Office365.2016.jpgOffice 365, SharePoint Online – how can you make sense of it?  The “cloud” is upon us.  You or your team may have recently been told that IT is moving your content to the Cloud – Office 365.  Or perhaps you have seen features in Office 365 you like, and want to know more. Or perhaps you are an IT Director and you are still deciding on whether to move to Office 365.

Or, even if you have already moved to Office 365, you may want to take a step back and look at what you’re doing to best take advantage of what Office 365 provides.

For Life Sciences/Pharma/Biosciences and Healthcare Business Teams there are a number of key topics to consider before moving the Cloud:

  • What does Office 365 provide us with that can help us be more effective?
  • What are the new features that my teams can take advantage of? Such as collaborative authoring, Delve, Flow and so on.
  • Will our content look different in Office 365?
  • How can we be more effective and help improve the user interface, document findability, and how we use SharePoint in the cloud?
  • What does migration look like and how does it impact my department?
  • How do we take advantage of migration to Office 365 to increase adoption of SharePoint by my department?
  • How do we avoid making the same mistakes we made in the past when we introduced / upgraded SharePoint?
  • How do we improve findability and usability?
  • How do we help the users in our department derive more value from SharePoint?

For Life Sciences/Pharma/Biosciences and Healthcare Information Technology Teams there are a number of key topics to consider before moving the Cloud:

  • What do we gain or lose going to the cloud with SharePoint? And what are the risks
  • How can we use Office 365 to meet the needs of my business users, without sacrificing capabilities they need?
  • How can we support SharePoint more effectively? And avoid the SharePoint sprawl issues that have plagued us in the past?
  • How do we migrate our content to Office 365 without impacting our business teams?
  • Which content should be moved to Office 365, versus maintaining on premise?
  • Can we meet 21 CFR Part 11 requirements (qualification and validation) if I use the Cloud? How have other organizations used Office 365 for validated content?
  • Where should we start?
  • Can we or should we create a hybrid model that takes advantage of both Office 365 and our on premise SharePoint environment?

Here are some tips to help you and your team, whether you are business users or from IT teams:

  1. Develop a strategy. What benefits of going to the Cloud do you want to take advantage of and why. Identify very clear IT and business outcomes. Envision a 6, 12, and 24 month end-state.  Develop an overall launch and release strategy, and a solid governance model for three areas:  1) Infrastructure; 2) Information Architecture; Functional (site provisioning and functional management)
  1. If you are migrating content, take the opportunity to “re-architect” your sites and content. Get rid of the folders-in-folder paradox.  Implement a structured taxonomy for content tagging, which supports findability.  Create a provisioning model that automatically builds a site map. 
  1. Focus on business needs, even if you are from IT. Create a partnership between IT and the business stakeholders and end-users. Remember – it’s the person at his or her desk that is creating value for your organization. So outcomes should be mostly focused on their needs.
  1. Don’t do a lift and shift, meaning that you just replicate what you have on-site. Take the opportunity to revisit how knowledge (content) is used and for what purposes. Do a content and site clean-up prior to migrating sites and content.
  1. Implement change management and training to support the use of the Cloud, and best practices.

These are just a few of the critical steps you need to take to make your move to Office 365/the cloud effective.  And even if you have already moved, you can retroactively take steps like these to ensure that your IT teams can manage what they need to manage well, and your business teams can meet those ever-critical business objectives that drive success and value.