This article appears in the Winter 2018 digital issue of DOCUMENT Strategy. Subscribe.

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    Over the years, we've heard a lot of talk about how businesses are moving to the cloud, switching to Microsoft's Office 365, and creating and collaborating around content, but what is really happening out there? Are organizations really taking the initiative to connect and optimize their Office 365 and SharePoint environments in ways to gain maximum benefit? Or have they simply installed yet another application for the user community, only to let it fall to the wayside when the next shiny object comes along?

    According to a recent AIIM report titled "Information Management: Connecting and Optimizing Office 365," 74% of respondents indicate that Office 365 is their tool of choice for content creation. This isn't really surprising, since most people relate the term "Office" to Microsoft's productivity tools and have for some time. This same study finds that better than half (59%) are using Office 365 for collaboration and file sharing, while 46% use Skype for live conferencing. So, it appears that businesses are turning to Office 365 for not just content creation but also as a means to share and interact with other members of their organization and/or clients.

    In a recent AIIM survey, respondents were asked to describe their use of Office 365 across their organization. Not surprisingly, content creation came in first, followed by collaboration/file-sharing and live conferencing.

    While there is clear evidence that Office 365 is becoming a platform of choice for many businesses, there are still similar challenges around user adoption, as with many other technologies of the past. In the AIIM survey, 55% of respondents agree that their biggest ongoing issue is getting users to manage and share their content in Office 365 alone, while 46% feel that a lack of expertise is their biggest issue.

    What to Think About

    There has to be purpose, education, training, and a clear transition to the new way of working-even with Office 365. Enhancements will be made that will help in this transition, enabling the user community to be more productive and see grater value from Office 365 in their day-to-day activities. However, it is up to decision-makers to realize this potential as they assess what, when, and how to move forward with their planned implementations.

    In My View

    There are always benefits to be found where technology is concerned, and there is a lot to be gained by using Office 365. Will it deliver 100% out-of-the-box functionality? This will depend on what you are trying to accomplish. In some cases, you will need to enhance it with add-on or auxiliary products. The key is to know what business problem you are trying to solve with Office 365 and to define the goal you have in relation to how it will be used by the organization and each department. Then, you have to educate, train, and help transition the user community to that new way of working in order for it to take hold. Don't be afraid to unwrap Office 365 and look at each element it has to offer. You may find that implementing it in phases is the best approach, delivering small presents at different intervals rather than one big gift that overwhelms.

    Bob Larrivee is Vice President and Chief Analyst of Market Intelligence at AIIM and an internationally recognized subject matter expert and thought leader with over 30 years of experience in the fields of information and process management. Follow him on Twitter @BobLarrivee.