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Building a Team of Influencers to Drive SharePoint and Office 365 Adoption

Building a Team of Influencers to Drive SharePoint and Office 365 Adoption

by: Asif Rehmani 27 Aug 2018

A question comes up quite often: “How do we find internal influential people who can actually help with driving SharePoint and Office 365 adoption?”

Successful adoption of new technologies is the result of organizational change. And, change seldom happens on it owns; long-term strategic efforts are needed.

In addition to having a proven strategy, executive influence and peer pressure are needed. You need to assemble a team of influencers that will set expectations and inspire action.

Some influencers need to provide validation, others need to inspire confidence, and all need to become role models. They don't need to get heavily involved in every campaign of the initiative; they just have to provide their support every step of the way.

For exemple, it may seem like a minor role but when influencers communicate the benefits of using the platforms, the response from employees is much more positive than if the same message comes from colleagues with no big voice.

To maximize the chance of success for SharePoint and Office 365 adoption in your company, start with the task of recruiting people who are going to push for the change that is needed.

Look beyond the IT department

Many companies tend to rely solely on their IT teams. It is usually assumed that both deployment and adoption are the responsibilities of the IT department. Yes, a technical project like deployment is a task that IT teams would complete successfully but a change management project like user adoption requires strategic and coordinated efforts from every department.

Comparatively, adoption is the much more challenging task; it deals with humans, with working habits and behaviors.

Strive to assemble a team of colleagues motivated enough to remain active long-term.

Recruit qualified colleagues

Where can you to find influencers that can help drive SharePoint and Office 365 adoption? Actually, everywhere in every department of your company. Anyone from the executive and the staff rank can be an influencer.

Before you start the search, first, outline the characteristics that you will be looking for. Not every influencer can be effective in championing SharePoint and Office 365. Find those with the following traits.

  • Sufficient affinity toward new ideas, technology, and innovation. Are they always ready to encourage the discovery of better ways to get things done?
  • Deep understanding of the key productive and collaborative benefits of SharePoint and Office 365. If they are not sufficiently motivated by the benefits of using the platforms, show them success stories, case studies, and scenarios to demonstrate the gains for using applicable features of the platforms. These gains should at least include innovative culture, business efficiency, return on investment, and overall improvement on everyone’s productive output. With good demos, many will be persuaded.
  • Do they engage in collaborative projects at least monthly? If they collaborate with other colleagues on a regular basis, they are more likely to know the limitations that the platforms are ready to remove.
  • Do they use social media? Connecting and networking with other people is among the first steps to the discovery of collaboration opportunities.
  • Ability to dedicate at least 30 minutes per week to the adoption efforts. They have to be able to punctually dedicate time to the campaigns.

After identifying those who qualify and bringing them onboard, describe their roles at every stage of the change process. Roles may include the following.

  1. Persuading and encouraging employees to adopt different features of the platforms.
  2. Making heavy use the key capabilities to serve as an influential exemplary user. Influencers experiences with the platforms should be used as internal case studies. To the minimum, every influencer should communicate via SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, and Skype for Business.
  3. Participating in every communication, training, and incentive campaign. This raises the significance of every campaign, encourages the participation of everyone, and drives conversations around the platforms major capabilities. For influencers, it's a way of putting their signature on every campaign.

Leverage the power of formal and informal leaders.

Ultimately, the size and makeup of your organization will determine the number of influencers and their roles. The goal is to have at least two influencers from every department: one from the executive and another from the staff.

Remember, it's possible that you may replace certain influencers from the team as you go along. The point is to mobilize efforts from effective formal and informal leaders and make the platforms adoption become a priority in your company.

When you have a strong team of active influencers, it becomes easier for employees to put more value on all the adoption campaigns.

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