What JFK and Office 365 Success Have in Common

Why setting the vision is key for Office 365 success

Setting the Vision!

Picture this.

September 12, 1962. One year since John F. Kennedy won the presidency. With the nation in a high-stakes space race, the American president stands in front of 35,000 people in Houston, and begins to speak:

“We will optimize our space exploration project over the coming months.”

The crowd yawns and everyone goes home, wondering what’s for dinner, and why they bothered to attend another meaningless political photo-op.

The speech is forgotten and, just maybe, the course of history is altered. All because Kennedy failed to deliver a compelling vision. In this alternate universe, Kennedy never delivered his iconic “We choose to go to the moon” speech, and the lunar race took on a far different trajectory.

Vision matters

Of course, we all know what really happened. Sixty years ago JFK delivered an incredible, inspiring – and detailed – promise to his country. “We choose to go to the moon,” he said. And we are going to do it by the end of the decade.

Clear, compelling and emotional, it’s a case study in why setting a vision is so vital to rallying a people behind a cause and coming out victorious.

Office 365: Vision needed 

The stakes of implementing an Office 365 rollout are admittedly a little different. But the premise for success is exactly the same. Organizations not engaging their users with a clear vision from the outset risk missing out on significant gains to their bottom line, wide scale adoption and productivity boosts.

Vision and adoption go hand in hand

Without a clear adoption strategy, there really is no hope for a new technology undertaking to be successful. Everything from return on investment to productivity hinges on whether users will actually use the brand new solution. And that means getting people engaged and brought in at the outset.

A Softchoice study reveals this is far from a fringe concern. Employees who are consulted on the vision of a new technology rollout are:

  • 18% more likely to feel the tool makes them productive
  • 23% more likely to be satisfied with their job
  • 26% more likely to feel they have the right tools to do their work

Adoption starts and ends by knowing your users and engaging them from the start. Together, you should be building a clear and comprehensive vision so everyone knows exactly who benefits, and — most importantly — they know what’s in it for them.

Creating a Successful Vision 

Below are some key takeaways to help drive your vision creation.

  • A Focus on Human Beings: Rule #1 of building your vision is this: It’s about ‘people’ not ‘technology’
  • Inspiring Word Choice: When engaging stakeholders, consider positioning your “project” as an ‘initiative’– something transformative to the business. The word ‘project’ often connotes more mundane tasks (to do lists, action registers, yawn!).
  • The Why: A good vision emphasizes the Why vs. the What and How. If people understand the why AND how it will help them they will be more motivated to learn it.
  • Inventory: Work with the team to inventory existing collaboration tools by department and user segments. Understanding what’s working and what’s not can help you focus on where there’s critical mass to drive adoption.
  • Relatable Measures of Success: A good vision includes measures of success stakeholders can relate to. This doesn’t come easy and it’s important to avoid ‘subjective’ measures that are difficult to quantify. Include metrics associated with usage and adoption, ideally down to an end-user level.
  • Success Stories: A vision typically isn’t bound by time. It’s something you pursue. Beyond metrics, success stories are a powerful way to sustain momentum. And having a clear vision will make it easy to connect these stories back to the ‘why’ and how the ‘initiative’ is helping end-users achieve their goals. A survey is often a simple way to surface these details.

Want More?

We’ve put together brand new guide for building a comprehensive, user-centric Office 365 strategy. In addition to checklists and downloadable templates, the guide is packed with expert advice from our Microsoft team.

Download your free copy of The Complete Guide to Building a User Centric Office 365.

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About Mack Ratcliffe

Mack is Softchoice's SaaS Practice Lead. He is responsible for setting technical strategy and direction for Softchoice’s SaaS business and developing managed services for Microsoft Office 365 and Azure platforms. For fun, Mack enjoys traveling, live music, golfing, snowboarding, and surfing in Southern California.