Adoption & Effective Use

Adoption Strategy for Office 365 at Merck

Merck has almost finished an 11 month transition to Office 365 from various older Microsoft products and messaging and collaboration tools from other vendors (e.g., IBM, WebEx). The deployment of the new foundation is expected to be completed by mid-April. Here’s the paragraphs in the announcement about the user adoption approach:

Merck is using Office 365 to replace a group of disconnected technologies including Lotus Notes, Sametime, and WebEx, that we had deployed over the years. With the Microsoft solution, we will have a completely new way of working together once all components of the Connect 15 program are rolled out. Our employees are realizing that this change is much larger than just getting a new version of Office or a new email system. Instead of working on documents, we’ll be collaborating on them. The goal is to enhance productivity and reduce operating costs within the organization.

Using Group Policy to deploy Office 365 ProPlus, we rolled out the software by function within Germany, and by country in the rest of the world. In each location we trained a member of the IT staff to act as a change agent. When employees received their Office update and especially when they were migrated from Lotus Notes to Outlook, the change agents were there to answer questions. In addition to providing the onsite staff specialists, we developed extensive eLearning courses, classroom training, did marketing events, and produced a series of FAQ documents and other communications.

The next phase of the program, set to begin in April of 2015, will really focus on scaling up Office 365, especially the Lync and SharePoint capabilities. Our change agents will hold events to demonstrate the new way of working and reinforce the cultural change, and then work with individual teams to create tailored solutions. We see Microsoft OneDrive for Business as a major catalyst in this next phase. OneDrive makes it possible to share and collaborate on documents from any location, using any device. We are looking forward to continue our journey with great success as we have seen with our Office 365 ProPlus deployment.

So looking at this through some of the tools and frameworks in my book I see:
– Context: the transition is painted as more than a new set of tools; it’s about changing culture, enhancing productivity, and reducing cost.
– Winning Attention: there is a mention of “marketing events” (which I call the Roadshow strategy). I don’t see anything about Executive Support / Modelling, but that’s not to say it didn’t happen. You could also say that the shift from “working” to “collaborating” on documents was done using something like the Real-to-Life Scenarios strategy.
– Cultivating Basic Principles: classroom training, web-based training (elearning), and FAQ documents (as Pages on the Intranet perhaps?). All three strategies from the book are noted.
– Enlivening Applicability: the key strategy in Merck’s adoption approach is the use of change agents at each location, or what I call one-to-one coaching in my book. They were available to answer questions after the initial migration, and will be used going forward as the new tools translate into new approaches. I also see the use of the Facilitated Group Re-Imagining strategy, run by the change agents.
– Making It Real: Zero Other Options is at play (older versions of Office 2007 no longer available, except for the 1% of employees who need both 2007 and ProPlus; and the previous email / chat / meetings tools are most likely being decommissioned / cancelled).

Interesting times for Merck. I look forward to getting an update in a year or so about how things have gone.