Supporting Microsoft LSP and customer team to design and plan Office 365 proof of concept

With significant opportunities at stake, Betterworking was engaged to help design and plan a proof of concept that would prove the value of Office 365, and inform the subsequent enterprise deployment strategy.

Requirement

Our end customer – a large unitary local authority – wanted to explore and understand the potential of Office 365 to replace their legacy on-premises email, file storage and telephony solutions, and to support their IT transformation and wider organisational strategies. This would be achieved through a proof of concept (PoC) to understand and assess the potential of the technology, and to inform the business case for a full transition to Office 365.

Having initially engaged with the Microsoft FastTrack team, the customer identified a requirement for additional advice and support – both in terms of hands-on technical services, and support for Office 365 adoption & change management. The PoC entailed the configuration and deployment of the full suite of Office 365 workloads and the migration of a significant number of end-users, and the in-house Information Services (IS) team needed the help of experienced and expert partners to ensure the success of the PoC, and to minimise any potential risks from the PoC to operational and individual productivity .

Working alongside the customer’s Microsoft licensing partner and technical services provider, Betterworking was engaged to design and support the adoption & change management workstream for the PoC, and to help ensure the PoC achieved its objectives for both the customer and the licensing partner.

Approach

Having first engaged with the customer’s IS project team to define the objectives, scope and outputs for the adoption & change workstream, we proceeded to deliver a series of activities and outputs, working both onsite and remotely:

  • Consulted collectively and individually with IS change champions to understand current processes and operational pain points, identify requirements and areas of opportunity for Office 365, and engage the change champion team with the project and the potential of Office 365
  • Defined specific business scenarios and use cases to be explored during the PoC, including Office 365 workloads, end-user segments and success criteria
  • Defined a measurement and reporting framework to track PoC progress, inform the business case, and leverage Office 365 analytics and reporting capabilities
  • Designed and delivered an Office 365 learning centre – built in the customer’s own Office 365 environment on SharePoint Online and Yammer, and designed to provide users with content and guidance to get them up and running quickly on Office 365
  • Consulted with IS technical stakeholders and with licensing and technical partners – to align adoption & change strategy with technical deployment strategy, and to inform the technical strategy from an end-user, operational and business value perspectives
  • Provided subject matter expert / coaching services to IS project team members.

Results

We successfully completed the scope of work, handing over the strategy, plan and supporting assets to the customer IS team. The PoC is currently in the technical configuration stage, due to commence in the first quarter of 2017.

Key outputs and benefits from the project included:

  • Clearly defined PoC objectives, strategy and use cases aligned with IT transformation and wider organisational strategy
  • PoC adoption & change strategy and tactical plan which the IS project team can take forward in-house, with the support of remote advisory services as required
  • Scalable model – adoption & change approach, change champion model, Office 365 learning portal, measurement & reporting framework – which will both support an effective PoC, and scale to support the subsequent enterprise deployment.

The customer IS project team and Programme Board fed back very positively, and our licensing and technical services partners are happy as the project moves into a Microsoft-funded PoC and towards a large-scale enterprise deployment.

In addition, our consultation with business stakeholders surfaced a range of requirements relating to mobility and data security, which were likely to act as significant barriers to adoption of Office 365 during the PoC – and therefore limit the potential and perceived value of Office 365.

To address this we identified a set of clear end-user and operational requirements to feed into the technical strategy, resulting in a broadening of scope to include the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security suite and the piloting of new devices in the PoC. This will provide a better experience for end-users, a better understanding of the full potential of Office 365 – and a better all-round result for the customer team and our Microsoft licensing and technical partners.