Three Steps to Maintain a Successful Microsoft 365 Evergreen Framework 2/2

In part one of our Evergreen blog series, we made the case for why you should establish an evergreen framework to manage Microsoft 365. Our second instalment covers how to do this and the next steps to consider when establishing an evergreen framework.

Step 1: Expand who can view the updates and notifications

First, (and most importantly) you’ll need visibility on what changes and updates are coming to M365. The message centre, accessed via the M365 admin centre, is the source of truth for all updates and impacts. But typically, this information doesn’t get distributed past an IT administrator as permission to access admin reporting is limited. But there are ways to get around this and to help raise visibility of what’s coming on the roadmap. For example, you could:

Sync with Planner

A quick and simple way to share updates and notifications is by using the ‘sync with planner’ option from the O365 Admin portal. This allows you to highlight the upcoming changes with other relevant stakeholders in your business (e.g. change managers, product owners, communications team etc) so that you can manage and prioritise communications to your staff.  

Message centre API

If you’re looking for a more sophisticated option, the Office 365 Service Communications API allows you to directly connect information from the message centre and surface it in other applications across Microsoft 365. This opens up a number of possibilities including integrating the updates with a SharePoint list, PowerApp, Teams App or Power Bi dashboard.

Screenshots from our evergreen report PowerBI dashboard

Step 2: Assess the updates

Visibility of Microsoft 365 updates is useful, but the real value comes from understanding the impacts and opportunity of each update. We recommend:

Establishing a committee (or partnering with us 😉) to help review each update and score it based on the risk and potential business value. Consider including:

  • Product owner(s) of M365 services
  • Change and adoption resourcing
  • Technical SMEs

Prioritising & scoring changes

  • Agree on a scoring matrix for future updates based on IT impact (how technical the change is does it require IT configuration), people impact (what change management need to be considered with the addition of the update) and business value (what valuable business scenarios does it open for you). At Engage Squared, we’ve developed a scoring matrix for our clients. If you would like to explore this further, please get in touch.

Sample scoring table from our evergreen report

Step 3: Test new features with champions

Once you have identified and prioritised your updates it’s good practice to test them with a champion audience or other early adopter network. This will help you identify use cases for the new feature (e.g. webinars could be used for town halls within your organisation) and who to target your communications to. It’s also a great way to keep your champions network engaged and gather feedback and interest from business stakeholders about what’s working well or not-so-well in M365.

Get in touch

An effective evergreen management model rests on successfully identifying risks before they reach end users. and unlocking the hidden potential of Microsoft 365. Contact us to learn more about adopting an evergreen framework.

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