Focus on the ‘Me’ services first

The way I approach Office 365 adoption for businesses is very different from the approach that many take. My experience shows that successful adoption is all about understanding the human experience rather than just implementing technology.

The vast majority of people and businesses are very change adverse. That’s normal. This means they are already wary of what technology brings their work life. Many have also had plenty of experiences where technology failed them and actually made their job more difficult. All of these factors are an accumulated mountain that implementing new systems inside a business need to surmount.

The solution is not to attack that mountain with more technology, it is to focus on enabling people with technology. It is about making technology more personal for the user and showing them how it can help them get their job done. It is about letting them become familiar with what the technology can do.

Thus, the starting point is always the individual, because we all know everyone wants to know ‘what’s in for me?’. If you don’t get individual buy in then you’ll never get business buy in. It’s the individuals that make the business succeed, not the other way around! So what’s the strategy here when it comes to Office 365 adoption?

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The approach I recommend is always to focus on the ‘me’ services in Office 365 first. These services to my mind are Yammer, OneDrive for Business, OneNote and Delve.

I have talked about why Yammer is the key starting point for adoption previously:

Why Yammer is still relevant

In summary, Yammer is a great way to make a big impact with little investment. It basically allows the business to work in public, which most businesses have never been able to do. Yammer also allows people to contribute and consume what is happening in the business and with those around them, on the desktop or on their phones. In short, it brings the social nature of being human into a business and in my experience produces huge initial wins for the business.

Once Yammer has been rolled out the next recommendation is to get users onto OneDrive for Business. In essence this gives them familiarity with the SharePoint experience of working with files but without being in the glare of everyone else in the business as they do with Team Sites. Because OneDrive for Business is personal, they can play, use and learn without fear of ‘breaking something’ or interfering with others. It has the added benefit of moving all their unbackedup data (desktop, My Documents, C: drive, etc) to somewhere they can easily access that just about anywhere. For the business, it provides greater compliance and security over their information.

Next up, I recommend OneNote. OneNote is an app that most people have never used but it is available on all platforms. That makes it easy to start saving information into. Once information is in OneNote it is backed up and sync’ed to all devices automatically. How many people do you know that carry a pen and pad wherever they go? Just about everyone right? Imagine the benefits those people would get if they recorded even some of their stuff into OneNote? The killer feature of OneNote is search. Since you have already got users hooked on OneDrive for Business, now you show them the benefits of creating and saving OneNote notebooks there. Whether they create one massive personal notebook or lots of smaller ones, it doesn’t matter. Now they have a digital notebook that never runs out, is always backed up and available on all their devices.

The final piece of the puzzle is Delve. How is Delve a ‘me’ service you may ask? Well, the way I see it, Delve is a user’s personal search engine. It allows them to search across all their documents, all the shared documents they have access to, their attachments as well information about others in the business. Remember how I said search is the killer feature of OneNote? It is actually the killer feature of Office 365.  Delve shows them THEIR document feed, the people THEY are interactive with most. It allows them to create THEIR OWN personal blog and so on.

Delve is also great from an administrator’s point of view because there isn’t much that needs configuring. However, for successful adoption an administrator MUST ensure that one feature of Delve is enabled. Can you guess what that is?

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Nothing looks worse than having just a shadow staring back at you from your Delve. To drive adoption successfully you MUST have the user’s profile picture there automatically or show them how to upload it themselves.

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Users will feel greater ownership if they see firstly, their own picture and secondly, pictures of the co-workers. Remember, you are implementing something like Office 365 to benefit users, not just for something to do. Thus, doing everything you can to promote buy in makes sense. There are so many other benefits of ensuring you have images in user’s profile that I won’t go into here, but rest assured, they are critical when it comes to adoption.

Once you have all these ‘me’ services rolled out, then you can start looking at ‘us’ services like Teams, SharePoint and so on. How do you know when the time is right to shift from ‘me’ adoption to ‘us’ adoption? Well, the metrics that you established prior to rolling out Office 365 should be the yard stick, however when users come to you and say things like:

– “Hey this Yammer thing is great, could we use it for this?”

– “OneNote is amazing, will work for this project?”

and so on. Basically, you’ll know then that the time is right to shift to rolling out ‘us’ services. You just have to wait till users start asking for them. At that point you know they are comfortable with the technology and have embraced the benefits themselves and now want to extend that elsewhere in the business. They are no longer afraid of the new technology, they see how it can make their lives easier. At that point, it is time to unlock your adoption achievement award and move on.

Thus, successful Office 365 adoption is about focusing on the individual before the team. It is about giving them ‘me’ services to allow them to become familiar in their own time and space. Once they do that they’ll come to you asking how these can be extended beyond their own world.

That is the way to do Office 365 adoption successfully in my books.

