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Smarter Office 365 License Adoption & Management--Addressing 3 Adoption Blockers

The reasons for lack of license adoption include poor understanding of user requirements, failure to monitor active workload usage and an inability to act on adoption data.

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In this article, we will detail how you can help your customers increase user productivity and maximize their return on Office 365 licensing through a practical approach to effective license management. The first part of this two-part series focused on the over-purchasing of Office 365 licenses. Part two will cover Office 365 license adoption. 

The second phase of this process involves strategic outreach and helping your customers drive license adoption. There are a few reasons for lack of adoption–poor understanding of user requirements, failure to monitor active workload usage and an inability to act on adoption data.

Here’s how to address three adoption blockers:

Understand your user requirements to optimize Office 365 license adoption.

Set your users up for success to avoid disappointing adoption numbers and save money.

It is essential to understand that users will only adopt what they’re familiar with and what they need to effectively perform their job. Building out functional user profiles is helpful to document user requirements. You could use user experience (UX) techniques to match workload functionality to specific roles. Depending on the size of the customer organization, a logical place to start is interviewing stakeholders and a variety of users throughout the organization and then confirming the profiles among larger groups of users.

Identifying mobile users is a notable example of how building a profile can result in quick wins. Many times, frontline workers access information exclusively on their mobile devices, which means they require web-only access to Office 365 applications. These workers might not need desktop apps and are unlikely to fully adopt a license, which includes apps that are primarily desktop apps.

This insight is helpful in two ways. First, you can avoid over-purchasing for these users in the future, which will save money and maximize Office 365 license adoption. Second, if they have a license granting them desktop access, extremely low or non-existent adoption of those workloads might be acceptable. However, it would help if you considered this fact when looking at the overall license adoption as it might skew Office 365 license adoption rates.

Start with a baseline of your Office 365 license adoption by workload.

You cannot improve adoption if you’re unaware it’s underperforming.

 The second reason licenses are under-utilized and under-adopted is the lack of available data relating to active workload usage. Baselining workload adoption and active usage and embracing a data-driven approach is key to improving Office 365 license adoption. Workload-specific metrics help to highlight and visualize exactly how the user is using a license. Because different Office 365 license SKUs include varying workloads, it’s helpful to have and measure this more specific data to ensure your users are getting the full value of their license.

Drive action from insights.

Data alone isn’t enough to improve Office 365 adoption.

 The third reason that Office 365 license adoption suffers hinges upon the organization’s ability to act on the data it has collected, and then make necessary changes. If an organization is unable to drive change based on the data, it’s typically due to a lack of proper protocol, tools or resources. The popularity of the discipline known as either ‘adoption’ or ‘readiness’ to drive adoption is increasing, with Microsoft playing an active role, but it is still a new concept.

An organization can achieve increased user adoption through change management and a robust adoption campaign. Delivering the proper resources through a phased and clearly defined campaign is crucial, along with setting the right adoption goals. These goals should be based on metrics for each workload, the correct period for measurement, and selecting the right target audience based on department, geography and sequencing the right content for the best effect. With access to an automated tool, you can remove a lot of the guesswork. The Office 365 Adoption Accelerator feature in Quadrotech Nova does just that.

Since your customers turn to you for this type of advice, you can supply expert guidance to close both licensing “gaps” by taking a data-driven approach and embracing change management principles. Closing these gaps will then empower them to set the proper foundation for increased workforce productivity and set up a cost savings protocol for the organization around licenses for long-term benefits.


To remove blockers and optimize your customer’s Office 365 license adoption for their best possible ROI:

  • Help your customers review and understand Office 365 user requirements (ideally before first purchase or renewal).

  • Provide a baseline of current usage by workload,

  • Drive meaningful action through automated training and change management based on user requirements and baseline.

To learn more about how our Office 365 management platform, Nova, enables smarter Office 365 license adoption and can help potentially save your customers thousands of dollars a year on licensing, please contact us today. Visit our website for Office 365 License Lifecycle Management resources.

 Nigel Williams has spent 30 years in the IT industry in roles spanning Sales, Pre-Sales, Alliances and Marketing. He has worked in diverse company environments from startups to large corporations, focusing on data and information management. His broad experience enables him to understand the needs of Sales, Technical and Marketing teams, bringing them together to grow and transform businesses.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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