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In this Podcast, Change Management in a Microsoft 365 Tenant Consolidation, we discuss…

Min Topic
2:21 Change Management Overview
3:05 Three C’s of a Migration
4:42 Typical Microsoft 365 Tenant Consolidation

Other Podcasts in this Series 
 Microsoft 365 Tenant Consolidation Podcast


Danny:  Today I’m going to be talking to Tommy Ryan, hey Tommy. 


Tommy Ryan:  Hey Danny. 


Danny:  How are you doing? 


Tommy Ryan:  I’m doing well, I’m doing well. 


Danny:  Awesome. 


Tommy Ryan:  It’s that time of year where we’re starting to transition from summer to fall, I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a hot summer. 


Danny:  Yeah. How’s the garden doing? 


Tommy Ryan:  It’s in some areas, it’s fading. A lot of the tomatoes are starting to get to a point where they’re getting tuckered out, and starting to look at what I want to plant for the fall, so getting things like kale, and Swiss chard, and beets, and green beans, and peas. Looking forward to the next kind of round of stuff. 


Danny:  Ah, so planting the next crop. 


Tommy Ryan:  That’s right. 


Danny:  Awesome. 


Tommy Ryan:  It’s all about planting seeds. 


Danny:  Today we’re going to be talking about the Microsoft 365 change management. This is a part of a new series that we’re putting together on Microsoft 365 tenant consolidations, and the last one that we did was sort of a high level intro to that. Today I just wanted to talk to you about one particular piece of it, which is the change management piece of these projects. I think might be a good place for us to start is like, what are we talking about when we say change management with regards to an Microsoft 365 tenant consolidation. Can you just sort of define it at a high level for me. 


Tommy Ryan:  Yeah. At a high level change management is about aligning to training and communications plan, to make sure that what you’re trying to accomplish in this consolidation is realized, and the proper amount of communication is taking place to make sure people feel comfortable as you’re moving down this path of taking multiple organizations, and coming into one place to collaborate. 


Danny:  Excellent, excellent. What’s the, why spend the time doing this, what’s the benefits that you’re going to see out of focusing in on this? 


Tommy Ryan:  Well, I think we’ve said this before when we talk about migrations, it’s like the three C’s of migrations. Communications, communications, communications. We know this is moving people’s cheese. All this is … although we’re moving people from the same platform into a consolidated platform, you’re still moving the cheese, you’re still putting them somewhere else, in a navigation structure. You are going into a much bigger location, so the information might be harder to find. Also, you might be changing the way you use the platform. Maybe you had Yammer before, and now Yammer goes away because they have a different approach for one to many communication, or many to many communication. As a part of an organization coming together into one location, it’s important to make sure people are ready for that- 


Danny:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). 


Tommy Ryan:  … Not only would communication be a part of this, but also training. You’re making sure people know how to use the defined tool set that is going to be configured and enabled across their organization. 


Danny:  Excellent. And, a little bit about, maybe a little bit about the, how is this done? Is it sort of, does this typically map into how we do our traditional migration projects where there’s a pilot phase, or sort of different phases that you’re focusing in on this change management? 


Tommy Ryan:  It definitely is an inspect and adapt type cycle. 


Danny:  Uh huh. 


Tommy Ryan:  With migrations, the technical performance of moving the stuff is definitely iterative in a way that you learn as you go, and you bite off smaller pieces before you go off and do the whole thing. You’re going to do some initial planning, determining what are your goals that you’re trying to accomplish, and how change management and adoption strategies can reinforce the goal that you’re looking to achieve. That is understanding who has what part to play, and making sure we are accepting what gets rolled out, and there’s a good checkpoint along the way. And, when you go to do the production itself, you definitely want to have a dress rehearsal before you get to that point of doing the full production. 


  You’re going to do a pilot, and you’re going to test out the concepts that you plan for, to make sure you don’t need to make any fine tuned adjustments before rolling it out in a production roll out. That communication, change management, training, those elements definitely benefit from a plan and design, test that concepts out, because every organization is different- 


Danny:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). 


