Office 365 Digital Workspaces, Part II: Staged Adoption

March 7, 2018

Previously, we discussed the advantages a business gains by adopting an Office 365 digital workspace. Yet despite the clear value, adopting a digital workspace can be intimidating. Limited budgets (especially for small or non-profit firms), limited resources, heavy workloads, and the daunting thought of migrating content and email can cause some firms angst. Others may worry that introducing a new technology to all employees at once might cause more harm than good.
 

Luckily, there’s a “best of both worlds” solution: the staged adoption. Adopting an Office 365 digital workspace in stages makes an immediate impact to the firm’s needs and business drivers, while allowing them time to prepare for upcoming changes, and cultivate a growing base of employees equipped and excited to work in their new digital workspace.
 

In this blog post, we’ll review the best practices i-Squared follows for staged rollouts of SiteSprout, our Office 365 digital workspace, to help clients with limited resources ensure a smooth long-term adoption.
 

Stage 1 – Start with the Necessities

The first step to a staged adoption is identifying an implementation committee to direct the workspace development based on the firm’s business drivers. This committee will be comprised of department heads and other leaders familiar with the firm’s productivity and communication bottlenecks. Employees in these roles can easily determine the initial focus from a corporate standpoint.
 

As every firm is unique, so too would be its implementation priorities for staged adoption. With that in mind, consider the following example of a first stage of adoption.
 

All firms need a mechanism for distributing information, therefore, the implementation of a Home site is vital to streamline organizational communication and provides an easy means for employees to track important company events. Next up might be a Human Resources site that provides employees with self-service access to their benefits information, to request vacation time, or to submit their expenses. Finally, a site for IT staff acclimates them with Office 365 and the SharePoint platform, as well as gives them a place to upload policies, procedures, and FAQs to support other departments.
 

Stage 2 – Supplement Based on Need

It’s important to give everyone involved in the first stage time to get adjusted to their new workspace and ask questions. In this stage, it is appropriate to add automation to streamline employee’s work processes and help increase efficiency. Providing immediate benefits to the firm’s digital workspace “first adopters” gives them reasons to be excited, creates a positive buzz among them and builds momentum for site adoption.
 

As these “first adopters” flourish and become comfortable, new sites can be built and rolled out to other departments to address the greatest needs, as decided by the implementation committee in the planning stage. With each site completed, each department grows comfortable in their new workspace. The rollout proceeds until all departments have been fitted with a place in the digital workspace to suit their needs.
 

Staged Adoption Benefits

As the digital workspace implementation expands, each group of employees introduced to the digital workspace benefits from those who adopted it before them. Those involved in the earlier stages gain experience and a general familiarity with the digital workspace. They can provide leadership and help to newcomers, and advocate for the change that awaits those who adopt in later stages.
 

This minimizes the growing pains of teaching employees a new way to work. Only small groups are tasked with learning the new system at any given stage, and each will join a greater number of coworkers who can help them get acclimated. If employees are excited to help each other use a gamut of new tools that make their jobs easier, everyone is likely to embrace the change.
 

Different Paths, Same Goal

The advantages of implementing an Office 365 digital workspace like SiteSprout in your business are obvious. SiteSprout reduces costs by skipping the design phase, providing a clean and intuitive interface out of the box. Your firm has one trusted source to access the most current and relevant data. Perhaps most importantly, your firm will be equipped to leverage new technologies that streamline communication, collaboration, and the flow of information.
 

Staged adoption isn’t for everyone, and there are unique advantages to giving everyone a fresh start all at once. However, many firms will benefit from spreading out the cost, limiting the number of employees adjusting at once, and the guarantee that their content will be organized and secured based on their priorities.  Whether your firm needs to take their time with adoption, or you’re looking to get everyone started with an Office 365 digital workspace now, SiteSprout is available for both staged and full adoptions. Get in touch and we’ll work together to find the right path for you.

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