Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Office 365 Security and Compliance Overview

A common question you get with any cloud service is around security and compliance. Many don’t realise that Office 365 has many advanced features built right into the product. You also get a lot more features when you start looking at enterprise plans such as E3 and up.

The above video is an overview of what’s available with Office 365 Security and Compliance. It contains many of the features that I believe most people aren’t even aware of.

Of course, Office 365 security and compliance features and abilities continue to improve but hopefully this tutorial will give you a better concept of exactly what is available with the product.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Introduction to Skype for Business

With the roll out of Skype for Business Cloud PBX and PSTN conferencing I’m still amazed at how many people who actually have Skype for Business and never use it!

I have just uploaded a video I have had on file for a while that gives you an overview of Skype for Business. It’ll give you all the basics plus an idea of what is coming (now closer than ever).

I’ll also point you towards the eBook I wrote a while back with Greg Plum (from that is great introductory to Skype for Business. You can purchase the PDF version here:

or on Amazon at:

I use Skype for Business everyday and recommend that if you have access to it already as part of your Office 365 plan that you should be exploring the ways that your business can use it also to improve communications and help you be more productive.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The impact of Stuxnet

I’ve always had a fascination for the change cyber security is bringing and how little people appreciate the challenges and dangers it provides. One of these major changes of late has been the Stuxnet program and how it now seems evident that we are at the of a new age of cyber warfare.

If you have any interest in cyber security or the changing face of the digital world that we live in I’d highly recommend you take a look at the above documentary:

Zero Days – Stuxnet and the Iran Nuclear Program

It provides a really good in depth examination of what Stuxnet is and how it has impacted us far beyond its original mandate.

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon

I’d also commend to you the book:

Countdown to Zero Day

which also covers a lot of the same material.

Ultimately, I still firmly believe that technology will doom us all as I see more and more of our lives being placed in critical but effectively insecure systems all being tied together. This growing interdependency means a failure of one part of the system potentially leads to a catastrophic failure of the complete system.

Yes, technology is amazing and yes technology can help us solve many problems, but when these solution create additional vulnerabilities is the cure worse than the cause? All I can say is make sure you have your contingencies in place and always be sceptical of technology. Trust but verify as they say.

The ramifications of Stuxnet go far beyond the job it was designed to do Seeing the movie and reading the book will help you understand that Pandora’s box has now been opened.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Need to Know podcast–Episode 112

Marc and I kick off the show with a few topical news items and then I dive into an interview with Rayanne Buchianico from Sell my MSP. Rayanne and I cover off what you need to know about selling your IT business. We examine the reasons and how to go about actually doing the selling. There is more to it than you think but that doesn't mean it's a process you should put off. even if you currently don't plan to sell your IT business you never know what the future might hold. The smart move is always be positioning your business for sale, that give you the maximum advantage.

You can listen to this episode at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.




Show feedback - 

Friday, August 26, 2016

A basic SharePoint Online framework structure


Getting the ball rolling with SharePoint Online is intimidating when it comes to using SharePoint Online for the very first time. Many get bogged down in being overly concerned about getting things ‘perfect’ before commencing. Here’s a few tips for you to get the ball rolling with SharePoint Online.

Firstly, the primary goal for any business when it comes to SharePoint Online is adoption! That is actually getting people to use it. This is far and away going to be your biggest challenge because most users will resist the change from files, folders and drive letters. Thus, the sooner you get them using SharePoint Online the better. Also, the easier you make it for them to start using SharePoint Online the better. This means keeping it simple and familiar to start with.

With this in mind, my suggestion is that you create a total of three document libraries in the root site of your default SharePoint Online Team Site. You then create three subsites below the root site than each contain three document libraries. This then gives you a total of 12 locations into which you can copy files.

With this structure in mind you obviously need to name each item as it is created. Here is where you need to make an important decision about the structure of SharePoint that can’t easily be reversed once it is made, so make sure you give it ample consideration before proceeding.

