The secret to success with Microsoft 365

Posted by Mark Rye, HLB Solutions 18-03-2021 03:30 PM

With Microsoft 365, businesses of all sizes can leverage an extremely powerful communications, file sharing and business productivity platform. So, why do so many Microsoft 365 deployments fall short of their full potential?

There is no doubt that the productivity tools of Microsoft 365 have the potential to change the way a business operates. Yet, all too often organizations find themselves years into the Microsoft 365 journey wondering how to use the tools more effectively. The good news is that this can be avoided by taking a different approach to deployment. If we do away with ad hoc, organic, user-driven deployments we can create something that will work today and will grow and flex with the business over time.

The big secret: Microsoft 365 loves structure
Think of the various pieces of the 365 platform as Lego blocks. Like Lego blocks, without a sound structure or plan the pieces do not fit together into a cohesive product. However, with the right plan you can build tremendous productivity from those initial blocks.

So, what do we mean by structure in terms of Microsoft 365? By creating Teams and Channels in Microsoft Teams you are in fact also creating Microsoft 365 Groups and SharePoint Team Sites. In other words, you are stacking the Lego blocks, perhaps without even realizing it. In doing so, every Microsoft 365 deployment creates its own underlying Information Structure which describes the relationship between users, communications, and content. The big question is whether the structure you create will work for your business… now and 5 or 10 years from now?

Nothing impacts the success of a Microsoft 365 deployment as profoundly as the Information Structure upon which it is configured. While large corporations have decades of experience with the roll out of enterprise software platforms and the information management concerns required for success. This expertise has been slow to trickle into the SMB space and impact Microsoft 365 deployments.

The good news is that a relatively small amount of up-front planning can produce a Microsoft 365 deployment that is tailor made for the business. This planning requires the definition of the Information Structure upon which the various components of Microsoft 365 will be configured. The Information Structure defines the relationship between users, communications and content, specific to the business. When done effectively the resulting system is intuitive for employees to use, reducing training needs, and eliminates the need for ad-hoc Teams/Channels as there is a place for everything. Provide this underlying Information Structure for your Microsoft 365 deployment and you will see the benefits for years to come.

Mark Rye, HLB Solutions.