I spent the last 9 years of my career focusing on Microsoft cloud services. Initially Business Productivity Online Suite a.k.a. BPOS, after that Office 365 and Azure. Fascinating technology, a real game changer. And yes, I really adore the Microsoft cloud stack and strongly believe the best is yet to come. Call me a believer.
Now why do I wonder if Office 365 is expensive? A small amount per user per month, so emotionally it is a low cost for lots of value. Multiply this small amount with the number of employees in your company and calculate the total cost on a period of 3 to 5 years and you will change your opinion! That’s a lot of budget you need to spend. On top Microsoft makes it very difficult not to subscribe to their cloud services so you might conclude that Office 365 is expensive.
In the numerous meetings I had with customers on Office 365, the typical plan is to migrate email to the cloud. No further plans to leverage other services included in the Office 365 suite. So you pay for a large portfolio of productivity, collaboration and communication services but only use 1? This might sound harsh but that is wrong. You can’t lower the subscription cost but you can maximize the Return on Investment.
My advice? Don’t start deploying before you investigate what Office 365 services can deliver value for your company. Prepare the rollout from a technical perspective but also talk to the business and select all services that are or will become relevant for your company and especially your end users. Because they will be impacted the most so you better turn that impact into a positive experience. Don’t forget that a few years ago Office 365 included only 4 services but the current offering is extensive. Leverage the tools you have available. Make your end users happy!
At Cronos we developed Cronos 365, an end-to-end solution that applies the principle explained in previous paragraph. We deliver both technical and business oriented services and help our customers to maximize the Return on Investment. We select all relevant Office 365 services and map existing business processes on these services. And all this is done before the actual deployment starts. Time consuming? No. This can be done in a very pragmatic way so this process will be completed in a relative short timeframe.
And last but not least, user adoption. Even if your project is successful from a technical and migration standpoint, if your users don’t know how to get the most out of their new tools or even worse, if they refuse to use them, your project is not successful. You should help them to share documents with external contacts, set-up online meetings, leverage Teams and so on. You need to create appetite so they discover the possibilities of Office 365 themselves. Classroom and online training will help, but you need ambassadors in your organization to smoothen the adoption. You need the make the technology relevant for them. Explain how they can optimize their work and automate business processes. Spend time and budget on user adoption!
Conclusion: Office 365 is not expensive. You get lots of value for money. Microsoft provides you with the technology, InspireX and Cronos Group can help you to create the value. Only by involving your business in the project and making the technology relevant for them, you will make the impact of change positive. And that’s the main goal of deploying Office 365. Give your end users tools that help them to become more efficient, communicate better and collaborate but show them how …