August Webinar Resources

Another month, another webinar done. You can download the slides from:

https://www.slideshare.net/directorcia/need-to-know-webinar-august-2017

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

http://www.ciaopsacademy.com/p/august-2017-need-to-know-webinar/

We took a stroll through SharePoint Communications sites. What they are, how to create and edit them. Thanks everyone for attending

you can also now get access to all webinars via:

http://ciaops-academy.teachable.com/courses/need-to-know-webinars

for a nominal fee.

See you next month.

Updating your Office 365 profile is now even easier

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I’ve written previously about how important I think Delve is to improved productivity:

Delve should be the centre of your Office 365 universe

One of the key components of Delve is the profile area. As part of any Office 365 adoption strategy I get users to fully complete their profile, which is accessed via Delve.

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The idea behind this is mainly get the user familiar with using Office 365 and secondly to provide a global address book of details that will surface in various areas but especially in search. Thus, if you do a search for a technical skill, say PowerShell, and someone has that it in their profile it will be displayed in the results as shown above.

It is amazing how easy it becomes to find people and skills once a users profile is completed. The more users there are the more beneficial this becomes. However, even small organisations can benefit, so my recommendation is always to complete user profiles in Delve as the first task when adopting Office 365.

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The problem used to be that previously completing profiles was a little cumbersome because doing so actually took you off to a SharePoint page as you see above. This was somewhat confusing for users. However, now that has been updated.

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When you now edit your profile from Delve you’ll be able to do so directly on the Delve page as you see above.

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It’s now dead easy for users to go in and enter all the details for their profile and they should be encouraged to do so, no matter how large or small the organisation is.

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You’ll also see that the contact card in Delve has changed, even showing a users calendar as seen above. You’ll also see these user cards popping up in more and more places in Office 365 such as SharePoint,

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when you mouse over a user’s name as shown above.

The more you use Office 365, the more powerful Delve becomes. It is your central window to information in Office 365 and all users should be encouraged strongly to use Delve everyday as the starting point for working with information. Now it is even easier to update your own personal profile in Delve so take a few moments and ensure yours is up to date so people can find you.

Answering common questions with Office 365 Part 3

This is the third article in a series of typical customers questions around Office 365. These questions were part of presentation I did with two other resellers at the Australian Microsoft Partner Conference in 2016. You’ll find the first part of the series here:

Answering common questions with Office 365 Part 1

Answering common questions with Office 365 Part 2

The question for this article is:

My team has to manage a lot of documents for a lot of clients and we have trouble working effectively with this information when you also combine it with data from email and other sources. How can Office 365 be used to allow my business to be more effective with the information we are producing?

There are so many ways that this question can be answered with Office 365. Consider the following as simply an overview of what is possible.

The most important thing to appreciate about Office 365 is that all the information you put in there is searchable. The results from any search are ‘security trimmed’. That means you only see results that you have access to view.

For most users Delve provides a single pane of glass across nearly all of your Office 365 services.

How can I find people and information in Office Delve?

I have written articles about the importance of Delve but this one probably sums up things best:

Delve should be the centre of your Office 365 universe

Delve is available across all Office 365 suites and if you haven’t as yet looked at it then start here:

Introducing Office Delve

Powered by Officegraph

What is Office Delve?

How does Office Delve know what is relevant to me?

Also importantly, you can get Delve on your mobile devices:

Introducing Office Delve Mobile Apps

as well as you Windows 10 desktop:

Delve on Windows 10 app

Most Office 365 users also get a personal location called OneDrive for Business in which they can store all their documents.

What is OneDrive for Business?

They will get around 1TB of space into which they can store and share their personal files. This means they can move information stored on their local desktop, PC, USB drives, etc into a secure location that only they have access to and that they can share from with others, inside and outside the organisation if they want. It is important to note that OneDrive for Business is not designed as a file server replacement, it is designed for personal use. SharePoint Team Sites and Office 365 Groups are more the locations for information that needs to be shared with a teams of people.

There are many other products that do personal file sharing but here’s an overview of why OneDrive for Business is a superior technology.

Why OneDrive for Business

Given that Office 365 is much more than just emails and file storage I’d recommend you review my article:

Where to put data in Office 365?

to give you a better idea of what all the options are.

Now I mentioned Office 365 Groups as another location in which you can save your information. Office 365 Groups is great if you simply need an email distribution and single place to store common files. For a better idea of what Office 365 Groups are all about have a look at:

Office 365 groups: A quick tour of new user and admin experiences

If you then needs to add tasks to your collaboration you should have a look at Office 365 Planner:

Get started quickly with Microsoft Planner

However, if your needs exceed the functionality of both Office 365 Groups and Planner then it is time to consider SharePoint Team Sites for a fully blown ‘intranet’ style experience.

