How to drive Microsoft 365 adoption

The successful adoption of any new technology, particularly one with the breadth of Microsoft 365, requires behavioral change. And change can be hard. So what’s the best way to drive Microsoft 365 adoption? Learning from co-workers is one of the most effective ways to adopt new technology.

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Most employees, it turns out, don’t want to use new technology rolled out by their organization. The reality is that successful adoption of any new technology—including Microsoft 365, which brings a new way of working with a shift from desktop to cloud-based productivity tools—requires behavioral change.

And change can be hard.

So what’s the best way to drive Microsoft 365 adoption? Involve the people who are most directly affected – and who have the most to gain. McKinsey found that when people are truly invested in change, it’s 30% more likely to work.

There are three key groups that will help accelerate Microsoft 365 adoption: Mavens, Success Owners, and Self-Learners. Each group has a specific role in implementation and should be engaged early. And often.

Mavens (aka Champions)

Mavens are the folks who are excited by (and love) what Microsoft 365 enables them to do. Research shows that Mavens, or IT Champions, have considerable influence on the adoption of new technology. They evangelize and help train their peers; they build awareness, understanding, and engagement. Mavens will help:

  • Create a groundswell of enthusiasm that grows adoption
  • Build a circle of influence among their teams
  • Bring new ways of working to life across teams
  • Identify business challenges and possible solutions
  • Provide feedback to the project team and sponsors
  • Reduce strain on the core project team through active, ongoing engagement.

One example of where Mavens can come into play: document co-authoring. Rather than attach edited Word, PowerPoint, or OneNote documents in email, raising the risk of version-control issues, Office 365 enables co-workers to collaborate in real-time.

“Once everyone sees they’re editing a common document, that goes viral in itself,” says Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise Experiences and Management at Microsoft. “Set up a genius bar, or find out who within the various teams are mavens, show them how to share a document for co-authoring, and then it takes off on its own.”

Success Owners

Success Owners do what the term implies: own and drive your desired Microsoft 365 business outcomes. These folks can come from any part of the organization (including IT) and ensure business goals are realized by helping people use, and get value from, new services and features. They will help:

  • Identify and engage the right stakeholders
  • Create an adoption plan to drive usage
  • Ensure communications and training are successfully implemented.

Success Owners also translate the organization’s business goals into Microsoft 365 scenarios—the ways in which people use Microsoft 365 to really tackle complex business problems like collaborating across global timelines and teams.


A key attribute of Microsoft 365 is that its built-in functionality should minimize the need for formal training programs. Microsoft 365 leverages artificial intelligence to aid self-learners in many aspects, including:

  • Helping people make decisions faster, with more confidence
  • Streamlining business processes
  • Increasing business agility
  • Ultimately being more efficient and productive.

Case in point: PowerPoint Designer. This AI feature improves slides by automatically generating design ideas. “We’ve all created PowerPoints before and it’s amazing how much time you can spend trying to create an impactful, beautiful set of slides,” says Anderson. “Now, by using AI in the cloud, Designer can recognize the content and details that people are putting into a slide and recommend a beautifully built slide.” This saves considerable time with an end result that looks like a professionally designed presentation.

“New platform training can always be easier,” says Anderson. “But as the user is naturally working, the way AI is able to interact, and help, is a seamless experience.”

Learn more to plan your shift to Microsoft 365.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.