/  Clare Marriot

Office 365 Change Management and Training as a Service Now Available.

Are you an Office 365 customer who is concerned that you aren’t getting the full value out of your investment? If you only view Office 365 as your hosted email solution and desktop Office software, then you are leaving so much on the table. Another problem is, even if you see all of the benefits that O365 brings, how do you ensure that your users are getting the most out of the tools that come with the services offered under the Office 365 banner?

In 2016, Microsoft released over 60 new features to Office 365 (that’s an average of more than one per week!) and to date in 2017 they are on pace to exceed that number for the year. What this means is that the pace of change in Office 365 is not slowing down, but rather it is increasing. Some people call this “the pace of the cloud,” which is great and I am a big supporter of continuous development over monolithic software packages that are stale the moment you install them. However, this has become a challenge not only for IT departments because they need to figure out how to deploy (or a better term would be to enable users to use new services as they come available) and manage these services.

One strategy we see our clients adopt is to do nothing from an IT department perspective and let the users figure out new tools on their own, if they choose to. This strategy has a large flaw in that only those users who are tech savvy or interested in the latest and greatest technologies as they come out will truly adopt new features. In reality, most users just continue with their old way of doing things and are not aware of all the additional features that are available to them (for example, OneDrive, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Teams, Delve, Yammer, etc…) As a result, you are not achieving the benefits that you are paying for with your Office 365 subscriptions.

Another strategy we have seen is to turn off new features (or where that is not possible, hiding them so that users won’t find them easily) until IT has a chance to understand how the tool works and how best to teach their users on how to use them. The results we have witnessed in these types of organizations is that unless the IT department staffs up a dedicated team to focus on learning new features as they become available, there is no way any IT department is able to keep up with more than 1 new change a week while staying on top of ongoing operations. The result ends up being that many features of O365 go unused and you are ultimately paying for something that you aren’t using.

There has got to be a better way to get the value out of your investment in Office 365 while ensuring that your users are aware of how to use new features as they are released by Microsoft. I’m happy to tell you that there is, and Blue Silver Shift can help! We call it Change Management as a Service (CMaaS) and you get the benefits of having a dedicated change management team without the high price of doing so.

To provide this service, we have partnered with a company called BrainStorm who we license their “QuickHelp” training platform and content to provide up-to-date training for your users that keeps pace with Microsoft’s new features. What you get is a curriculum that is tailored to the needs of your company and pushed to your end users in a “drip feed” fashion so that they are not bombarded with too much training material at once. Once the platform is implemented for your company, all of your employees will have access to all of the content, but you have the flexibility of assigning specific training paths to individuals over time. For example, if you are launching Skype for Business companywide, you can plan to assign the Skype for Business training to all users so that it coincides with the rollout of the software as a just-in-time type of training. This will ensure that your users are prepared with the knowledge when they need to know it.

The platform also includes webinars that are hosted daily by BrainStorm and your users can sign up for them at times that are convenient for their schedule, granting them flexibility to take sessions that are applicable to what they want to learn. The topics of these webinars cover a wide range including sharpening people’s skills in technologies that they’ve used for year (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint) or new products that Microsoft deploys over time (e.g. Teams). BrainStorm does a great job of keeping the topics relevant and timely.

As part of the full Change Management as a Service offering, our team will manage all of the content and learning path assignment based on your criteria, we will meet with you once a month to review metrics around how many people have watched which training and to review new content available in order to determine learning strategies. You don’t have to worry about the headaches of staying on top of the ever changing training landscape.

If you are not interested in a fully managed solution, we are also able to sell the BrainStorm QuickHelp subscription to you directly for you to manage yourselves. In either the fully-managed or self-managed offering, you only pay one low monthly fee per user that you have on the system. The user count grows or shrinks as your company does the same, so you are not committed to any long term contracts and can cancel at any time.

You can get either of these offerings for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee each month. You already supply your employees with coffee each day, so why not set aside a few dollars per employee each month so that they get thousands of dollars in valuable training that will help them to achieve infinite value from the tools that they use every day within Office 365.

Contact us today to get a demo of the BrainStorm QuickHelp solution or to get a quote and learn what Blue Silver Shift can do for you to meet your O365 change management and training needs.