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Office 365 Deployment Approach - Big Bang vs. Serialized Deployment

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%20tend%20to%20work%20on%20a%20quarterly%20implementation%20cycle%20per%20product.%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-38609%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Office%20365%20Deployment%20Approach%20-%20Big%20Bang%20vs.%20Serialized%20Deployment%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-38609%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EThanks%20Loryan.%26nbsp%3B%20To%20clarify%20my%20reference%20to%20big%20bang%20vs.%20serialized%2C%20I%20am%20asking%20about%20deployment%20of%20Office%20365%20workloads%20-%20i.e.%2C%20do%20you%20deploy%20all%20Office%20365%20workloads%20at%20the%20same%20time%20or%20in%20a%20serial%20fashion%3B%20rather%20than%20rollout%20strategy%20across%20a%20user%20base.%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-38591%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Office%20365%20Deployment%20Approach%20-%20Big%20Bang%20vs.%20Serialized%20Deployment%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-38591%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3EIn%20my%20experience%20it%20comes%20down%20to%20requirements%20of%20the%20customer%2C%20who%20is%20leading%20the%20approach%2C%20as%20well%20as%20their%20appetite%20for%20change.%3CBR%20%2F%3ESome%20workloads%20like%20Exchange%20are%20generally%20big%20bang%20albeit%20in%20hybrid%20so%20at%20a%20pace%20that%20works%20for%20the%20customer.%20Certain%20aspects%20of%20SharePoint%20would%20be%20big-bang%20like%20an%20intranet%20landing%20page%2C%20but%20team%20sites%20would%20be%20more%20serialised.%3CBR%20%2F%3EWorkloads%20that%20fundamentally%20change%20how%20people%20do%20something%20(eg.%20communicate)%20such%20as%20Yammer%20or%20Teams%20we%20tend%20to%20break%20down%20into%20smaller%20chunks.%3CBR%20%2F%3EAgain%20-%20very%20specific%20to%20the%20customer%20as%20in%20some%20instances%20we've%20done%20org-wide%20deployments%20of%20Yammer%20in%20a%20big%20bang%20approach.%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E%3CLINGO-SUB%20id%3D%22lingo-sub-38557%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3ERe%3A%20Office%20365%20Deployment%20Approach%20-%20Big%20Bang%20vs.%20Serialized%20Deployment%3C%2FLINGO-SUB%3E%3CLINGO-BODY%20id%3D%22lingo-body-38557%22%20slang%3D%22en-US%22%3E%3CP%3EWe%20are%20in%20the%20midst%20of%20a%20serialized%20deployment.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EWe%20did%20SharePoint%20first%2C%20then%20Exchange.%20Next%20up%20will%20be%20Office%202016.%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EWe%20are%20a%20company%20of%20~100%20and%20not%20a%20lot%20of%20sophisticated%20techies%20in%20the%20user%20base%20so%20it%20was%20felt%20it%20would%20be%20easier%20to%20do%20it%20a%20chunk%20at%20a%20time%20as%20I'm%20primarily%20the%20person%20in%20charge%20of%20Office365%26nbsp%3Band%20do%20those%20roll%20outs%20myself%20(except%20for%20the%20upcoming%20Office%202016).%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3E%26nbsp%3B%3C%2FP%3E%3CP%3EExcept%20for%20email%2C%20nothing%20else%20from%20Office%20365%20has%20been%20embraced%20by%20the%20user%20base.%20As%20we%20still%20have%20on-prem%20network%20shares%20that's%20where%20most%20of%20the%20work%20is%20done.%3C%2FP%3E%3C%2FLINGO-BODY%3E
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Microsoft

Hi - I am interested in getting feedback from this group regarding how they have approached rolling out Office 365 to their end users.  Did your organization follow a big bang approach (i.e., deployed all Office 365 workloads - Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Yammer, Office 365 ProPlus; at the same time) or a serialized deployment (i.e., deployed an initial couple of workloads, followed by deploying the remaining workloads in  subsequent phase(s))? 

 

What was the rationale for chosing a big bang deployment vs. a serialized deployment approach? 

 

I've heard from a number of customers that chose to deploy in a big bang fashion that it offered accelerated cost savings from eliminating 3rd party license fees, enabling IT to move onto other projects more quickly, less disruption to end users and the business, and enabling end users to capitalize on cross-workload synergies. 

 

Very interested in learning from this group. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

 

Matt

13 Replies
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We are in the midst of a serialized deployment.

We did SharePoint first, then Exchange. Next up will be Office 2016.

 

We are a company of ~100 and not a lot of sophisticated techies in the user base so it was felt it would be easier to do it a chunk at a time as I'm primarily the person in charge of Office365 and do those roll outs myself (except for the upcoming Office 2016).

 

Except for email, nothing else from Office 365 has been embraced by the user base. As we still have on-prem network shares that's where most of the work is done.

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In my experience it comes down to requirements of the customer, who is leading the approach, as well as their appetite for change.
Some workloads like Exchange are generally big bang albeit in hybrid so at a pace that works for the customer. Certain aspects of SharePoint would be big-bang like an intranet landing page, but team sites would be more serialised.
Workloads that fundamentally change how people do something (eg. communicate) such as Yammer or Teams we tend to break down into smaller chunks.
Again - very specific to the customer as in some instances we've done org-wide deployments of Yammer in a big bang approach.
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Thanks Loryan.  To clarify my reference to big bang vs. serialized, I am asking about deployment of Office 365 workloads - i.e., do you deploy all Office 365 workloads at the same time or in a serial fashion; rather than rollout strategy across a user base. 

