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Challenges of SharePoint and Office 365 Introduction

Today’s globalization requires companies to show a great deal of flexibility in order to compete in the marketplace. Structures and processes need to be adapted to changing market and competitive structures. It is also wise to consider change management measures in order to master any planned change and secure competitive advantages.

Some studies claim that on average, up to 70 percent of all change management projects fail. If companies fail to implement adaptation measures, they have to deal with causes and solutions. First of all, the will to change should come from management, but in the end, it affects every single employee and department. If it succeeds in implementing the necessary organizational changes, it will bring new momentum internally and motivate employees to actively participate in the further development of the company.

SharePoint and Office 365 as strategic platforms for digital transformation

As business processes accelerate, so does the importance of a supportive IT environment. IT becomes a strategic tool for further development. Here, SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure can play a valuable role, since they can be used as a kit of standardized cloud services. Office 365 offers on-demand applications that enable the end-user to enjoy a unified experience across multiple devices-with the core components such as Office, Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive and Skype. In addition to these basic services, additional services such as Yammer or Microsoft Teams are added, while tools such as Flow and PowerApps enable functional enhancements.

The introduction of SharePoint and Office 365 should always be seen as an organizational change, as there are many challenges that can not be overcome with a purely technical approach. One thing to mention here is the management of the project itself, then the constantly new functions in Office 365 and, in addition, the new way of work. It quickly becomes clear that change management is becoming more and more important for IT projects as well.

A circular will not initiate the change

Insufficient commitment, unclear goals and loss of confidence are typical reasons for the failure of change projects.
Many companies misjudge the complexity of change processes. They assume that the necessary restructuring measures have been completed with a circular and a short staff meeting. In doing so, too little importance is attached to the socalled “soft factors”. Decisive for the success of a change project is the motivation of the employees. How this can be achieved, however, seems unclear to many. Simple promises of success are not enough; above all, it is important to convey a clear orientation.

Executives often do not feel responsible for communicating the current situation of the company and the path to the goal, often there is disagreement. Nothing is as harmful as the impression of inconsistencies in management. Insufficient commitment, unclear goals and loss of confidence are typical reasons for the failure of change projects. However, executives often lack the experience of insecure employees.

Change drivers vs. change avoiders

When it comes to change, different behaviors can be found in companies, both in management and in employees. Roughly simplified, a distinction can be made between drivers of change and those who avoid change. The following graph illustrates the distinction of behaviors by innovation and adjustment factors:

The success of change projects depends heavily on how the struggle between change drivers and change avoiders overlaps. Depending on the personal motives of a particular manager, this has different effects on corporate change and success.

Involvement of the targeted audiences

The introduction of collaboration solutions should always incorporate the human factor for the intended benefit to be fully realized. Retrieving the employees in a timely manner reduces the difficulty of changing over to the new work tools. Well-planned communication and training measures support the smooth introduction. Finally, change management also serves to increase the motivation of the employees, to improve their acceptance and to increase the awareness of the solution.

One thing is certain: a SharePoint or Office 365 introduction to the company is not primarily an IT project. But to a greater extent a project for organizational development, which should be initiated by corporate communication and management.

Source: Wolfgang Habelt, Michael Sonnabend – Führung, wohin führst du?: Wie Führungskräfte Unternehmenswerte optimieren, vergüten, bilanzieren. Published by Oldenbourg Verlag.

This article also appeared on SharePoint360.de