Office 365 Adoption: Importance of Sponsorship and Communications

Jul 2, 2018 | Blog | 0 comments

Continuing our series around Office 365, we are taking a look at the top 10 mistakes that we see in the field and how you can avoid them. We’ve already seen a couple of reasons why Office 365 change management projects often fail, notably not taking into account employee resistance to change. We’ve also seen how not factoring in the change processes can often have an impact on Office 365 ROI. In this post we’re going to take a closer look at how lack of support from leadership and the lack of communications around change can impact an Office 365 adoption project.

Mistake 5: lack of support from leadership

Why are sponsors so important? According to Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management research report, 20 years of industry leading research from change managers, project leaders and executives from 6,298 participants from across the globe concluded that the role of the sponsor was the #1 contributor to success.

Office 365 impacts all of your employees, to varying degrees. Different job roles may need different levels of access and different technologies to complete their day-to-day tasks successfully and efficiently.

Effective sponsorship of a change means:

  • Participating actively and visibly throughout the project
  • Building a coalition of sponsorship and managing resistance
  • Communicating directly with employees

Sponsors are the ones who should be launching change efforts and their involvement sends a strong signal to the rest of the organisation.

If the sponsor is active and visible in their support, the organisation notices. Likewise, if the sponsor announces the change and then disappears, individuals in the organisation see this equally strong signal. The effectiveness of the sponsor is one of the strongest predictors of project success or project failure.

It is important to effectively define roles, responsibilities and relationships for your project management resources.

Regardless of team structure, it is critical to have adequate sponsorship to provide credibility and support for the change to Office 365.

Effective sponsorship research - Prosci

Effective sponsorship research – Prosci

Research has shown that employees have a strong preference to hear business led messages from very senior staff, and personal messages from their own line-manager or department head.

Key messages must be communicated over and over throughout your project –  in fact, five to seven times to be effective.

Communication should be viewed as process and not an event. Effective communication is not simply a single email or a single kick-off meeting or a single video message by the CEO broadcast on the intranet. Communication is a process – it must utilise multiple mediums and channels to repeat and reinforce key messages throughout your Office 365 adoption project.

Get the Complete Guide to Office 365 Adoption

Mistake 6: not communicating the reason and need for change

Office 365 adoption projects can often fail when the reasons and need for change have not been communicated to employees and managers multiple times via a range of different channels. The bottom line is, people learn in different ways. Some are visual – hence a need for visual content such as infographics and video content, and some are audible learners – hence a requirement for classroom-based learning and training guides.

What can you do?

Understandably before implementing any change, employees will want to understand the reasoning behind a required action or change. Talk to a person in a language they understand. Use language that will resonate with them and create a desire to get on board with the change.

Here it is important to distinguish between ‘awareness of the need for change’ versus ‘awareness that a change is happening’.

Within the ADKAR model building awareness is defined as sharing both the nature of the change and answering why this change is needed.

An organisation has successfully built awareness when employees are able to confirm that they understand the nature of the change and why the change is needed.

This requires:

  • The business drivers or opportunities that have resulted in the need for change
  • Why a change is needed now
  • The risk involved in not implementing the change

Using video to communicate the message effectively:

  • Grab attention: If a video is available, 60% of employees will opt to watch it before reading any text.
  • Speed of comprehension: Our brains process imagery 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Recall: Visual imagery can be recalled easier, with studies showing that users recall 6 times more information from video than from text.
  • Measurement: Offers potential to view engagement analytics.
  • Be concise, engaging, with no unnecessary words: Optimal length is 90 seconds. The longer your video, the lower the engagement.


Take time to ensure your employees believe in the rationale behind the required change and trust and agree with the messages they are provided with.

In addition to this, with any Office 365 change management and adoption project you should be utilising multiple channels and digital media types to get your message across – after all, every person learns in a different way.


Complete Guide to Office 365 Adoption

Many organisations still struggle to get their employees to make good use of new technologies available to them. This guide will explore the top 10 mistakes that are commonly seen throughout an Office 365 roll-out and provide some simple measures that can be put in place to dramatically increase Office 365 adoption and usage rates.



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