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Notifying Users about New Features

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Respected Contributor

I"m looking for ideas about how organizations notify their end users about changes to O365. Can you please share your approaches.

15 Replies
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We are using MS Teams to keep the support teams current.  In turn, the support teams keep the IT and user facing knowledge base current.  We reuse any MS materials we can.  We do our best to keep our intranet current.  I don't have access to champions to keep up with the rapid pace of numerous SaaS providers.  I'm also limited as to the number of emails I'm allowed to send to our users.  I would love to hear what others are doing as well.  

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Stream and Flows from Social piped into Teams, Powerapp with Flow notifications, SharePoint Communication sites, Live Broadcasts In Teams, Org-wide Yammer Groups, Kaizala Hub and Spoke Groups.

Hope that helps!

Best, Chris
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Best Response confirmed by Deleted
Solution

You have a few options to notify users that I've used:

 

  • Create a channel in Teams dedicated to RSS feeds. I have a channel that dumps in various O365 and Microsoft Blog updates.
  • If possible, hold either some lunch and learns or a Genius Bar type setup in a common area of your office where you can answer questions and demo a new feature or capability.
  • Create a champions group within your organization. A group of IT and Business colleagues that are excited by new technology and looking to improve their workflow and dive positive change in the company. If they are aware of new features, they will filter it down to their colleagues and it will spread socially from there.
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Dean,
One of the best ways I believe is to inform users of the changes the next time they visit the page which has the actual change.

This can be accomplished by showing them a dialog box which visually depicts the change(s) as well as the value to them as a user.
Further, if you have the capability, you can show them an interactive guide of sorts to help them further explore the new change interactively.
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We have created a Yammer Group called O365 Updates - not everyone visits the page, but it is a centralized location every employee can be refereed to.

 

Additionally - we use a SaaS Platform called QuickHelp for our end users training that manages and has evergreen content at the end user level of training.

 

It's also a great benefit to train users of where work is meant to get done - here is a great picture for example.Where Work Gets Done.png

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I've used Brainstorm's Quickhelp in the past with success as well. You can set courses, track who takes them, and the service will also print out physical media or conduct instructor-led virtual training if you desire.


@David Souza wrote:

We have created a Yammer Group called O365 Updates - not everyone visits the page, but it is a centralized location every employee can be refereed to.

 

Additionally - we use a SaaS Platform called QuickHelp for our end users training that manages and has evergreen content at the end user level of training.

 

It's also a great benefit to train users of where work is meant to get done - here is a great picture for example.Where Work Gets Done.png


 

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We have SharePoint Communication sites for the various Office 365 products.  Within those sites, I post news articles about the various changes that our employees need to be aware of and also have links to the O365 YouTube site.  Some of the latest articles include the new icons and the removal of Clutter.

 

In addition, I use other avenues including Yammer and our weekly company newsletter.

 

We have multiple channels to communicate and I've found that using all of them will help since people will prefer certain channels over others.  The big thing is to go to where the people are at.

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Our clients communicate changes directly inside Office 365 with contextual guides (walk throughs, videos, screen shots, etc.) The changes can be configured to appear when the user visits the site or can be sent via email or IM. https://www.visualsp.com/products/visualsp-office365/
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@Dean Gross I was in the exact same boat you were. The biggest problem I had was where do I get all of the information that was out there.

 

So what I did was setup flow to follow a couple of different feeds and post them to different locations (Yammer, Internal Blog and Teams). For example, one of the feeds I followed was the Office 365 Roadmap and started posting updates to my blog.

 

Aside from there being WAY to many updates (that is a whole other rant =)) it really helped me get a handle on what was coming down the pipe. So much that I started feeding everything into that. 

 

Another option that might be an option is feeding the updates that come into the O365 admin center into Teams. We starting doing that at the company I am with now and it really lets us know what is coming right around the corner. The only problem with that one, is for big organizations ... it might not be enough notice!

 

Hope that helps!

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@Mike Dumka thanks Mike - I've seen other people recommend using flow to dump knowledge into TEAMS. Do you or anyone else have a quick blog about setting that up with some tips and tricks maybe?