You need to basically decide whether SharePoint Online will be structured by function or location. If you decide by function the subsites will probably be called something like Admin, Finance, HR, etc. However, if it is by location then the subsite would be called something like Sydney, Paris, London, New York, etc.

Once you have the subsites named and created you would then create the three document libraries inside each. These will typically match existing folders on a file server to make it easier for user to identify with (i.e. make the Document Library names the same as existing server folder names). It is possible to change the naming at this point and start afresh but remember, we are looking to maximise adoption which will mean taking the long way round to achieving the end goal. Sub sites and Document Libraries in SharePoint Online can easily be re-named or relocated anytime down the track. Yoru guiding aim should be to reduce the friction of adoption.

So let’s say that you have decided to structure SharePoint Online by function and called the first subsite ‘Admin’. Inside this you’d probably have Document Libraries called Policies, Procedures and Templates for example. Yes, you can create more locations but again start off simple. Even if you have to leave some folders on premises, keep it simple and obvious for users.

So now you have a 2 tier structure in place with 12 locations into which you can put files. These 12 locations also typically map to existing locations on your file server. With this in place I show the customer how to copy one set of files across into the first location. I then have them do the process while I watch and advise, into the second location. Finally, I allow them to copy files into the third location without any feedback from me. At that point they have the knowledge to complete the rest of the location transfers without my help. I also have the confidence to leave them to their own devices and to accomplish this initial date relocation.

A few days later when I check back in with the customer, I usually find they are happily using SharePoint but want to now do more customisations, add more locations for storage, start flattening their existing folder structure by using metadata and so on. Yippee! Achievement unlocked! Initial adoption commenced success. Next?

In summary therefore, the big take aways I’ll give from this are:

1. Keep it really simple to start with.

2. Focus on adoption and getting EVERYONE to use SharePoint above anything else initially.

3. Base your SharePoint structure on either function or location.

Using SharePoint Online is always a journey never a destination. Business needs are constantly changing, so remain flexible and be comfortable with the need to change. However, ensure you have an appropriate adoption strategy based on how your users actually operate not on how you ‘think’ they’ll operate. If you don’t, then you’ll always be wrong and SharePoint Online adoption will always be a struggle. With appropriate planning and a systematic approach, that should never be the case!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Need to Know podcast–Episode 111

In this episode we dive into the world of containers and Docker. We learn about what they are, why they are relevant to IT Pros and how Microsoft is providing more ways to utilise these technologies today. Our special guest subject matter expert is Trevor Sullivan who is a Microsoft MVP and able to explain to us why containers and Docker are so important in today's technology landscape. Listen and learn.

You can listen to this episode at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.




Trevor Sullivan

Feedback to -


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Uploading Documents to OneDrive for Business

Few people I know who use OneDrive for Business can name ALL the ways that you can get documents into OneDrive for Business. My aim was to cover all of the methods (except for third party tools) in the above video.

So here are the ways I reckon you can do it:

1. Create a new Office document directly in OneDrive for Business using the browser.

2. Upload a single file(s) from the menu bar.

3. Upload folder(s) from the menu bar.

4. Drag and drop directly onto the browser.

5. Open OneDrive for Business using Windows Explorer (requires you to go back to the classic interface).

6. Map a network drive.

7. Save directly from Office desktop applications.

8. Use the OneDrive for Business Sync tool.

9. Third party tool (Spfilezilla springs to mind).

Have I left any out? Let me know if I have but hopefully the video covers everything a new user needs to know about getting data into OneDrive for Business.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Office 365 Data location


If you want to see geographically where your data is located in Office 365, login to the Office 365 portal as an administrator. Then select the Admin tile.


From the button on the left hand side mouse over the Settings (cog) to display the additional menu as shown above. From this menu select Organization profile.


Scroll down the page until you locate the Data location area as shown above. There you should see where the data for this tenant resides.

These links are also very helpful for answering Office 365 data location information:

Microsoft Online Services – Where is my data?

