Successful SharePoint and Office 365 adoption is the result of gradual and sustainable organizational change. For any change process to reach its objectives, you'll need to go through a well-planned and implemented change management program. And for that to happen, you need to appoint effective change managers.

In addition, you will only get the full benefits of any transformational new technology when a team of committed individuals ensures the timely implementation of the steps that lead to adoption. Roles and responsibilities have to be clearly defined and assigned.

The Responsibilities of a Change Manager

The goal of a change manager is simple: ensure all objectives of a change initiative are realized. The candidate may come from any department within your company: IT, human resources, marketing, finance, etc., although companies with data regulatory compliance concerns should recruit at least one person from the legal and finance departments.

This is just a framework. The size and needs of your company will determine the number of change managers and their allocated roles. It's possible you will only need one manager and that roles may overlap.

Organizational change management involves helping employees to break old habits and to develop more productive ones. This involves taking and measuring several steps along the way. Essential steps would include:

These are challenging tasks. A good change manager ensures that all the tasks are correctly executed and closely monitored. To find a manager, look in every department of your company. Before you start your search, however, spend some time determining what qualifications the candidate will need and write out a description of the roles you will expect people to take. 

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Search For Applicable Skills

Not everyone in your company is qualified to play the role of change manager. You should go for candidates who bear most of the following key qualifications.

  • Do they have some level of authority or clout in the organization?
  • Can they allocate at least 60 minutes per week to the adoption campaigns?
  • Do they have good knowledge of the platform's capabilities, the challenges facing the workforce, and the business objectives to be attained?
  • Are they able to answer important questions and provide guidance to end-users?
  • Can they make timely and well-informed decisions?

It's possible you may not find a single colleague with all these basic attributes. In that case, recruit two or three change managers and combine their talents.

Learning Opportunities

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Match Skills to Key Change Management Roles

After you find the right people and build a team, allocate roles and responsibilities. Some key roles to allocate may include:

  1. Planning the rollout, scheduling adoption programs, tracking user activities and reviewing progress.
  2. Making heavy use of relevant features of the platforms in both real and fictional scenarios and recording the experiences to be used as demos.
  3. Demonstrating how end-users can solve both individual and business problems using the platforms.

In other words, the role of change managers is to ensure success — to oversee the deployment of different campaigns that bring organizational change and lead to sustainable SharePoint and Office 365 adoption. 

If you cannot find available and good candidates within your organization, you may need to bring in outside help. Look for experts who can deliver service on pay-as-you-go basis instead of rigid lengthy contracts. Buying blocks of hours at a time gives you more control and flexibility. Many times, hiring an outsider can be the better option: you get a dedicated change manager who cannot be distracted by their other responsibilities in the company.

Consider involving change managers from the beginning, in the development stages of your change management plan. This gives everyone the opportunity to get invested in the project.

SharePoint and Office adoption is a laborious initiative. To achieve your goals, make time to find your ideal change management team. 

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