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Gotcha. It's unrealistic to go big bang unless you're dealing with a startup. Implementing so many diverse workloads would result in change fatigue.
Our approach is to do the more common / mission-critical workloads first such as Exchange & ProPlus, then things like Skype for Business or OneDrive for Business due to their relative simplicity, then move along to things that are more complex and challenging such as SharePoint/Teams/Yammer.
We tend to work on a quarterly implementation cycle per product.
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Thanks Loryan.  I appreciate the perspective.  

 

We've heard from a number of customers that there are significant benefits from deploying all workloads at once, including many of our larger customers who want to take advantage of the synnergies from scenarios that cross multiple workloads.  A lot of the value in Office 365 are scenarios that enable users to leverage capabilities across the suite.  Many also found it less disruptive to their end users to touch them once with a big bang, rather than multiple touches for the various workloads. 

 

To your point, I can see for some customers how a serialized approach may be preferred.   

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It depends on your timeframe for big bang. I completely agree - the more workloads they use at the same time the better, but so many customers we come across are wedded to Outlook, File Explorer and handsets. So we usually have a program of works, but our big bang would take a minimum of a few months as we wrap *a lot* of change management to ensure success of every workload at every step of the way.
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Hi Loryan - you raise an important point re: help end users with the change to the new tools (i.e., awareness communications, training, etc.).  We provide a fair bit of information and resources to help with this.  Check out http://fasttrack.office.com. 

 

In terms of end users who have their "preferred" tools (such as Outlook) that cause them to resist any new tools, one strategy that we've seen work is to encourage these end users to begin using something like Office 365 groups.  It's a great way for end users to access the broader set of capabilities of Office 365 (storing files on OneDrive, scheduling group meetings on Skype for Business, using a shared OneNote notebook, etc.) while remaining in their familiar outlook client.  

 

You can learn more about Office 365 Groups here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Learn-about-Office-365-groups-b565caa1-5c40-40ef-9915-60fdb...

 

And, check out these Office 365 Group scenarios in our productivity library here: http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/office/envision/productivitylibrary#?products=outlook-groups

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Yeah, I and my team are very across the FastTrack resources and have been delivering customers solutions built around Groups. (you don't need to sell/educate me on this stuff, I live and breathe Office 365 :) )
You need to remember though that many users still bring paper and pen to a meeting, so even OneNote is a change enough - so for some customers we have to do baby steps, for others we can move faster.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to adoption as each approach needs to be tailored for the customer and then further within to their departments, teams and even users.
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I have found that going Big Bang has had the most success for adoption as you don't break the collaboration by rolling out features piece by piece in a serialized way.  Office 365 has such integrated workloads that serialized means lots of rework to help users understand the bigger picture later.  A scenario such as 'How to do a successful meeting' etc may include many workloads such as Outlook, Skype, OneNote and Team Sites or OneDrive.  This requires all workloads to be 'turned on' as these are all inter-related features for good collaboration.  I see/work with user frustration every day when it goes serialized. If you build a good change/adoption strategy that breaks down Office 365 into small (scenario) chunks and educate over a period of time this helps with user change fatigue.  The more a scenario is tailored to the specific organisation the better the adoption rate.  Just choose the scenario that will give you the most traction to solve a pressing business issue so users achieve their 'ah ha' moment!

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I think that no matter how you do it - you will need to focus on a slow trickle of training that keeps educating and highlighting the values of the new tools.  Big bangs can work great for some groups, but sometimes people need more time to absorb all of the information. 

 

If you go with a Big Bang then you can really get a couple of groups to fully utlize the features and then just have planned roll outs of additional training.

 

Really there is no right or wrong - just things you need to consider on each path.

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Solution

We've deployed big bang - as being a large organisation it takes us quite a while to mobilise for change so multiple change / deployment events just wouldn't work for us.

 

So currently if you drop onto our pilot you move fully into 365 world running all workloads, EXO, SPO, SFB and also cloud migrated mail.  The only future difference will be you'll also get a new Win10 device at the same time.

 

Adoption has been smooth but we've had dedicated resource providing a hand over experience to each user - they get about 30 minutes to bring them up to speed with the new features but we're finding now we have plenty of people on the platform that users are learning by osmosis.

 

Any issues we've had have been entirely related to co-existence with legacy systems rather than any issues with 365 itself!

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Hi Mike - I've heard the same from other customers in terms of wanting to limit the # of touches to the end user as part of the Office 365 rollout.  In some cases, that can end up being more disruptive. 

 

In terms of your efforts to support end users with the change, in addition to training, one of the strategies we've seen work effectively is building a champions program whereby more advanced users help evangelize and support their co-workers with the change.  You can learn more from the Office 365 Champions Guide we developed here - https://aka.ms/championsguide.

 

Where there any other strategies you found effective at helping make your big bang rollout successful?  

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Over the past 4 years, none of my customers have been big bang, all of them have been gradual transitions, typically one workload at a time. These are large companies 2,000-40,000 users.