Interactive Map of data locations

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Office 365 PSTN Conferencing launches in Australia

Microsoft has announced that dial in PSTN conferencing as part of Office 365 provided directly from Microsoft (i.e. Microsoft provide the dial in phone access for conference calls), specifically via Skype for Business will be available from the 1st of September 2016 in Australia. You can read more about the announcement here:

Although you have been able to do dial in PSTN conferencing via a third party provider for a while here in Australia, this the first time the service has been offered by Microsoft directly.


Once your tenant has been enabled for PSTN conferencing, when you go to the Skype for Business Admin area you should see Microsoft Bridge option as shown above that lists all the dial in numbers from locations all over the world.


You can also go into the Microsoft bridge settings as shown above to set additional options.


Basically how Office 365 dial in conferencing works is that the meeting organiser sets up a normal Skype for Business meeting exactly as they have always done. Provided that user is enabled for PSTN conference dial in, the meeting details will also include a conference id as shown above which is typically unique for that user (here the last digits have been blacked out for privacy).

The meeting organiser then simply connects to the meeting via their normal Skype for Business desktop software and others can join the same meeting via the dial in numbers provided or using Skype for Business on their desktop or mobile device.

However instead, if the meeting organiser wants to join the meeting using only a phone they dial one of the access phone numbers listed above. After dialling this they will be prompted to enter a unique meeting code (the conference ID) that was generated when the meeting was created (blacked out above). After this, as the meeting organiser, they then enter their unique security pin number (provided when they are assigned an Office 365 PSTN conferencing license). Once the unique pin number has been entered they are joined to meeting as an organiser and can manage the call and attendees.

Any other attendee who wished to join via a phone line simply dials an access phone number and enters the conference id to join. Simple.


Once a user has been licenses for PSTN conferencing they need to be configured with a PSTN provider as shown above. One of these providers is now Microsoft.

When the user is assigned a PSTN dial in provider they are also given a unique conference id that is used when they schedule meetings with Skype for Business. They are also given a unique security PIN to protect their account should they ever need to manage a conference call using only the phone.


They also receive a confirmation email with all these details as shown above.


Now, if they organise a Skype for Business meeting, the dial in details will automatically appear in the invite as shown above. They can then send that invite to anyone who will be able to connect either via Skype for Business, a browser or simply via a phone. Easy.

The only thing that I don’t have information on as yet is what the PSTN dial in conferencing costs will be from Microsoft and how they will be charged. I assume that all this will handled like the existing Office 365 licensing and hopefully directly via the CSP program. That should allow resellers to be able to bill direct and manage the amount charged to customers, thereby making some margin. However, at this stage, I have no specific details on how the billing will be handled or the cost involved but I’ll certainly let you know as soon as I do.

Now all of this is extremely exciting as it is providing us here in Australia features that have been standard in other part of the world for a while. However, what excites me more is that fact that with the delivery of PSTN conferencing the full Office 365 Cloud PBX functionality, including the ability to call any phone number directly from Skype for Business can’t be far away. That is going to be a huge game changer, especially in the SMB market.

So my fell Aussies, get ready for PSTN conferencing in Office 365 directly from Microsoft here in the land down under from September 1. Also keep your eye on the horizon because the full Office 365 Cloud PBX and PSTN calling are not very far away I would suggest.

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 110

Marc and I kick off the show with the latest cloud news as usual but then I talk to SMB reseller Jeff Huze from Interconnekt all about the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) that is now available for Microsoft Cloud products such as Office 365 and Azure. We talk about the differences it brings for licensing and the tangible benefits it provides resellers when it comes to growing the cloud business. If you haven't looked at Microsoft CSP, and you sell Office 365 or Azure, then you should. so tune in and let Jeff explain all about it.

You can listen to this episode at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.




Azure news from Marc

Jeff Huze

Twitter: @jeffreyhuze





Twitter: @interconnekt

Rhipe CSP

Microsoft CSP FAQ

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

CIAOPS Need to Know Webinar–September 2016

We’re rolling now. The September Need to Know webinar will be held on Thursday the 22nd of September 2016 at 11am Sydney time. You can register here:

For September I’m going to focus on the business of benefits of Yammer. I’ll explain how Yammer works and show you how to get started using Yammer as well as some tips and tricks to make it effective in your organisation no matter the size. You’ll also get some insight on how to administer Yammer if that is your role.

