information and have more data stored on-premises.
It is obvious that organizations will have concerns about storing such huge amounts of data on a public cloud server. But it should be noted that Microsoft has taken security very seriously in the recent years. By offering DLP anti spam, encryption and rights management, Microsoft has proven to be a reliable partner.
It is critical for organizations to deploy a robust hybrid Office 365 environment through which authorities can regulate the access of end users and control what data can be stored on the cloud platform. You can choose a cloud backup solution if you need extra protection.
You can even visit Microsoft’s Office 365 trust center which answers all your security related questions during the transition.
Is your organization ready for the change?
Before you take the final call on adopting Office 365 for your organization, we recommend you answer the following questions.
- How can I best use this service?
- Which plan is best suited for my business?
- What workload should I move to the cloud storage?
- What skills and tools do I need for the implementation?
- How can I structure and phase the entire process?
- How can I best educate all the users during the transition and provide a better end-user experience?
- How can I ensure maximum security with the minimal data loss?
More and more businesses are reporting success by using Office 365, with IT executives claiming increased productivity, cost savings and surprisingly, better security. The best approach for organizations consider adopting Office 365 would be to do assess whether the benefits being offered outweigh the cost of overcoming the aforementioned roadblocks and consider proceeding accordingly.