Tommy Ryan:  … In terms of what really resonates with them, and what is necessary to support this type of change in their organization. Then, you should be inspecting and adapting to come up with what is the production plan. That’s nothing new- 


Danny:  Mm-hmm (affirmative). 


Tommy Ryan:  … But, I think in the grand scheme of things, people can skimp on this, people can kind of overlook the importance of it, and we definitely know there’s some organizations we work with, they know this. They do this, they’re well honed in how to do this change management to roll out new technologies, or consolidate technologies. But, some organizations need the help. They want not to get into that detail. They know there are lessons learned in this, and they don’t want to learn them from scratch. They want some expertise to come in and help them down that change management journey. 


Danny:  It sounds like this is one of those situations where we, the client involvement might change based on the project, where you might have some clients who want to help really drive some of the change management, we might assist with them. As opposed to some other ones who want us to take more of an involved approach to the change management, and help lead it up, help lead up that portion of the project for them. 


Tommy Ryan:  Yeah. One of the things I can draw an equivalency to is, the custom development that we do to create a collaborative solution. We used to depend on the client solely, to test what we’ve done, and give us feedback. Inevitably people are busy- 


Danny:  Yeah. 


Tommy Ryan:  … And, don’t have time to do that. To be able to have an involvement in that change management adoption and training, ensures better success and puts your client in a better position at the end of the project, where if you go and say in retrospective, “We should have had you do more of that,” we’re suggesting let’s take that on and make sure that’s done well. We definitely adapt the strategy based on their disciplines, and their capabilities, and come up with a base plan that we’ll all be happy with, so we come at the end of the project and we’re successful. 


Danny:  Yep. It’s funny, I … thinking about this, and discussions with you, and with Kirk, and with others about migrations. I think the reason why we’re doing this is because just recognizing what is it going to take for us to be successful with the adoption of the new platform? This is a really a key component of making sure not are we just moving the content, not are we just technically pulling off the migration, or the consolidation. But, we’re also recognizing that there’s an organization, and communities, and users behind this, where you’re changing something and helping them adapt to that change. Unless you really think through that, you’re not going to be successful in the end, you’re not going to be able to enable them to leverage, and take advantage of, and you won’t have the adoption numbers with the new platform you’re putting in place. 


Tommy Ryan:  Yeah. Yeah, we found this so important that we’ve partnered with folks that have some deep expertise when it comes to heavier lifting. You know, some of the larger scale migrations that need a dedicated team- 


Danny:  Yep. 


Tommy Ryan:  … Around rolling this out. If you can imagine, this can be a significant effort, sometimes bigger than the migration itself, to make sure you have the resources needed to do that. Especially in the training aspect. The training aspect is an area that if you have tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people in your organization, rolling out that training can be pretty significant. 


Danny:  Yep. 


Tommy Ryan:  We find ways that we can work with the organization if they have those resources, provide the training material, and that gives them something to leverage to be able to effectively use their internal resources to roll out training. Otherwise, if we weren’t involved with that, they would be kind of learning some lessons around what’s critical to communicate and trait, and they’ve learned it after the fact. 


  Most organizations are not going to do this too many times, and it’s not core to their business. It’s a great opportunity for us to help people keep focused on their core business, while we take care of the block and tackle of making sure something like this is done well, and done in the perspective of you understand what the challenges are, and can mitigate those along the way. Versus getting to the end, and potentially having a failure due to not the technical side of things, but just the expectation management, and organizational readiness to absorb this new change. 


Danny:  Awesome, anything else to wrap us up here? Any last minute? 


Tommy Ryan:  I think it’s something that, it’s important again, we’ve said it in the past. It’s the three C’s of successful migrations is communication, communication, communication. You just can’t overlook that, and it’s what we found has been key to our more successful engagements is, where there’s been an investment in that communication. 


Danny:  Awesome. Thank you Tom, for sharing your thoughts on this. Thank you everybody, for listening, and have a wonderful day. 


Tommy Ryan:  Bye, bye. 


Danny:  It’s Tuesday August sixth, and today’s topic is Microsoft 365 change management. I talk with Tommy about the what, the why, and the how. Enjoy. 



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