Attendees will see hands on demonstrations of Yammer and Office 365 as well as be able to ask any question during the open Q and A session. You'll also get updates from Office 365 to help you understand what new with the product and how you can take advantage of it. Join me for this revealing webinar and I promise, you'll learn something you didn’t know about Office 365 that will save you time and money.

The CIAOPS Need to Know Webinars are free to attend but if you want to receive the recording of the session you need to sign up as a CIAOPS patron (for only USD$10 per month) which you can do here:

or purchase them individually at:

Also feel free at any stage to email me directly at with your webinar topic suggestions.

I’d also appreciate you sharing information about this webinar with anyone you feel may benefit from the session.

I look forward to seeing everyone on the webinar in September.

August Webinar Resources

Webinar 2 for August now done and dusted. Thanks to all who registered and attended.

The slides are available at

If you are not a CIAOPS patron or a member of Cloud Business Blueprint and you want to view or download a full copy of the video from the session you can do so here:

you can also now get access to all webinars via:

for a nominal fee.

Details of the September webinar coming real soon!

Upcoming Ingram Bootcamps

Ingram Micro Cloud Elevate Bootcamp

I’m presenting at the next round of Cloud Elevate Bootcamps from Ingram Micro. You can register for upcoming sessions in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth here:

In these sessions I’ll be talking about Office 365 collaboration (particularly SharePoint and OneDrive for Business) as well as on Skype for Business and Skykick backups. There will also be a session on Dropbox.

Love to see you come along, participate, ask questions and most importantly learn more about Office 365!

I hope to see you at an upcoming event.

Azure and Office 365 Sydney sessions from Microsoft

I am not presenting at these but I’ll certainly be there, so come along and say hi!

12th of September in the Sydney Flagship Store (10am-1pm)-

15th of September in the Microsoft North Ryde Office (9am-12:30pm)-

Scaling Your SMB Cloud Business with Microsoft
With 55% of SMB’s now supporting a mobile workforce and public cloud spending expected to reach $141B worldwide by 2019, now is the time to understand why you need to build a multi-cloud service strategy.

This session is designed to help partners take advantage around our public cloud workloads- specifically Azure and Office 365. It will enable partners to begin to build a profitable Azure practice and increasing their “Share of Wallet” from existing Office 365 customers. It will provide sales, profitability and technical enablement.

Here is a snapshot of what will be covered on the day:
• Building a profitable Azure practice
• How to gain more wallet share out of your existing Office customers
• Local insights into the cloud market opportunity
• How to navigate the Microsoft Partner Program (MPN)
• Veeam presentation

Two sessions will be run this quarter:

Sydney Flagship Store on the 12th of September from 10am-1pm

Microsoft North Ryde on the 15th of September from 9am- 12:30

09:00 – 09:10 Opening and Welcome: Microsoft's Big Bets for FY17
09:10 – 09:20 Local insights & Market Opportunity (Update since round 1)
09:20 – 10:00 Building a Profitable Azure Practice
10:00 – 10:20 Maximising Your Office 365 Customers Wallet Share
10:20 – 10:30 Break
10:30 – 11:00 How to create a Customer Lifecycle Management practice
11:00 – 11:10 Commercial Models: CSP Update
11:10 - 11:20 Maximizing your benefits with Microsoft- How to engage with us and utilise our technology
11:20 – 12:20 Veeam Presentation
12:20 - 12:30 Close

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Show me the value

Whenever you get push back on pricing, like for example the response ‘I think that’s too expensive’, the incorrect assumption is that the problem lies with price. I appreciate that you are hearing there is an issue with price, but you know what? The real root of the problem lies elsewhere.

