Building an Operating Model fit for Office 365

illustration depicting cloud services
illustration depicting cloud services

Office 365 is a hugely powerful and impactful platform that has the potential to massively improve communication, collaboration, information sharing, personal and group productivity for organisations of all sizes. However, many businesses face difficulties when it comes to Office 365 implementation and adoption, often failing to drive optimum value from the platform.

Making your Office 365 Implementation a Success

Implementing Office 365 can be a significant investment, not only in terms of software costs but also in terms of time and resource required to implement, so it is important that organisations are able to maximise that investment. Having the right operating model in place to manage and govern the platform, as well as supporting your users, is critical to achieving successful adoption and driving maximum business value from Office 365. Organisations that don’t spend the time getting this in place will be unable to unlock the platform’s full potential and will not be able to realise the true benefits that should come with successful implementation and adoption.

Where to start?

Firstly, it is vital that organisations recognise that, as a cloud-based software-as-a-service platform, a fundamentally different approach to the traditional desktop office productivity software provision is required. Office 365 is more extensive in its scope, capabilities and complexity of operation than the traditional desktop software. This, together with the “one size fits all” nature of the platform, the evergreen approach to delivering technology and feature updates at high frequency coupled with concerns over data security in the cloud creates a “perfect storm” of challenges to traditional IT functions. If you are used to operating with a high degree of control and predictability, especially large enterprises with extensive governance, security & compliance needs, coupled with rigid IT Service Management (ITSM) approaches then careful planning and change is required.

Modern Service Management for Office 365

The Microsoft mandated way to managing and governing the platform is Modern Service Management for Office 365 which you can read more about here. This rightly places a higher order of focus on business consumption and productivity as the route to achieving successful adoption and business benefit.

4 key pillars for successful Office 365 implementation

Whilst all of this makes perfect sense, in our experience, there are other elements that must be considered when establishing and evolving the right operating model for Office 365 and keeping your data secure in the cloud. For some organisations, the transformation needed in IT to support the successful operation and adoption of the platform may also involve significant changes to existing tooling, processes, and staff roles.

The right operating model will enable you to:

  • Translate strategic vision and intent into operational capabilities, which for Office 365 should be hugely aspirational
  • Create a bridge between strategy and day-to-day operations to continually guide and enable IT teams to effectively support the business strategy and vision
  • Close the gap between why and how, ensuring there is clear understanding, process, tooling and practices in place to achieve your objective

What is clear is that your operating model will not be able to remain as it was before Office 365, your model will need to change to blend People, Process, and Technology to support an “evergreen” cloud platform and ensure your business drives value from it.

Creating a Target Operating Model for O365

When creating a target operating model for your business, areas you should look at include:

  • Business Deployment
  • Business Engagement
  • Product Management
  • Partner Eco-System

It is likely that your operating model may need to evolve over a period of time as the shift from a traditional operating model often requires significant change that doesn’t happen overnight, but rather needs to be well thought out and executed with full stakeholder buy-in and alignment.

Exception are experts at helping large enterprises design fit for purpose operating models for Office 365, helping you achieve maximum return for your significant investment in the platform. If you are looking for advice and support to create an optimum operating model for your organisation, please get in touch.

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