Organizational Change Management for Office 365 Migration Prompted by Corporate Divestiture
Because of a corporate divesture, our client needed to accomplish an Office 365 migration in alignment with the new business entity. Concurrency planned and executed the migration of our client’s complex web of on-premises user accounts in several Active Directory forests containing multiple domains. In addition, we supported the process with organizational change management (OCM) consulting, focused on minimizing user disruption at a critical time for this organization.
Even though users did not experience a vast change with new operational software systems impacts on them were substantial as their computers were disconnected and reconnected to new system instances. Therefore, every production workstation needed in-person attention by the IT team. For example, Microsoft Outlook had to be reconfigured to point to the new tenant and email had to be re-downloaded from the cloud.
Through all of this, the potential negatives from any failure to effectively complete this project were high. The corporate separation meant access to the prior parent companies’ systems was time-limited; since critical business processes depended on email and SharePoint, we had to ensure there was no lapse in service.
User accounts needed to seamlessly transfer from the old system to a new one, along with associated data. Users needed to understand what was happening and maintain confidence in their ability to be productive. In addition, the migration presented an important opportunity to establish a new organizational identity, expressed through the new domain.
Concurrency’s OCM team worked closely with the migration project’s sponsor, an IT Vice President with a high level of awareness of the importance of clear communication throughout the existing and newly formed companies. We first worked together with this VP to establish the method by which we would collaborate with him and the existing company’s communications team to develop messaging. We then created a timeline for what messages would be disseminated when and by what methods.
We created a wide range of sample communications, developing a variety of email subject lines and message structures (bullet points, lists, etc.) to help ensure the messages were read. In addition to the actual messages, we created a comprehensive and holistic 20-page communication plan to account for all potential situations that might occur throughout the migration process.
As the communications rolled out, they proved to be an important catalyst to help the technical project team change direction when needed. For example, users replied to messages or contacted our client’s IT Service Desk to call attention to needs relating to a specific SharePoint site. In this way, solid communication and clear internal project sponsorship led to a more complete outcome—one that included user input—than could have otherwise been achieved.
We developed a set of frequently asked questions and their answers to aid our client’s internal IT team as it delivered user training. The FAQ was used substantially throughout all communications to ensure consistency.
We were able to complete this entire OCM engagement remotely, working in close partnership with our client. The project’s success stemmed from having the right resources with our industry expertise, in the right place, at the right time.