What is SharePoint

Getting started with SharePoint

Remember, that everything you put into a SharePoint Team Site is searchable, including the text inside documents. Team Sites allow you to create a hierarchical structure much like a file server but add in collaboration features like calendars, wikis, lists, etc.

You can get more functionality by using ‘metadata’ to tag your information to make it easier for your users to filter and sort.

Create managed metadata column

Set up metadata navigation for a list or library

The great thing is that you can customise your metadata to exactly suit your needs.

Another service available to Enterprise Office 365 Plans is a private video portal called Office 365 Video. In here you can place and share videos with your team. This is a great place for training resources as well as recordings from Skype for Business.

Meet Office 365 video

Manage your Office 365 video portal

You can also embed these videos directly into your SharePoint Team Site quickly and easily.

Another member of the Microsoft Cloud family is CRM. This allows you to manage contacts, sales, etc. but will soon also allow you to manage your financials thanks to the recently announced Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365

Turning business process into business advantage for organizations everywhere

The big advantage these additional Microsoft Cloud products provide is the fact that access is governed by the same login users have for Office 365. This provides greater integration and management that few other services can match.

Another location that your team can collaborate together is in Yammer. Yammer provides an enterprise social network to share information publically which has so many benefits to the business. I’ve outlined many of these here:

The Business of Yammer

Don’t forget also that many Office 365 suites provide your users with the latest Office desktop software on their PC’s, Macs and mobile devices. They get at least 5 installation on each platform to ensure that everyone has the same version of the software. As an Office 365 subscriber you receive continuing free upgrades to this software automatically so you don’t need to worry whether everyone has the ‘latest’. They will.

Finally, Office 365 is also going to provide you the ability to automate your business process and information via a number of different tools such as:

Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Powerapps

SharePoint Workflows

In summary, Office 365 gives a lot of ways to manage and work more effectively with your information. It also provides you with the opportunity to improve the way you work today, become more effective and save time. It really is a single platform dedicated to better information management, accessed via a single login that is always constantly evolving and improving. In short, Office 365 is more than email and file storage, it is a full suite of productivity services to help your business better manage your information.

Watch out for the answers to more common questions with Office 365 coming soon.

Delve Windows 10 app preview now available

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I’m a big fan of Delve and have written previously about how important I believe Delve is in changing the way you look at being productive in a business:

Why Delve should be the centre of you Office 365 universe

Microsoft have just released a Windows 10 app (in preview) which you can find here:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/delve/9nblggh4n0bv

It is free and allows you to connect your desktop Windows 10 directly to your Delve.

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Don’t forget that this Windows 10 Delve app is still in preview, so expect to see plenty of new improvements and enhancements coming soon.

Office 365 Delve and Groups

I would contend that most people have more technology at their fingertips than they imagine. The problem is that most don’t make full use of what’s available to them. In fact I would contend that most people are far from effective when it comes to using technology.

Why is this? The simple answer is legacy. Human beings are creatures of habit, they don’t like change and prefer to do things ‘the way they have always been done’. The typical manifestation of this is the common statement ‘I’m just too busy’.

In short, you need to invest to get the reward. To be constantly busy, as I have pointed out before, is a cop out. It is simply an excuse for being unfocused. Technology is there to be our slave not our master. What many fail to appreciate is that if we don’t use technology appropriately it actually makes us less effective. That’s right, the inappropriate use of technology makes you more unproductive and ‘busier’.

Therefore to reap the benefits of technology we need to invest in education to learn how to make best use of the technology we have. Typically this will also mean changing the way we do things to get optimal returns but isn’t that the end game? Isn’t the ultimate aim to become more productive and attain more ‘free’ time to do with what you choose? Yet few seem to be willing to make that investment in education, which to me is very strange.

A good case in point is the feature set that is available to people using Office 365. Most simply use it for email and they use in exactly the way they have always. What real benefit does that provide? How is their life really any better if they are just what they have always done? A smaller subset of people use OneDrive and Teams Sites but little else.

Having been available for many months, most people are still puzzled at what Delve actually is. I wrote an article a while back that explains it in detail and why it is so important:

Delve should be the centre of your Office 365 universe

Delve is automatically configured in Office 365, there is nothing that needs setting up. All you need to do is use it! Sure, it’ll mean doing things differently but the productivity rewards are great.

Another component of Office 365 that I don’t used nearly as frequently as it should be is office 365 Groups. Groups are merely a combination of an email distribution list and file storage and make a great starting point for basic collaboration inside a business. Sadly, most overlook it.

What I find helps is getting an overall picture of a product like Office 365 and then mapping data and functions into that. Here is an article I wrote to help people understand that very fact:

Where to put data in Office 365

To therefore help people better understand Office 365 Delve and Groups I have published the above webinar I conducted which will give you a deep dive into both areas and hopefully open you eyes to the potential benefits they can provide when it comes to boosting your productivity.

Remember, improved effectiveness means education and being ‘busy’ all the time is simply an excuse to avoid becoming more effective. Technology is merely a tool, whether you use to improve your life is totally up to you. Technology can only perform to the skill level of the operator, it doesn’t do anything magic or miraculous on its own. If you therefore want to use technology more effectively, educate yourself on the tools you have and the above video maybe a great place to start if you are yet to undercover the power of Delve and Groups in Office 365.

Office 365 Connectors

A while back I wrote about how Microsoft was bringing PowerApps to Office 365 to provide improved automation and connectivity with information outside Office 365. Microsoft has now extended those options further into Office 365 with the new Office 365 Connectors which it has announced here:

Announcing Office 365 Connectors

Here’s how to set up a connector for Twitter.

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From the app launcher navigate to Outlook.

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From the options on the left locate the Groups heading. Under that locate the Create option as shown above to create a new group and select.

You can add a connector to an existing group but in the list case I’m going to create a new dedicated group. This allows people to work with this specific information rather than mixing it in with other stuff. However, if you perhaps already have a marketing group, it makes sense to connect these to your favourite external service.

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The Office 365 Group creation option now appears on the right. Give the new group an appropriate name (here ‘Twitter’), set the Privacy and finally whether messages from the Group will be sent to members inboxes. Beware of using this option if you expect a lot of information to flow from the external source.

When complete, select Create to continue.

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Next, add the desired members to this group by typing their name.

When complete, select Add to continue.

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The new group will now be displayed on the screen.

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Across the menu at the top of the group select Connectors.

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This will open a new Connectors window as shown above.

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Scroll down the list until you locate the connector you wish to add. In this case, the Twitter connector is located. Select the Add button.

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You’ll now be prompted to login to the external service. Select Sign In to continue.

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Enter the details for the service and select Sign In to continue. This authorisation page may vary slightly depending on which external services you are connecting to.

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The next configurations will vary depending on the external service you connect to. For Twitter, you can select Twitter accounts to follow (@office365) as well as hastags to follow (here #office365).

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You then set the Notification options as well as the Frequency.

When complete, select Save.

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You’ll then be returned to the Connectors page where you should see the connectors you just added at the top of the page.

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If you select the My Accounts option at the top of the page you will see all the external connectors you have configured as shown above.

You can now close this window and return to the Office 365 Group.

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You should now start to see the configured external information start to flow into the conversations for that group as shown above.

So, Office 365 Connectors are a way of bringing in information from external applications into an Office 365 Group. Once there, they can be shared with members of the group as well as being used a source of information to drive conversations. All of this information will also be available on Office 365 mobile apps.

Microsoft’s blog post also mentions that a similar ability to this will soon be brought directly to users inboxes and then to other Office 365 services.

Now combine these new Office 365 Connectors with Delve and you’ll see how rich an information source Office 365 will be, especially as Delve provides a single pane of glass across everything in Office 365, now including these external sources brought in via Office 365 connectors.

Delve should be the centre of your Office 365 universe

Office 365 Connectors is currently only available for those configured for First Release but will soon be standard across all tenants. More connectors to other external sources will also become available.

So go forth and connect I say!

Disabling Delve per user

A while back I wrote a post about how to turn off Delve.

Disabling Delve

that information is echoed in the Microsoft documentation

Can I turn off Delve?

However, upon revisiting my tenant now I find the options somewhat different.

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The first step is to select your user icon in the top right of the Office 365 portal. That will display the menu shown above from which you select About me.

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This will take you to your Delve profile as shown above.

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If you now select the COG in the cupper right you should see the menu shown. From this, select Features settings.

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This displays the above information with the option to turn off documents in Delve.

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This is somewhat different to what it used to be as shown above which gives you the option to Turn off Delve and hide my activity from others.

Unfortunately the Learn more link in the current Delve settings, which resolves to:

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=715632&clcid=0x409

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appears to navigate to a non existant page.

Some of this confusion maybe because I have my tenant set to First Release which means I get newer features faster but I feel that things are not quite as clear as before when it comes to disabling Delve if needed.

Previously, it spoke about not sharing your “activity” whereas now it only speaks about preventing your docuements howing up in other people’s Delve.

Now your “activity” could now just be documents in Delve. That is, they are one in the same, but for the paranoid amongst us this lack of clarity could be a privacy concern. I think using “Don’t share my activity” is a much clearer and potentially wide ranging option.

I can’t really see any benefits to users disabling Delve but there are a small minority who might and I think that somewhat clearer messaging around disabling Delve would prevent confusion in regards to privacy concerns. I however have no doubt that these setting will appear as the service conftinues to improve over time, however for the time being you only seem to be able to disable document sharing in Delve is as I have outlined above.