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The tip of the iceberg: How can organisations maximise their digital investments?

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/bluebay)

It’s clear that today, adopting cloud software is an integral step in any organisation’s digital transformation journey. This is illustrated by the growing number of businesses opting to use enterprise cloud software suites, such as Microsoft 365, of which the latest data shows there are currently 150 million active users. These software solutions provide organisations with all the processes integral to daily work life – including emails, word processing, and familiar desktop applications – from any location or device.

However, enterprise cloud software has far more to offer than just email, from collaborative working applications to security tools and beyond. But these additional features are often overlooked by businesses – sometimes, IT teams and employees alike may not even know that they exist at all. This means they not only miss out on the productivity benefits, but that they are also limiting their ROI. Furthermore, organisations often end up paying for the same functions twice – for instance, they might purchase additional subscriptions for a third-party collaboration app.

So, in order to ensure they maximise their digital investments, organisations must be prepared to roll their sleeves up and explore the forgotten tools and features already available to them.

Out of sight, underused

With the arrival of cloud comes a myriad of tools designed to help boost productivity and collaboration, but many organisations are neglecting what they have access to. Recent research of IT decision makers (ITDM) conducted by SoftwareONE, for instance, found that email is still the most popular application in Microsoft 365, while collaborative and coworking apps are comparatively underused; for instance, 38 per cent of IT decision makers said they had heard of Yammer but that their organisation does not use it, and 27 per cent said the same about SharePoint Online.

The same research also found that, in particular, security features were being disregarded, with four out of five of the features within the Enterprise Mobility + Security offering showing low levels of adoption. These findings show there is a huge missed opportunity when it comes to investment in Microsoft 365, and this likely also applies to other cloud platforms and software suites that organisations have paid for.

The challenges of adoption

When it comes to why so much software is underused, half of ITDMs said their employees being unsure which apps they have access to is a key challenge to full adoption. In addition, resistance to change and not having enough time to provide enablement were also marked as top barriers to rolling out full adoption. Of course, adopting any new technology involves considerable change and can be a challenge for even the most innovative of organisations.

However, organisations should not settle when it comes to digital investments; whether or not they use the features available to them they have still paid for them, so why not enjoy the benefits to the full? Businesses need to go ‘under the hood’ and explore how they can make employees’ lives easier; many organisations find it useful to do this in conjunction with an external party that can arrange training and support organisational change management. Ultimately, there are three key areas organisations must address:

  • Monitoring usage: Recent research, conducted on behalf of SoftwareONE, found that 26 per cent of surveyed IT leaders were not measuring how Microsoft 365 was used within their organisation. This leaves a lot of room for improvement. By monitoring how tools are used, organisations will be able to identity which apps and tools are neglected by employees and then provide appropriate training to drive up usage.
  • Creating the culture: An integral part of maximising adoption is through building a workplace culture that embraces it. This can involve training staff on how to use individual apps or features, as well as educating them on the benefits each new tool can bring. Identifying workplace champions to drive change can also be key; only a quarter of surveyed organisations admitted to having appointed a ‘user champion’ for Microsoft 365 adoption, demonstrating this as a strategy that is still yet to be effectively harnessed. 
  • Taking stock: To maximise investment, organisations must take stock of what applications and tools are already available to them through the suites they have paid for. Once this is done, the next step is to understand how each of these tools work and then utilise them to get the most out of the software that has already been paid for. 

Maximising investment in cloud platforms cannot be a passive action; for organisations that want to make the most of the technology they have paid for, addressing these three areas will be vital. By doing so, organisations will be able to reap the benefits – from improving collaborative working company-wide, to cutting down costs and even improving security. Businesses shouldn’t be afraid to turn over every stone when they adopt new software.

Andy Dunbar, Technology Services Lead, SoftwareONE