O365 Adoption: Much more than training

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A recent post by Jared Matfess, my friend and Office Servers and Services MVP, titled SharePoint Communication Sites for your Office 365 Adoption site, proposed building an O365 Adoption Portal as a use-case for the new SharePoint Communication site. What an excellent idea! If you haven’t read his post yet, head on over and check it out; I’ll be here waiting when you get back. 😉

I often talk about Office 365 adoption at speaking events and Jared’s idea got me thinking about something I espouse in my adoption talks and how well his idea applies to it. Thanks Jared!

What do I love about SharePoint Communication sites?

You can use the SharePoint Communication site template right out-of-the-box to build a beautiful, responsive website where the content authors can curate content from across your organization to share in a matter of minutes. It is definitely a “self-serve” model where focus can be placed on the content and its layout and not on the technical back-end building of the site.

Communication site template
Default SharePoint Communication Topic site – a great place to start!

What does this have to do with adoption?

I believe Office 365 adoption starts with learning the basics. Once users have them nailed down, more advanced features and capabilities can be layered on top of it. Examples of things that might fall into the basics are:

  • How to share your desktop via Skype
  • Where to find the SharePoint recycle bin and how to use it
  • How to share a document from either OneDrive for Business or SharePoint
  • How to organize a OneNote notebook
  • How to manage your calendar and task list in Outlook

I call this type of training the ‘tactical’ side of Office 365. Yes, it’s important and in fact critical for users to know how to use the tools and do these things, but true O365 adoption is so much more than this.

I believe it is extremely important to demonstrate the way the tools are being used in  your organization and how it has improved the way real work gets done. What better way to do this than using the new SharePoint Communication site in an O365 Adoption Portal as proposed in Jared’s blog?

How can this help with adoption?

By provisioning a SharePoint Communication site as an O365 Adoption Portal and sharing employee success stories front and centre on either the Hero web part and/or a News web part you give a glimpse of this success to the entire organization. Why does this matter? The employee success stories are an excellent way for users to see HOW the tools are effectively being used in your organization.

By including Yammer conversations around adoption/training activities right from the Yammer web part, users also have a great place to go for getting questions answered. This is where you can advertise upcoming Office 365 corporate training events, share training videos and materials and even link to the FastTrack resource centre to cover the more tactical knowledge I talked about earlier. All of this can be part of the one-stop-shop O365 Adoption Portal.


Office 365 adoption is more than the tactical know-how of using the tools within it. The idea of an O365 Adoption Portal layers employee success stories and  conversations around Office 365 on top of the skills employees have already learned and is a fantastic way to demonstrate the real business value of the tool. This is also an effective way to tie back to the business drivers for the Executive team as to why Office 365 was brought into the organization in the first place.

I plan on recommending an O365 Adoption Portal like this instead of the tactical Training Resource Centre I typically see in most organizations I work with. After all, adoption is so much more than training.

How do you drive Office 365 adoption in your organization? Have you/will you build a portal with adoption success stories, upcoming training events and conversations, etc. to help drive it? I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading.



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