E-learning and Office 365: customised training will improve productivity

The technical challenges of a software migration can dominate the mind of a busy CIO. But in fact it’s user-communication that’s frequently the most important part of the project, and very often the deciding factor as to whether you get optimal operational use out of the product that you’ve invested in.

This is why it’s important to look at remote, self-paced training specifically tailored to the needs of your kind of business.

How can your business get the best value out of moving to Office 365? The answer, for once, isn’t a technical one.

The temptation is to spend money on faster internet connections, mobile computing and some trendy hot-desking for the office. However, unless you invest some time in your people these initiatives will come to nothing, and your whole migration project could fall victim to insurmountable scrutiny.

It’s likely that your business consists of both a traditional, settled workforce as well as a peppering of remote, independent professionals each with decades of experience. So how do you get all of them on board with a new way of working that has been identified as vital to your organisation?

Human-powered

Training fills the gap between new methods and old working practices. Simply making use of Office 365 as if it were a straight replacement for Office 2007 misses the advantages gained from moving up the versions. To get the best results, all levels of employee have to be enthused into using features that at first some may see as being trivial.

The key to business improvement isn’t the headline-grabbing, leading-edge high horsepower stuff. It’s figuring out the specifics for your business’s top five relevant tricks that either make day-to-day tasks run more efficiently or that bring greater insight into the developing working culture of your company. We used to do this competitively, swapping hints around the water-cooler during the early days of computing when the machines were largely just “played with” or “hacked around”. Now, computing is the business, and playtime is over.

Your human workforce can now be fully enabled with the potential for each individual to translate best practice for their business, into best use of office tools and software. So how do you draw the right people’s attention to the features that are right for them and in their specific area of working?

A moving target

The answer is training – but not just any old training! The use of a whiteboard and a projector are now only one part of a wider, structured picture. E-learning comes in to its own as the long tail of the project, enabling self-paced memory jogging as well as involvement for distant workers. While many UK businesses enshrine working practices in ISO standard document libraries, e-learning can take a lot of the formality and rigidity out of that style of communication providing greater relevance and pertinence for the individuals.

Given that Office 365 is also a constantly evolving product, with new features and new ideas for getting more from it ever growing, customised e-learning ensures that the bits that matter most to your business are presented in a timely and dynamic fashion. You can no longer rely upon a page of links to materials on your extranet inviting people to catch up. There’s finer detail and personal relevance within each release that needs to be conveyed at a time and place that fits your workers.

Training re-aligns your business

We are used to thinking of the challenges of computing as being about things like speed, space, up-time and security. In truth, getting your money’s worth out of a range of products as huge as Office 365 isn’t really about any of those old measures of success. It’s about optimising the human machine by fully understanding and determining where the most benefit can be gained by the job that the software does for you.

Focusing on features by assessing their relevance is not an activity left to crowd-sourcing or spare-time idle research. It is now a process of professional analysis. The way that the uniqueness of your business, the advantage you have over your competitors, is made clear to your workforce is via accessible, time-uncoupled training.

Customised training won’t just uncover the software features that matter most to your workforce, it will uncover the human features and traits that work best with the software for their specific roles within your company environment.