Customer Success, Future of Work

Beyond Technology Adoption – Business Scenarios with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is such an incredible work productivity tool. It doesn’t just bring work from other applications into the conversation but the whole tool itself. That plus the ability it offers to structure activities into logical workflows provides perfect context for bringing business scenarios to life.

Business scenarios are an important mechanism in beyond adoption to drive business value.

Check out a brief intro and demo I’m using with customers into the use of Teams in the context of an example business scenario (marketing), focusing on getting things done and driving value.

Customer Success

Adoption Hacks

Adoption hacks are little tips and tricks you can use to stimulate adoption of technology. Actions that can include any number of activities, all designed to get users learning about, understanding and using features of a technology to get new value from it.

Activities can be anything from communication, learning components, social proof (showing how others are getting value) all the way to mandating something. All is fair when it comes to adoption hacks :)

I’ll start documenting what I am doing and what I learn about from others in the way of adoption hacks in posts like these.

At the moment, at Microsoft, I am focusing heavily on Microsoft Teams adoption. Teams is is seen as a platform play because it is the front end to a lot of other tools in the Office 365 technology stack as well as those outside through various integrations.

Teams is extensible and customisable so that you can reach users in their chats, channels, notifications and personal workspaces. A single app can provide one or more capabilities.

They enable users to make decisions and take action faster. They reduce context switching on important tasks. They create opportunities for collaboration around external content. They make for the perfect adoption hacking tools in other words 😁

Teams apps come from different publishers. 1st party apps are developed by Microsoft for Office 365 or Office workloads as mentioned and enable better together scenarios. 2nd party apps are those not built by Microsoft and are popular work applications enabled in a central location (the store you can access in Teams). Custom apps are built by your organisation to meet specif business needs. Just some examples below:

  • Bots help users get tasks done in conversations. I’m using https://zoom.ai/ a lot at the moment in Team channels and in direct conversation with the Bot and its great for things like setting reminders to follow up on actions that stem from conversations.
  • Tabs surface rich content within Teams. For example, O365 activity usage reports from PowerBI that can be discussed and actioned right from within Teams
  • Connectors allow you to post rich updates from activity in other applications into your Team feeds.
  • Actionable messaging adds rich interaction to your connector cards so you can act on new information you receive from ☝
  • Compose extensions allow you to query and share rich cards in conversations.

Conversational AI and the new dynamics of computer assisted collaboration and automation to aid adoption

One key learning we’ve had at Microsoft is that Bots, custom line of business applications that integrate business processes, and ‘ready to use’ applications integrated into Teams = stickiness and relevance that keeps users coming back every day and drive company-wide adoption.

One very specific example of this I am making use of with my customers to support end users is combining Teams and the Microsoft Bot framework to create Q&A Bots. Users can query the Bot and get answers to questions on Teams as well as other applications. In my case I am focusing on other O365 related applications but it could be used for any.

Here is documentation on some Bot service templates which can be used to get started building Bots and includes one on to build a Q&A Bot.

Dentsu Aegis Network have done a great job with this and you can read this article to find out more: Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) builds Teams chatbot to drive internal adoption of new technologies.

This is such a great example of using new technology to support adoption of technology which I am hugely motivated by. I’ll be sharing more as I learn in this super interesting space.

Customer Success

Enabling Usage Insights for Office 365 Customers

This post provides first some simple context for whom and why it is important to understand usage of enterprise technology platforms and then how we enable it at Microsoft for the Office 365 suite of products. You can skip the context and head straight to the enabling part if you like.

It’s important for Customer Success teams to spend time trying to understand their customer’s usage of the technology they support. This will help them to help the customer with adoption efforts.

Arguably even more important is to enable customers with their own views and insights. That is what this post is focused on. 

Tools often incorporate some degree of usage reporting and most of the time, it’s pretty lightweight. At Microsoft for the O365 suite of products, we go the extra mile.

We offer a built in dashboard in the Admin section of O365 for basic level insights to use of Power BI for advanced analytics.

