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Lessons Learned From Office 365 Deployments

Craig Yellick, VP Business Solutions

Lessons Learned From Office 365 Deployments

Blue Net has been a Gold-Certified Microsoft Partner for many years (related: Why Being Gold Matters), and collaboration is among our core competencies. We’ve been designing business solutions around SharePoint since the 2003 edition and with Teams since the day it was released. We’ve helped hundreds of clients, large and small, to get the most out of their investment.

One very important lesson learned over these many years is that for nearly all organizations, simply enabling employee access to SharePoint and Teams without any structure or guidance does not lead to a great experience. Usually, it’s just the opposite. Blue Net routinely gets called in to help reorganize and reimagine how these technologies can be better used (related: Does Your Teams Deployment Spark Joy?).

There are several reasons why this is the case. First, people already have full-time jobs in your company and it’s tough to find time to research product features and functions and apply them correctly. People tend to learn the basics and move on. Second, Office 365 is changing constantly. It’s nearly impossible to stay on top of all the many options you have for solving business challenges. Often, it’s the integration between several Office 365 features that makes for a terrific solution and that’s a tall order for most folks to handle.

An equally important lesson is that it’s best not to roll out collaboration solutions organization-wide on day one. There’s a risk that users may develop misconceptions about what Office 365 is all about. Even worse, they may dismiss the risk as either too complicated or too simplistic. And yes, we’ve seen both extreme reactions from different groups in the same company.

Instead, we have found it best to start with multiple small projects that impact only small groups. The ideal participants are enthusiastic early-adopter types that can tolerate some false starts and a learning curve. The goal is to build a solution quickly and iteratively to a defined problem. Staff learn to use tools that actually get work done and thus are willing to stay fully engaged in the process. After a few departments or other working groups get solutions delivered, you are going to have the confidence (and, the backing of your staff) to roll out more ambitious uses for much wider audiences.

Blue Net Client Case Study

“Ehlers is an industry-leading financial advisory firm, leveraging centuries of combined experience and specialized expertise to deliver innovative, fully integrated public finance solutions that help our public sector clients build strong, vibrant, and sustainable communities.”

Blue Net’s solution is aimed at increased collaboration and better data management for auditing purposes. Ehlers has a Teams architecture based on the type of marketing collateral they are working with. Documents are curated by subject matter specialists, then submitted for review to approving managers. The approval process handles comments back and forth and final approval outcomes are written to the file. The entire team uses this solution to see where files are at, what has been approved, and to retrieve files from an archive.

Blue Net

Blue Net

Blue Net is a Twin Cities managed service provider that can take charge of your technology. Blue Net is your strategic technology partner, delivering first-class, client-focused services and support. Our team stays on top of the latest technology and business trends to help companies meet and exceed their IT needs. We help you not only reach your business goals but redefine them.