Whenever you receive push back about prices you charge for goods and/or services, what the potential buyer is really saying is that they don’t see the value of the item to them. In essence the price paid is more than the perceived value received. Thus, value is the real key and what should be the focus when it comes to sales rather than simply price.

So, whenever you hear the phrase ‘I think that is too expensive’ you need to shift your thinking from simply being about price to being about value. You need to appreciate that hearing that statement means you have failed to show enough value to the buyer. Thus, to win the sale you need to better show or enhance the value in the buyers mind.

If sales conversations were only about price then we’d be all buying the same thing at the lowest price. No, they key here is value to the individual buyer. Don’t believe me? Why do people buy really expensive clothes, watches, cars and so on? Without the concept of value then there would be no luxury goods now would there? Remember what I said about value? It is in the eye of the beholder. Some will pay a lot more for an item simply because it has that value in their mind.

Purchases are made emotionally. Sure, everyone pragmatically looks at costs and benefits but the actual point of sale, the actual point at which a decision is made to purchase is done emotionally once all the practical requirements have been met. Thus, sales are not purely pragmatic affairs. Emotion is involved with every purchase.

Let’s take Office 365 as an example here. I see lots and lots of Business Suites being sold to customers. Why? Typically because they are deemed the most ‘cost effective’ or ‘cheapest’. To me, that is simply an excuse for not showing the value of plans like E3 or E5.

Sure, E3 and E5 have a greater cost, but you know what? They also have a greater value which many businesses are more than willing to pay for. All that needs to happen is for them to be shown this value which is what I rarely see.

The Office 365 E5 Suite for example includes features like Cloud PBX, Lockbox, Legal Hold, eDiscovery, Advanced Analytics, Power BI Pro and more. I am yet to come across a business that doesn’t want to take advantage of at least one of these features. Unfortunately, most who sell Office 365 to customers aren’t aware of these features themselves and thus can never sell the true value of these offerings.

Once customers are aware of what plans like E5 can provide for their business their mindset shifts from focusing on price to value. They appreciate the benefits Office 365 services can provide. Many in fact see these advanced offerings as ‘cheap’ simply because the value now far outweighs the price.

That’s the shift you need to make. You need to focus on helping customers understand the value of your offering no matter what the dollar value. If you haven’t done that then you have failed to show enough value. It’s then time to go back, sharpen you pencil and build more value into your offering. Luckily for things like Office 365, the value is already there, all you need to do is reveal it and show how the services it contains adds value for the customer. If you do it right I’m pretty sure you’ll find most customers see the advanced Office 365 plans as ‘cheap’.

Thus, remember, if you ever hear the phrase ‘I think that’s too expensive’ then you’ve failed to show value. In most cases, this means you need to invest more time in learning about the product and the customer. That is the successful way to make sales, knowledge not price.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Need to Know Podcast–Express Edition

Join returning guest Chip Reaves from Bigger Brains as he and I discuss the challenges of reaping productivity benefits from implementing technology in the business express edition of the CIAOPS Need to Know podcast. Who's to blame? The vendors? The resellers? Or the end users?

Chip and I discuss a wide range of reasons why many businesses (especially amongst our customers) are not gaining tangible benefits from the technology being sold to them. Also, apart from shedding light on these issues we offer some solutions that may help improve this situation.

You can listen to this episode at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me anyfeedback or suggestions you may have for the show.


Robert Crane - @directorcia

Why the economic payoff from technology is so elusive

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Only a week until the CIAOPS August webinar

Hopefully you know about my free monthly webinar around Office 365 and the Microsoft Cloud. The next webinar is now but a week a way (on Wednesday the 17th of August at 11am Sydney time) and I’d urge you to register. You’ll find all the details here;

This month I’ll be focused on sharing with you what I believe is the most overlooked feature of Office 365. It something really simple that nearly everyone I come across either doesn’t know or realise is part of the product. If you aren’t using it now, I am certain that you will after the session. The webinar will also include news around Office 365 as well as an open Q and A session for any questions you may have about Office 365, Microsoft Cloud technologies or technology in general.