 

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@Robb_Lombard 

 

Here is an example of what I did for the Office 365 Roadmap

Example Flow for O365 RoadmapExample Flow for O365 RoadmapWhat did I do?

  • I always start with the RSS feed source
  • I always send myself rather than a mobile notification (just because there are so many updates =))
  • Then I post that update to the platform of choice. I use Twitter and Wordpress, but there are so many different choices like Yammer, Teams, SharePoint ... etc. 

What did I learn?

  • I originally started to use IFTTT but found that they did not have deep enough integration into Office 365 to "publish" information, Like Yammer, Teams, SharePoint ... etc.
  • I used to post the contents of the updates from the feed (called "Feed summary" in Flow) but you can't format the contents so depending on the source you may have nicely formatted content, or you may just have 1 line. So I just went with the link.
  • Another reason I did not use the "Feed Summary" is sometimes the content is the whole article! I wanted the person who wrote the content to get the view so I just linked to it.

What did I learn? (Office 365 Roadmap & Twitter)

  • Last but not least but this one needs calling out, with the Office 365 Roadmap RSS feed. They post a TON of updates and they are so many duplicates, triplicates and quadruplicates. I am making the assumption this happens because:
    • Things are always changing (which is good :thumbs_up:)
    • The RSS feed may not be setup properly (but I am no RSS expert) as even spelling corrections show up as "updates", this does not happen on the other RSS feeds I follow
  • Because of Twitters terms of service, you can't post duplicates close together because it looks automated (which it is) so you will get Flow fail errors. This is why I put it at the bottom of the Flow so the other content can at least get out.  

Hope that helps, 

 

Let me know if you run into any snags!

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@Dean Gross 

I do a monthly newsletter called "Two Tip Tuesday" - I pick two of the latest feature enhancements to showcase.  I try to keep it short - but provide links of where people can get more information - or training (we also use QuickHelp).  I have branded this using my dog Stuart who has become my official O365 mascot.  I use him on everything I do.  People are more likely to read something that has a cute dog on it.  I attached the first Two Tip Tuesday I did.  We started out doing these weekly for a month as a pilot and then did a survey asking what people thought.  The majority thought weekly was too often - so we changed it to monthly.  As a follow up I also do a monthly AMA "ask me anything" session with our executive admins where they can come with questions - or we go through what I sent in the Two Tip Tuesday in more details.  I'd like to start doing this as a video blog to share with everyone - but as we are multi language it becomes more challenging.  Yes I know I can use stream to do the transcript and do subtitles - but it still isn't the same.

 

I also have a Yammer group - Help O365 that I post to.  As well as having an Early Adopter Teams area that includes not only our entire IT organization but also business process owners.  This is the group that gets all new things applied to them after the technical team but before the general population.

 

I have also utilized the Bookings tool within O365 to allow people to schedule 1 on 1 assistance with me.

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that is a wonderful idea, thanks for sharing. I'm going to ask my customer if they want to do something like this.
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Wow. These are pretty nice ideas you have implemented @Allison Koch .  Thanks for sharing!

 

I'll throw in another thing here regarding notifying users about new features.

 

Too many emails go ignored these days. Instead, I prefer trying to catch users' attention when they are in the environment and working on their tasks.

 

For example, not too long ago, Microsoft pushed out new interfaces for Outlook Online. The scenario we put together for notifying users about that change is that next time they went to Outlook, it would provide them with this walkthrough bubble that would show up automatically:

VisualSPWalkthroughBubbleOutlookNew.png

Then when they click on the Done button, the analytics would be populated in the backend showing which users have seen it. IMHO, this is so much better than an email campaign which may or may not get users attention.

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@Dean Gross 

 

What I saw once in a flow demo and find real useful updating for end users is to share the montlhy O365 updates:

https://www.youtube.com/user/officevideos/search?query=monthly+updates

 

You can do this using a flow, connected to Youtube that filters officevideos for update videos and publishes in Teams or Yammer.