It's no longer a question whether to move your infrastructure in the cloud, it's a matter of how. First, the cloud provider must be selected, and to put it more precisely, whether to use Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite.
These two productivity suites are fighting for world domination and leaving all competitors behind.
Whether to use OneDrive or Google Drive, Outlook or Gmail, Office Suite or G Suite is often a matter of religion and tradition, and sometimes a matter of price. But no matter what cloud platform you choose to run your organization's digital infrastructure with, the main challenge is the same: Governance and adoption!
Let's focus on Office 365, the platform that is most widely used by larger organizations in the Western world.
Depending on which Office 365 licensing model your organization uses, Office 365 consists of many standalone applications, such as Teams, Yammer, OneDrive, Office Online, Sway, Planner, SharePoint Online, Exchange, Skype for Business, Stream, Flow and many more.
Great functionality - and complexity
Each application has great functionality that are brought into play as elements that strengthen the digitization in the organizations. However, the problem with the elements in Office 365 is, that they to a great extent are missing a glue that logically ties them together. The individual user in larger organizations is exposed to so much functional complexity in Office 365, which can only go wrong:
”Where should I store my document?”,
“Where do we communicate? In SharePoint, on Teams or in Yammer?”,
"I thought this was my document, but someone else has edited it and commented on it?"
"What is a Communication Site in SharePoint in relation to a Hub Site or a Team Site, and when do I use it?"
The use of Office 365, in most cases, ends up being a struggle for survival battle between users, and a struggle for the IT department to limit its use as much as possible in order to avoid being lost in support.
And we haven't even touched on the mobile experience becoming even more fragmented as Microsoft offers standalone mobile applications for their functionality, rather than a consolidated mobile access.
Most users use 20% of the functionality
You rarely reach the good use cases, where you for example. know how to save layouts in the right place in SharePoint and use Microsoft Flow to automate a process that makes it easy for the manager to approve outlays- in essence, digital optimization processes, which Office 365 is made to do.
Several analysts claim that most users only use 20% of the functionality - typically mail, storage and classic Office functionality, and given the considerable license price you pay for your Office 365 licenses, extremely large amounts of money go down the drain each year.
This is also one of the reasons why Microsoft's main focus area nowadays are all about getting adoption and consumption on Office 365 up in the air. If this doesn't happen, Microsoft will eventually lose subscribers.
How do you succeed with adoption?
How will you as an organization, succeed with this adoption? Many IT and HR departments have tried educational information and Change Management plans that clearly communicate the purpose and process towards a smoother internal digitization.
All these actions are good and necessary and contributes positively to a common understanding, but they won't change simple complexity that every individual user meets.
When we as humans don't understand what is facing us. We become insecure, we lose control, we build up internal resistance, and then we completely back out.
We need to find a way to expose our users to a simple and straightforward interface that in practice brings together, consolidates and presents the user for an easy-to-understand and user-friendly overall experience. We must create the glue that Office 365 does not have, and there is no better media for this, than the INTRANET.
The initial purpose of the intranet is to be the internal platform for coordination and communication in a business, and to adopt a fundamental change in the way organizations work is definitely a challange, which requires a common platform for coordination and communication:
- The intranet is the right way to create a visual overview of Office 365.
- Where you can show one stream of activity that consolidates the entire Office 365 to the individual employee
- Where you can access shared calendars without having to find your way through Exchange
- Where you can chat with Skype for Business without having to open Skype for Business,
- Where you can offer enterprise search in one place for content across Office 365,
- Where you can do virtual group work and collaboration in Office Online, without having to specifically open Office Online
- Where you won't have to remember where in OneDrive you need to store documents, because the intranet has an information structure, that makes sense
- Where a logical hierarchical data structure, in combination with enterprise search, gives users unseen opportunities to quickly find all information
- Where Azure AD suddenly makes sense to the individual end-user, since you can easily search all your colleagues for all the metadata in Azure AD
- And finally, the intranet with its built-in communication and news features, FAQ features and process tools, the natural medium for the common organizational collaboration exercise that lies in an Office 365 roll-out.
The intranet is central to any Office 365 roll-out
This is why, the intranet should be a central and early element in any Office 365 roll-out. The well-functioning, modern, consolidating intranet is the cornerstone of a Digital Workplace. The intranet should be a common front door to the organization or a company hub that consolidates a complex infrastructure and makes it available.
Microsoft believes that with SharePoint, you have the solution to the problems that were created by yourself, and therefore you must use SharePoint Online, to build your intranet/digital workplace.
But this entails a built-in risk of adding additional layers of complexity, to a problem that is, in essence, complexity.
This often means, that if you have a problem, and if you choose to let SharePoint solve it, you suddenly have two problems, because SharePoint is of all the Office 365 elements by fare, the most complex element.