Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based, subscription model version of Microsoft’s productivity suite, Microsoft Office. Corporations, now more than ever, are tasked with understanding how to use technology to stay relevant in a rapidly changing, modern workplace. Moving to “the cloud” is a major decision for any corporation and requires the consideration of many different aspects of integration and implementation. In order to successfully transition to Office 365, in-house lawyers at corporations large and small must plan ahead. This article will address the top ten things to consider when rolling out Microsoft Office 365.
- Information Governance
Information governance is the overall strategy for information at a corporation that balances the value that the information provides against the risk that information presents. A transition to Office 365 may require the corporation to evaluate how it governs its information, such as considering changes to its retention schedules, and data subject rights (DSR) requests. A records retention schedule is a policy that defines how long data items must be kept and provides disposal guidelines for how they should be discarded. DSR requests are formal requests by a data subject to a corporation to take an action on his or her personal data. The Office 365 rollout plan should address how the retention schedule or DSR will be effected.
Preparing your corporation for a seamless Office 365 rollout begins and ends with proper security enhancements in place. Office 365 includes built-in enhanced data security aides that can be leveraged to better protect your corporation. Configuring recommended security features, and performing security-related tasks will benefit your organization’s security health. For example, using multi-factor authentication is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase the security of your organization. Office 365 includes protection against malware, but your corporation can further boost this protection by implementing more robust encryption in emails. Proactively managing security while rolling out Office 365 will help achieve a successful and safe implementation.
Technical decision makers have their hands full when it comes to deploying updates, migrations, and new technologies. Office 365 provides the organization with the ability to have access to the latest versions of Office. One concern of implementing Office 365 is that your line-of-business applications may not always be compatible. Understanding how Office 365 will connect with any existing systems, and the data they house, is key to ensuring the rollout of Office 365 is compatible with the corporation’s current and contemplated business applications.
When it comes time to deploy a suite as robust and expansive as Office 365, effectively communicating with employees early and often is crucial. Corporations can provide perspective for what the user impact will be by using direct language that avoids technical jargon and speaks in practical terms. This communication approach will better educate employees about new features and benefits. Communicating the benefits of new technology in an easy to understand manner will also help create motivation and excitement for its implementation. Even though communication will not always be positive, bear in mind that you cannot address user concerns without knowing the perspective of the user and tailoring implementations to ease the stress of the growing pains of adopting new technology.
- Support System
On the date Office 365 is set to go live, and across the entire rollout period, empowering users with a proper support system will ensure individuals across the company are fully prepared for the implementation and migration. The corporation should ensure that suitable training and support is provided for all users -- including comprehensive support from your Information Technology team. Ensuring that you have the right resources available to support implementation and migration will adequately prepare the corporation to deal with rollout queries and assistance. Support can include hands-on training, videos, or staff resources to answer any questions.
A component of the Office 365 rollout will include analyzing and choosing the best plan for each department or group within the corporation. Office 365 is offered in three different levels: E1, E3, and E5. The main differences between E1, E3 , and E5 include features catered to remote workers and extra security and analytics. Office 365 also has various business plans, each with different features and programs. Different technical needs will require the organization to consider different aspects of the rollout based on each department or group’s unique needs.
- Email and User Accounts
Prior to the Office 365 rollout, the corporation should have an accurate record of the username and password for each employee who will be migrating to Office 365. Email is a core tool that almost any employee will use on a regular basis. Considering how email will be impacted during the Office 365 rollout is a key component of a successful migration. The corporation should consider in advance the email migration options for all users, such as whether users will have a “fresh start” new account or migrate their existing email. Correctly adding every user to the Office 365 subscription plan will assist your Information Technology Department and Support Team on the go live day. Ensuring each user has the correct contact details, email address and password set-up functionality is critical to a smooth rollout. If you are running multiple Office 365 subscriptions, make sure to assign each user to the appropriate subscription so that they can access the necessary applications.
Intranets now sit at the very center of the modern digital workplace. The ability of the intranet to combine Office 365 applications and unify the corporation’s technology stack is a recognized important and indispensable part of digital workplace strategy. Time should be spent considering the different requirements of integrating your intranet(s) with Office 365. The adoption should be flexible enough to meet the diverse needs around the corporation, yet consistent enough to provide a friendly user experience. When rolled out successfully, proactive intranet considerations enable a smooth integration of the intranet with a cloud-based system such as Office 365.
Understanding the different versions of Office 365 for different devices is an essential tool in the future management of a multi-user and remotely accessed system. Office 365 allows employees to access their data from anywhere. It is important to ensure that the corporation has correctly set-up and configured Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365 so that you are able to record the devices accessing the system. If your enterprise has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, then managing system access through the Office 365 App should be set-up accordingly.
- Field Workers
Some corporations often struggle with how to make digital workplace systems relevant and useful to employees not based at a desk, such as factory workers, delivery agents, sales reps, etc. Most of these employees will not have laptops, and instead will primarily work off tablets or mobile devices. Corporations should therefore consider how the implementation and rollout of Office 365 will impact those employees whose job functions rarely require the use of a computer. The use of Power Apps, a tool within Office 365, allows subscribers to build apps for users to use on their mobile devices. Integrating such features will allow for a successful rollout for those employees with non-traditional work platforms.
Migrating to any new system can be a major task and moving your corporation to Office 365 is no exception. However proper planning and due diligence can ensure your rollout runs smoothly from the go live date to full completion.