On the latter we have created an automated integration that can be installed by any O365 admin and then made available to members of the organisation that need to leverage these insights.

On the former, we are planning to add more functionality all the time as you can see from this recording of a session at Ignite a few months back from the product group.

Access by business users is especially important when you want to work with and enable business champions to understand and support the users in their departments.

Going beyond usage analytics for admins of a technology is really important too which I have written about here: Co-owning success with Office 365 customers.

Below is a brief summary of the options and steps to take to enable these options. This changes from time to time so I’ll keep this post updated with new info. Add a comment if you have any queries.

1. Activity Reports in the O365 admin centre

More on this here. This is accessible to an admin role as standard but other users in the organisation could be assigned a role to be able to see the reports without being given access to the admin centre. It is possible to hide users details in the reports thereby anonymising the results if legal requirements necessitate it. These points are covered in the article linked above. These reports have a basic level of usage reporting.

2. O365 usage analytics content pack for Power BI

More on this here. This is a more advanced level of usage analytics and enabled through a Power BI content pack. From a base set of usage reports you can customise and add further dashboards and reports – Power BI training is advisable for this.

This is especially important if you want to bring in and combine other sources of business data to make comparisons – useful for correlating technology and end user support inputs with business outcomes.

 The Power BI content pack has to be enabled by an O365 admin but then they can provide access to the Power BI dashboard to any other user. You can then take those reports and embed them into a Sharepoint portal landing page through a web part to present reports to different stakeholders (end users, executives, departments, etc.). There are licensing considerations and limitations to accessing and sharing rights to be aware of. In this option too you can make the collected data anonymous. The first article linked to in this section has a really good FAQ covering all of the above.

3. Special note on user segmentation

For detailed segmentation by region and org type via the usage analytics content pack you need to have things set up properly in Active Directory – from the first article linked to in point 2 above:

The data model that powers the content pack includes user attributes that from Active Directory, enabling the ability to pivot in certain reports. The following Active Directory attributes are included: location, department and organization.

Customer Success, Startup Innovation

Agile in nature not just by name

Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft where I work) recently shared his thoughts on how organisations need to embrace “tech intensity” to innovate and grow in today’s high-intensity digital economy.

He didn’t specifically call out speed but its implicit in everything he said.

I’m surrounded in the work I do at Microsoft, by IT teams that have embraced Agile. I’m sure Satya would agree that this would form a key part of tech intensity efforts.

Yet of all the things that Agile is, the one I find most often missing as the name would suggest, is the need for “rapid and flexible response to change”.

I’m on a mission to emphasise the need for speed in the work I do in Customer Success around technology adoption.

Here is the line I push:

I am not one to be be speeding things up just for the sake of it. As a DharmHacker I actually think stopping, slowing down and reflecting frequently is crucial for effective decision making. Mindful over Mind Full is the title of an eBook / trend report I wrote that pretty much sums up the imperative.

Speed and Innovation together make the difference

Mindful decision making does not contradict speedy actions once you have realised the need for change and decided on a course of action. And speedy action carried out with intensity is what distinguishes leaders in today’s digital landscape.

digital innovationIf you are changing at speed as a result of external pressure, you will be better off than those that are slower or not changing at all. But as Satya pointed out, innovation is a key part of tech intensity and if purposeful innovation efforts are executed at speed, then you will become a leader in your industry. If innovation needs to be the “why” and change the “how” then your “when” has to be yesterday.

In the video above and in the last post I just linked to, you should see how I’ve positioned speed and innovation efforts side by side as key differentiators of digital transformation success.

Why agile is not just a software development methodology for IT

As you may also have seen in the video above where I included a snippet by Paul Willmott (Senior Partner and Digital McKinsey Leader), they have a clear view on the importance of speed in digital transformation efforts.

As a leader in digital transformation strategy setting and execution, McKinsey also have views on the many other factors that need to be considered. Here are just a choice few of my favourite articles that they and others have recently published which elaborate: