Part 2: Recruit key stakeholders to help with your adoption
Published Nov 14 2017 09:36 AM 12.4K Views

This blog series is written by Cyril Belikoff, Senior Director of Office Marketing


This is the second post from our blog series on how to help your organization accelerate time to value with its Microsoft 365 adoption.


In the initial blog post in this series, I shared our viewpoint on the opportunity Information Technology (IT) teams have with solutions, such as Microsoft 365, to enable business value for their organization and I outlined the four success factors for adopting Microsoft 365. 


This blog post will focus on the first success factor – Stakeholders, and their importance in driving the change necessary to realize the full value of Microsoft 365.


Your Microsoft 365 rollout is not just about implementing new technologies, rather it’s part of a broader transformation to achieve the business outcomes that matter most to your organization. For example, many of our customers adopt Microsoft 365 to enable a new culture of work that empowers their employees to be creative and work together, securely. Transforming to this new culture of work requires buy-in from across the organization. There are two stakeholder groups whose participation is critical to getting this buy-in:


  • Executive sponsors whose influence can help drive the change required for your organization to achieve its business goals with Microsoft 365
  • Champions whose passion for this new way of working will help bring their colleagues along


Executive sponsors

Like any other organizational transformation – enabling a new culture of work by adopting Microsoft 365 requires executive sponsorship. According to a McKinsey & Company survey, transformation projects are more successful when there is a visible executive sponsor.  


Executive sponsors play three important roles in your organization’s Microsoft 365 adoption:


  • Help articulate the business priorities and envision how Microsoft 365 can be used to solve different business problems
  • Lead the transformation and communicate the business benefits to other leaders across the organization
  • Actively participate and use the technology to help drive adoption across end users and reinforce desired behaviors.



Finding passionate end users, who believe that technology can change the way we work to be Microsoft 365 champions, is a great way to scale your adoption efforts. Microsoft 365 champions are your power users and an extension of you and your team, evangelizing to their colleagues how Microsoft 365 can be used to help them in everyday tasks.  


There are many ways champions can help their colleagues adopt Microsoft 365, such as running lunch and learn sessions with their team, using Microsoft 365 apps and services for the different collaboration scenarios their team engages in, and welcoming new users to Microsoft 365. It’s important to communicate internally that champions are not IT help desk, rather they are business representatives who can help their team members work in new ways with Microsoft 365.


To build a successful champions community as part of your Microsoft 365 adoption consider the following:


  • Recruit champions who are excited about technology and new ways of working, and who are eager to share and help their colleagues
  • Ready and support your champions through lightweight Microsoft 365 training and a Yammer group to connect the community to support and encourage each other
  • Enable the champions by sharing materials they can reuse in their engagement with colleagues
  • Recognize the efforts of your champions


Mott MacDonald, a global engineering, management, and development consultancy, implemented a successful Office 365 champions community. As part of their program, they paired area of practice senior leaders with Office 365 champions. The result was champions learn more about how the business works and senior leaders learn about the technology and how it can be used in their practice area. Also, the mentorship opportunity with a senior leader in the business worked as a great champion recruiting tool. Learn more champion tips and tricks directly from Mott MacDonald in this short video clip.


Help your champions be successful in their role by encouraging them to join our champions program. They will gain access to the latest news and tips, champion-peer networking and sharing, partnerships with Microsoft at premier events and meetups in your industry, and access to Microsoft subject matter experts and unique Office 365 training and content.


Gaining buy-in and participation from key stakeholders, such as executive sponsors and champions, requires educating them about how Microsoft 365 can be used to achieve their goals. In the next blog I will share more about how to work with your business stakeholders to identify and prioritize the Microsoft 365 scenarios that are most relevant to their teams.

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