O365 Adoption: Noteworthy user groups

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Blog post: 3 minute read.

O365 adoption is an interesting challenge. It starts with knowing what your organization has identified as its business value drivers for O365 and translating those into key business scenarios which you train for at the individual level. The goal of training within O365 is to ensure users are comfortable using the suite of O365 tools in these business scenarios for their day-to-day work.

Over the recent past, I’ve made some observations about some right steps and missteps organizations make in their O365 adoption training program. This post focuses on some training strategies I’ve seen yield successful results as well as some noteworthy user groups that you should ensure you’re paying attention to.

For training content, there are excellent [free] resources you can draw from (FastTrack, Office Training Center, etc.) and every organization should be leveraging these wherever possible.

You should offer several different styles of training to users in your organization. Why? A couple of reasons…

First… people learn differently. Some may prefer a lecture-style training session with live demos whereas others may learn better by watching a video at their own pace and pausing it to try things. Some may want both.

Second… it’s been proven that people learn by having the same lesson repeated, but with different training styles. This is a common technique used to increase comprehension.

Here are just some ideas for delivering training in an organization (you could use any/all of these techniques):

  1. Links to “how-to” documents, PowerPoint, etc.
    • leverage Microsoft material as much as possible
  2. Self-paced learning videos
  3. Targeted instructor-led “Back to basics” training
    • Which apps are the “basics” in your organization?
  4. “Ask Us Anything” sessions
    • Open forum. Great for those one-off questions.
  5. Lecture style 100 and 200-level training
    • More advanced than “Back to basics”
    • Could showcase Delve, OneNote Tips and Tricks, etc.
  6. Weekly “Tech tip of the week” blog
  7. Yammer group for Q&A
    • Allows people to see previous questions and answers

Once you have your organization’s training program in full swing for users across your organization, there are some noteworthy groups I want to draw your attention to:

  1. Business-critical users
  2. VIPs
  3. New employees
  4. Less tech-savvy
  5. Service Desk
  6. IT

Curious why I would highlight these groups in particular? Let me explain…

Business-critical users

black_business_userThis group of users are often customer-facing in your organization; the ones that are the direct line to generating revenue. You want this group of users set up to effectively use the pieces of O365 that directly relate to them getting their work done. For some, this may be Skype for Business or OneDrive for Business. For others this may be the new Bookings app that was recently released to O365. Whatever the app(s) are, make sure they know how to use them… well.


female_business_userYou want to ensure this group is fully engaged with the suite of tools and is comfortable using them to get their work done. I’ve often seen training sessions set up specifically targeting the VIP group with the content being tailored to the organization they’re in and the tools they will need. It is very impactful for staff to see their executive team using the O365 tools with relative comfort and ease – this will often entice staff to use them as well.

New employees

usersIf you have staff trained across your organization’s teams what’s your plan for integrating a brand new employee? A productivity champion on their team can certainly help with this, but why not incorporate an “O365 Intro” as part of an employee’s first-day orientation? This is an excellent opportunity to train them on the tools they will need to get up and running on day one. Some ideas:

  • Show how to access O365 in your org
  • Explain the difference between the Office Online tools and the full client tools
  • Cover the O365 app basics for your organization: how to sync their OneDrive for Business, how to start a Skype meeting, etc.
  • Explain the concept of sharing documents and how they should be doing this rather than attaching files in an email.
  • Set up their mobile app so they can access mail/files from anywhere/anytime
  • Inform them about the O365 training program at your organization

Less tech-savvy

users_helpThis group may require more hand-holding than the majority of users in your organization. You are likely aware of who would fall into this group in your company. Of course you won’t call them out in this way, but you may want to allocate more time with this group to make their experience as smooth as possible with the O365 basics.


Service Desk

black_female_userThis group is the first line of defence in your organization for end-user O365 support. They’re the voice at the end of the line when a user is frustrated and wants help. Make sure you’ve remembered to train this group of users so they can effectively provide that tier 1 support. With the ever-changing O365 environment, you may want to set up a recurring training update for this group of people so they are prepared for any questions that may come their way with new features and changes.


male_female_usersSome may be surprised I included this group on this list, but hear me out. I’m talking about all of the folks in IT that are NOT part of the O365 productivity/collaboration team. This includes staff that work in completely different technologies (Oracle, IBM, Open source,…) and roles (business analysts, developers, system administrators) in your IT department. Don’t assume because they work in IT they will know how the O365 tools work. I’ve seen this group missed before – although some may not require any training and will naturally figure it out, don’t assume everyone will. You should ensure this group is trained just like any other department in  your organization.


At the end of the day, it’s important that all staff across an organization have the skills and resources available to know how to effectively use the myriad of tools in O365. This will ensure we can tie the identified business scenarios back to the key business drivers for bringing O365 into your organization.

Perhaps your organization won’t have people in all of the above groups, however my advice to you is to consider each one and if you do have them, decide whether or not you’ve addressed their specific needs.

Thanks for reading,


Credit: Icons by http://dryicons.com

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