Liberal Arts College Reaches New Heights of ROI with SWC’s Approach to Office 365

Keeping pace with the cloud in Office 365

Written By // Larry Jensen

Higher Education
3,500
Chicago, IL (Downtown Chicago)

The college decided to implement Office 365 capabilities for faculty and staff and recognized they needed help in rolling out a solution in a way that would create high end-user satisfaction and adoption. With the new school year around the corner, the college had limited runway for adoption and required a smooth transition to the new collaboration and communication environment.

The college wanted ultimately to improve productivity and efficiency among faculty and staff and to provide the ability to get work done anywhere, at any time, on any device.

Seeking a Solution to

Meet Evolving Needs of the Organization

An independent, non-profit liberal arts college was looking for a solution to increase workforce productivity and decided to invest in Microsoft Office 365, a group of cloud-based software productivity applications. The IT team was concerned about the potential complexity and disruption of a rollout, and about how well their 3,500 faculty and staff members would adopt the solution’s new capabilities. The CIO knew they needed help to manage all of this during deployment, and was further concerned about preventing governance challenges as the organization tried to keep pace with the ever-evolving cloud services.

SWC’s Office 365 change leadership framework addressed the concerns of user adoption, cost justification, IT governance, and keeping up with continuous innovation in cloud services. By teaming up with SWC, the college successfully deployed Office 365 capabilities targeted in the initial launch with very high user satisfaction, completing the project ahead of schedule and well under budget.


The CIO and his team understood very well the needs of many departments within the college to work together more effectively and selected Office 365 as the collaborative platform for the faculty and staff.  The IT team knew that in order for the implementation to be successful, and for high-end user adoption to be possible, they needed help in managing the process of change.

Office 365 is a suite of applications providing core services like email and enterprise voice, as well as specialized applications, all of which work together seamlessly to make people more productive.  With the new school year right around the corner, the college couldn’t afford a prolonged deployment or grace period of inefficiency while faculty and staff adapted.  With the help of SWC’s change leadership framework, the college aligned Office 365 applications with unmet productivity needs to develop and prioritize use cases and make the most of the limited staff and financial resources.  IT governance was applied throughout the process so that Office 365 capabilities were implemented deliberately and with a lower risk of technology sprawl.  An enablement and adoption plan was assembled to sell the benefits internally among faculty and staff, train employees, communicate about the change that was coming and throughout the project, support employees during and after implementation, and provide an avenue for feedback on actual productivity improvement or obstacles to achieving this. The IT staff couldn’t let their regular responsibilities go during deployment.  SWC provided the framework and personnel with specialized skills to work with the college IT team.  The result was a smooth migration without neglecting the day to day business of the college, a very good experience for the faculty and staff, and the college did not have to hire new staff to support the migration or ongoing production operations.

IT governance was applied throughout the process so that Office 365 capabilities were implemented deliberately and with a lower risk of technology sprawl.  An enablement and adoption plan was assembled to sell the benefits internally among faculty and staff, train employees, communicate about the change that was coming throughout the project, support employees during and after implementation, and provide an avenue for feedback on actual productivity improvement or obstacles to achieving this. The IT staff couldn’t let their regular responsibilities go during deployment.  SWC provided the framework and personnel with specialized skills to work with the college IT team.  The result was a smooth migration without neglecting the day to day business of the college, a very good experience for the faculty and staff, and the college did not have to hire new staff to support the migration or ongoing production operations.

 

Big Results and Big Plans for the Future

With the help of SWC and our change leadership framework, the college was able to complete the Office 365 implementation 3 weeks ahead of schedule and 40% under budget! All 3,500 employees are now using Office 365 productively in their daily routine. The IT team continues to partner with SWC to measure productivity, align Office 365 capabilities to evolving organizational needs, and to implement capabilities deliberately within this context.

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