All you need to do to be part of my second monthly webinar is register at:

I look forward to having you join me next week.

Innovations Days event in Sydney–Register now

I’m speaking at an upcoming event in Sydney. My topic will be on Azure Rights management. This includes the free version that comes with office 365 E3 or better as well as the stand alone Azure Rights Management product.

The event is Saturday the 17th of September 2016 from 8.30am at the NSI Tafe NSW, St Leonards Campus, Sydney. You can register now at:

Here are all the details about the day. I hope to see you there.


Join us at Innovation Days

Join Australian Most Valuable Professionals (MVP) and Industry Experts for a one day of accelerated learning about innovative technologies. Expert Speakers will present based on their real world experience in short action packed sessions.
Major Topics Includes:

Cloud and Datacenter Management
Topics covered include Private, Hybrid and Public Cloud and the future of applications, integrating Cloud into your IT strategy/the challenges of the journey to the cloud, managing scalable applications to managing customer relationships through social platforms; Linux and Windows OS migration to public Cloud.
Data Analytics and Integration
The world is moving faster than ever before, with more devices, more connections, more networks and new data. More than ever, to stay competitive, your business needs to move fast to process the large volumes of dynamically changing data. Learn how to be at the market frontier with enterprise analytics and unlock the power of your data in the cloud. 
Enterprise identity management has been primarily focused on access to employees and contractors. But as the industry has been perfecting how to serve employees, consumer identity has presented itself as a growth opportunity for businesses and identity professionals alike. Topics covered: Identity Management, Device Management and Identity as a Service.


Session Details

Date: Saturday, 17th September
Time: 08:30am to 05:30pm
Venue: NSI Tafe NSW – St Leonards Campus, Sydney, Australia
The day session will include: 16+ sessions, solution roadmaps, direct access to industry experts, networking and more.


Proudly Supported by:


Friday, August 5, 2016

Office 365 E3 and above includes Rights Management

There are many benefits of the more advanced Office 365 plans. One of the benefits you receive with E3 licenses and above is Rights Management:


If you visit the E3 product page at:

You will find the above focus on the included Information Protection features. One of the ways this is provided is via Rights Management.


If you visit the above link you’ll find the table that compares the Rights Management features you receive in Office 365 E3 or better and with Azure Rights Management Premium.


Although Office 365 Rights Management isn’t as full featured as the premium product it does most things a business needs. It will basically protect documents no matter where they are located. Rights Management basically will encrypt documents and embed permissions inside the document. Thus, the permissions go wherever the document goes, inside or outside the business.

This is unlike most documents today that are only protected by the location in which they are stored. If you have a sensitive document on your file server, it is generally locked down via server permissions. However, that doesn’t prevent someone with the appropriate permissions sending that document, as an email attachment say, another person who doesn’t normally have permissions. That is because once the file is removed from its secure container it effectively is no longer protected. That’s because only the container the file lives in has permissions, not the file itself. With Rights Management, the permissions are embedded into the file, ensuring it is protected where ever it goes.

So, if you have Office 365 E3 or better, what’s the easiest way to start using the included Rights Management abilities you get with Office 365?



The easiest way is to configure information to be directly protected from the file system and desktop applications.

If you look at the above screen shots of PowerPoint and Windows Explorer you see there is no option to apply Rights Management. To provide that we need to firstly install the Rights Management agent software on the desktop.


To download the agent software, navigate to the Microsoft Rights Management download portal at:


Simply select the icon that matches your device. In this case we’ll select the Windows computer icon.


When the software has downloaded, run it.


Select Next to continue.


You’ll see the software configure and install Microsoft RMS for you.


After the installation is complete you’ll now need to Restart your system.



Now when you look at your Office applications you’ll see a new button called Share Protected as shown.


You’ll also find that Rights Management has been embedded into the file manager. Just right mouse click on any file and you’ll see the Protect with RMS option in the menu as shown.

I’ll cover off how you actually use this inbuilt Rights Management functionality to protect your information in an upcoming article, so stay tuned. However, at least now you have the agent installed on your desktop to make protecting your information with Rights Management easy.

