Effective Office365 Education using Stories

Office 365 learning

Continuous updates of software have increased the need for continuous learning

The question that many organizations are struggling with is how to ensure that their employees are effective in their use of different digital tools. The software industry has changed dramatically over the past few years. I grew up in the era of floppies, disks, and, eventually, CDs. Today software is consumed through the cloud, and new updates are automatic and continuous. I have been in a fortunate position to work with software vendors for the past almost 20 years as a consultant and leader. I have seen the changes in to how software gets developed and updated at an ever-increasing pace. Each of us has to ask how we can ensure that the users stay productive and get updated on the use of the software.

Some software vendors are openly sharing their roadmaps 

Some software vendors openly share their roadmaps; an example is the Microsoft Office 365 team. The Office 365 roadmap page allows anybody to review what is coming next, what new features are built, and what features are updated. The same applies to the Azure roadmap; it is continuously updated. Some vendors have decided not to be open about their roadmaps for various reasons. Some don’t want to share their plans for competitive reasons; some feel it will put too much pressure on the development team.

How can organizations ensure that users get educated in software to stay productive?

There is no question that our lives have become more hectic with continuous digital information overflow from different sources. Some organizations are regulated, and users must take mandatory courses in different topics. A good example is an advisory firm where the employees have to take CPE credits (continuing professional credits), which applies to every employee, including the partners in the firm.  Each organization must invest in education to ensure its employees stay current. It is about staying current and the organization using its software solutions in an optimized and organized manner. I have seen organizations that use the SharePoint collaboration platform as a “dumping site” for documents without any metadata use or logic for how documents are saved. That does not help end users and what ends up happening is that people start saving files on their local hard drives, and the whole purpose of a document repository disappears.  

A new way to entice users to learn – education based on stories

Due to the inflow of free and paid education content, organizations need a better and more effective way to service education content to their users. Storyals has taken a new “Netflix” type approach to the education of the Office 365 platform. Storyals education is based on real stories that the users will face in their daily use. Storyals puts lots of effort into the content by studying users at their work to ensure the content is relevant and interesting for the users. The content is professionally made and can be surfaced from an LMS environment or from having the content surfaced from an organization’s SharePoint through the Microsoft Teams interface. Most organizations “live” in Microsoft Teams; therefore, it is natural and logical to surface the educational content where people spend most of their time. Storyals make it easier for an organization to ensure that users get education in a controlled and optimal way, as everybody will be educated similarly with only relevant content. The educational sessions are not too long, keeping the users focused and not becoming bored.

Bridging the way of work among generations

The assumption is that the younger generation is already fully educated in software solutions such as Office 365. However, this assumption is far from the truth. Regardless of the generation, updates on the Office 365 platform are continuous, and keeping yourself updated is hard. Regardless of the generation, every organization needs to have a harmonized and agreed-upon way to work to ensure consistency in workflows and processes. 

Education content needs to be continuously be updated

When the software gets updated, so should the education content. If you spend a few minutes doing an internet search, you will find “free” educational content on almost any topic. Every learner must respond to whether the content is valid and will lead to the desired results. An example of the issue of finding the right content is from my own journey to take certifications. I decided to take proctored certifications in Azure Fundamentals and Power Platform. I spent lots of time figuring out what courses would lead me to get through the tests. I even wrote a document for some of my colleagues so they would not waste time figuring out the same thing. The same applies to user organizations. You want your users to focus on education, not trying to figure out where to find content. Every hour they spend is away from other productive work they must perform. The users will also appreciate content prepared for them in a fun and enticing way. This is exactly the approach that Storyals has taken.

Education spurts do not make sense – it needs to be continuous

The mistake that organizations typically make is that education is seen as a “one-time effort” while, in reality, it should be part of an ongoing effort. For example, getting educated in Office 365 should not be a one-time event, but it should be something that an organization does in a planned manner. Users get educated with new content at given intervals and in a planned manner. It is also important that the organization sees education as an investment in its employees, not a cost.

Investing in your employees to keep them happy  

Retaining employees is a topic that many organizations do not pay enough attention to. If a person feels that the organization is not investing in its personnel, sooner or later, the person will move to another organization that sees, for example, ongoing education as an important activity for its employees. I have believed my entire career that it is my responsibility to stay current with topics that ensure the value that I bring to my clients and that my clients also feel that they get educated in things that I am passionate about. I have been fortunate to be able to educate hundreds of professionals in business modeling, envisioning, channel development and execution, and overall building a software business or intellectual property (IP). Education and working with organizations keep my mind excited and eager to wake up every morning to try to make a difference. It makes a world of difference when you see the impact of your efforts.   

Stay curious and keep on learning!



Leave a Comment