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Microsoft Joins in the Effort to Hasten User Adoption of Office 365

Microsoft recently announced its decision to directly participate in the process by which larger organizations, and their partners, in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors implement Office 365. This participation includes direct management of Office 365 on boarding for organizations purchasing at least 150 related SKUs.

Of particular interest to this writer is some information included in a web page, titled Office 365 Adoption Offer. Per the terms of this offer, Microsoft will reimburse organizations qualifying to participate in the program a set dollar amount, per seat, towards the costs incurred by the organization to contract with either Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) or a “Cloud Productivity Competency Partner” to hasten user adoption of Office 365 computing.

SharePoint-Videos offers products specifically designed to support similar efforts, and has released both a Lite and a paid version of its VisualSP Help System (in the form of an App) for Office 365. So any discussion about user adoption methods is of interest to us, as well.

Microsoft’s decision to directly participate, and, further, to financially support the efforts of larger organizations to implement Office 365, to an extent, legitimizes the whole adoption effort, not only for Office 365, but for SharePoint, on premises, as well. Too often this writer has discussed adoption with prospects and customers who hold the opinion adoption is less than a necessary step in their strategy to obtain ROI in one of these computing platforms.

The operating principle behind these positions is an opinion about SharePoint (and, now, Office 365) computing. Some how the task of successfully accomplishing work on either platform should be an easy one. The thinking goes further to include an assumption of a high level of out-of-the-box ease of use for the various components included with these packages.

As anyone with considerable experience with SharePoint (or Office 365) can attest, the above assumptions, unfortunately, prove, more often than not, to be inaccurate. A decision to deny the real need for methods to hasten user adoption, further, actually impedes the natural process users would otherwise enter into to “warm up” to the computing methods required to successfully accomplish daily tasks on one of these platforms.

So Microsoft’s decision to directly participate in the effort should be taken as very good news.

Ira Michael Blonder

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