Remember, Rights Management with Office 365 is currently only available with E3 or better suites but is also available as a stand alone purchase if you want it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 109

Marc and I are back again with all the latest news from the Microsoft Cloud around Azure and Office 365. More Azure services have become generally available and Office 365 has unveiled some cool new stuff that we want to ensure you know all about. Listen along and we’ll tell you all the latest plus provide our own unique commentary and opinions on everything Microsoft Cloud. Listen up for the latest.

You can listen to this episode at:

or subscribe to this and all episodes in iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send me any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.




Azure news from Marc

Office 365 Bookings released

Azure Logic Apps now generally available

SharePoint integration with Microsoft Flow and Power Apps

Microsoft announces Skype for Business PSTN conferencing available in Australia from September

New Office 365 Network community

Why Microsoft is not using Yammer for the new Office 365 Network Community

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Driving Office 365 adoption


I’ve been doing a lot of work recently helping businesses drive SharePoint and Office 365 adoption, in many cases after a failed implementations. I thought that I’d share some of my thoughts about the process for everyone.

Above you’ll see the typical diffusion of innovation curve. It describes the breakdown of typical mentalities in a business.

The first 2.5% are the innovators. These are the people that are fiddling with things way before anyone else.

The next 13.5% are you early adopters.

The next 34% are your early majority.

This takes you to 50% adoption. The last 50% of adopters are your late majority and finally your laggards being the last 16% typically.

The magic number we are looking for to achieve an adoption tipping point with technology so that it gains widespread acceptance in a business is around the 16% mark. In my experience getting to the 16% mark alone won’t guarantee your business wide adoption of a technology like SharePoint. You certainly can’t succeed without it, and it is the critical first step, but adoption success requires something further.

In my experience, the problem is that too many businesses target the wrong audiences when it comes to adoption. Most target only the early majority. The secret to success is in fact to target the audiences at the extremes (i.e. innovators and laggards). If you can succeed at the extremes the audiences in between naturally follow.

You also can’t use the same strategies with early adopters as you can with laggards. Each requires a unique approach.

For innovators, it is all about being first, being recognised as a leader and standing out from the crowd. While for laggards it is typically about time and convenience.

Your innovators are the smallest audience in a business making them the ones you should work with first. They need to be identified and then included in ‘exclusive’ adoption programs where they are given the initial opportunity to utilise the latest technology. Part of the responsibility of being considered an innovator is the expectation of passing knowledge on to the early adopters and easing their up take of the technology. Achievement of this knowledge transfer by innovators needs to be rewarded and recognised publically. It is important to note that innovators are driven far more by recognition than they are monetary rewards.

Once you have a successful adoption program in place for innovators now it is time to turn your attention to the laggards. This audience has no interest in technology, typically they see it as an impediment to doing their job. The adoption program you implement here needs to focus on benefits to getting the laggard's job done, and this typically means allowing it to completed faster or with more convenience.

An example of something in Office 365 or SharePoint that appeals to laggards is the search ability across the data, allowing them to find what they want with minimal effort.

In essence, both innovators and laggards are strongly driven by the ‘what’s in for me’ mentality but for innovators it is about external benefits, while for laggards, it is about internal benefits in this regard. Understanding the core motivation of each audience is key to creating any successful adoption plan.

So there, you have some high level considerations and tips when it come to technology adoption. You now just need to develop specific adoption plans that make technologies like SharePoint and Office 365 appealing to those audiences. That only comes by understanding what motivates them and crafting the benefits to appeal to that directly.

Adoption of new technology like SharePoint and Office 365 fails when businesses treat everyone the same. There are distinct audiences inside any business and when it comes to adoption you simply can’t change those attitudes no matter how hard your try. So rather than fighting these, you need to tailor a strategy specifically to each audience. Only then will you stand a good chance of wide spread adoption. if you don’t, you are doomed before you fail in my books. Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at any failed technology implementation and you’ll find the root causes in what I have oulined here. I guarantee.