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Technology and business are irrevocably entwined. Organizations of all sizes leverage cutting-edge tools to drive mission-critical processes, investing thousands, or in some cases millions, in software solutions. Enterprise information technology spending is expected to grow 2.7 percent to $3.5 trillion this year, according to research from Gartner. This signals the continued enthusiasm for advanced operational assets among businesses. However, simply signing a service agreement is only half the battle. Adopters must catalyze user buy-in to see real results.

This of course is no easy task. IT teams face resistance even when implementing proven, easy-to-navigate solutions such as Office 365. Just how can organizations gain user support and get the most out of their enterprise technology investments? The following strategies have proven effective.

Let employees in on the ground floor
During the initial stages of the adoption process, IT personnel and executive stakeholders collaborate to research and design systems that fit with overarching business goals and meet budgetary requirements. However, in the rush to get things off the ground, many of these cross-functional groups neglect the end user, moving into the implementation phase without ever consulting the employees who will use the new platform. This top-down approach damages user engagement and undermines system viability.

Prospective adopters would be wise to encourage employee participation from day one, according to Enterprise Apps Today. How? Distributing surveys or embedding with work groups to gain insight into what features might benefit productivity is a good start. While IT teams and business leaders have the power to implement new systems, most do not fully understand how they fit into existing workflows. However, the individuals tasked with navigating these processes do. Additionally, the simple act of communicating project plans can grease the skids and ease the entire adoption process.

“Prospective adopters would be wise to encourage employee participation from day one.”

Consider the experience
IT staff members regularly navigate complex backend interfaces that would confound common computer users. Unfortunately, many forget this when evaluating enterprise applications and tend to focus more on key networking or processing features rather than platform usability. This can cause major problems down the line, as employees in less technical divisions are given access to powerful tools that are impossible to use without thumbing through training materials. in most cases, frustrated users abandon unwieldy systems altogether, torpedoing project goals.

To avoid this problem, adoption teams should consider the user experience when reviewing possible solutions, CIO reported. However, focusing on flashy visual features is not the way to go. Variables like ease of navigation are more important, as they correlate more directly to overall functionality.

Commit to long-term training
Businesses with fully completed platforms are often excited to go live and watch as productivity increases and margins widen. In reality, it takes time for new systems to meet expectations, as users must find their footing. Some adopters unwittingly stall progression by using the set-it-and-forget-it method, which usually involves sending out credentials and hoping for the best. To move things along and drive revenue-building change, adoption teams must offer assistance in the days and weeks following platform deployment. Training is the obvious solution here, according to Enterprise Apps Today.

Sessions should provide users with system knowledge and operational insights they need to integrate the new system into their everyday workflows. They should also have access to reference material that addresses potential pain points. How do organizations put together these resources? Most vendors offer training with their products. For example, Microsoft provides cost-free and paid instructional resources to companies adopting Office 365.

Organizations on the verge of implementing transformative enterprise technology must consider how users might react to the shift and give them the support they need to navigate change. After all, the health of the new platform is tied directly to those who log in and use it.

Is your organization looking for a cutting-edge business solution that can bolster productivity and build revenue? Microsoft Office 365 features a variety of tools meant to streamline internal operations. Users can access robust collaborative components designed to break down internal silos and promote cross-functionality. They can also take advantage of secure file-sharing tools and business email services. Plus, Office 365 easily integrates with staple business software such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word.

Administrators have access to robust backend features that ease system management activities, leaving them time to take on more important duties. On top of that, all Office 365 service-level agreements include 99.9 percent uptime guarantees.

Connect with B2B Technologies today to learn more about how Office 365 can empower your employees and transform your business.