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Manage Your Office 365 Rollout Using Yammer

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This post is brought to you by Martin Risgaard Rasmussen & Allison Michels from the Enterprise Social Customer Engagement team.

As customers roll out Office 365, they often ask us how they can best use Yammer to manage their deployment. Changing from one IT system to another can be a daunting task, and the potential to create a large degree of disruption and uncertainty throughout the organization underscores the need for change management. Using a community-based approach on your Yammer network, with peer to peer learning, will help your organization adopt new technologies alongside the change.

The following ideas have been curated from customers who have successfully used Yammer as a communication and planning tool for Office 365 deployment. Many customers have highlighted the need to plan ahead and think about what role Yammer should play before, during and after completing the project. Here are some of their best practices for transitioning to Office 365:

1. Create communities to support the change.

  • Create a group for specific audiences related to the deployment. For example, create a group for the pilot users, the project team, the testing team. Use these groups for communication about deadlines, requirements and updates to the information for the change.
  • Use Yammer for Q&A by creating a New to Office 365 group. This will encourage users to help each other as they transition to Office 365. Recruit your super users to help monitor this group. Share #how-to-tips.
  • Collect feedback through a group called Feedback on Office 365, or use a topic hashtag like #Office365 in related conversations. Something not working like you thought? Have an idea? Collect it all in a central place so everyone can benefit from the feedback and build on these ideas.

2. Communicate the change.

  • Share the plan. Share the plan. Share the plan. Plans change. The timelines shift. Something goes well, something broke. Communicate this openly on Yammer and allow for the community to engage and be involved. Lessen the surprise by increasing the transparency.
  • Host a YamJam about the change, migration, and transition. Invite the senior leaders and stakeholders to be involved in the YamJam to support deployment. Prepare some questions just in case, but give priority to questions from users. Examples of good questions to start with: Why are we upgrading? What are the benefits? Who else has done this before? What is the impact to our business?

3. Equip local teams.

  • With your user communities, involve the local teams and equip them with tools to help with the change on the actual migration days. This could include How-To print outs for specific products needs, and changes to process that people need to be aware of due to the switch.
  • Provide short training options that are specific to people’s needs around the change. Help provide the content for these trainings, if necessary, along with success stories from across the organization.
  • Host a Lunch & Learn pre- & post-migration to discuss best practices to improve productivity and highlight local wins and success stories.

It’s not over til it’s over…post-project engagement.
Migration projects conclude, but the conversations should continue. Continue to use your groups for new project progress, success stories and updates or changes to the product, and make sure to allocate resources for managing the community. Even though you have had an active group during the project, many will now perceive the project as “completed” and could revert to their inboxes and “old ways,” so be sure to keep the up momentum in your Enterprise Social journey.

Have you used Yammer for change communication or for IT transition projects? If you have, we would love to learn from your experiences too, so please share your experiences in the comments.

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