Earlier this Summer, I was asked to present a “Lightening Talk” as part of the Microsoft 365 Global Virtual Community launch. My session focused on the top 5 emerging trends that I see when working with large enterprise customers and partners at the Boston, MA Microsoft Technology Center.

I decided to reflect back on my Cloud Adoption Journey blog series from 2+ years ago and look forward as COVID-19 has accelerated customer adoption of Microsoft/Office 365 and customers are rapidly moving forward into the “Realize Value” phase.

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Microsoft 365 Cloud Adoption Journey

Since my original talk in August 2020 (slides here), I have decided to begin a new blog series over the next few months focused on going deeper on each of these 5 areas and providing more specific examples, use cases, resources, and scenarios. …


A common customer scenario is assessing employee sentiment and driving engagement. Many companies (including Microsoft) regularly employ formal polls and surveys to ask employees for their feedback and ideas for continued improvement.

As more companies embrace Yammer for employee engagement and continuous bi-directional communications, customers have been asking for ways to dynamically report on and respond to both positive and negative comments.

This post summarizes some work that we recently completed to build out such a demonstration for the worldwide Microsoft Technology Centers to leverage with our customer engagements. The solution was built with no custom code and includes …

A “CEO Connection” Yammer group for employees to connect directly with the CEO and participate in town hall live events. …


Over the past few months, I have been writing about my experiences working with large enterprise customers at the Boston, MA Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) as part of their Cloud Adoption Journey.

During this time, I have also been reviewing this content with my Microsoft customers, partners, and peers across the world. As part of that work, I have created this high level overview image which reflects the following 3 common phases:

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Microsoft 365 Cloud Adoption Journey Summary

The MTCs (along with our partners) in the United States run many public workshops to enable our customers and partners to learn more and get hands on experience with Microsoft 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, and other technologies. …


This is the 4th post in my “Cloud Adoption Journey” blog series. In this post, we will explore “Phase 3 — Realizing Digital Transformation by Reinventing Business Processes.”

Once we have completed the core onboarding and setup the supporting infrastructure needed to migrate to Office 365, we can start accelerating the impact to the business. This phase is ongoing — there is never an end as our business needs continue to evolve and Microsoft continues to make new capabilities available. How fast each organization adopts and changes is often a factor of their culture, industry, and ability/willingness to change.

Change for the sake of change does not make sense. We need to focus on business goals and outcomes which map back to our broader vision and strategy. We also need to continue to revisit and revise our strategy on an ongoing basis. Office 365 is an “evergreen” service that is regularly being updated by Microsoft. Our business and our approach to implement these changes needs to continue to evolve and be agile. No longer should we have these massive technology projects that take years to complete. We need to think in terms of smaller releases — perhaps quarterly or monthly — where we can regularly demonstrate value to the business, get feedback, and continue to iterate. These more rapid iterations enable us to communicate and engage with the business more often and be more responsive to their needs. …


This is the 3rd post in my “Cloud Adoption Journey — Blog Series”

In this post, we will explore “Phase 2 — Implementing the Plumbing and Supporting Infrastructure” required to migrate to Office 365.

The typical steps involved in this phase include:

  1. Creating your Office 365 tenant. It is important that you name your tenant appropriately as the tenant name (e.g. the part before “.onmicrosoft.com”) cannot be changed currently and is shown to users in the URL of services that are built on top of SharePoint Online (e.g. OneDrive for Business).
  2. Establishing your identity management and single sign on strategy for Office 365. For most customers, this includes setting up directory synchronization. There are a variety of onboarding guides and resources here to help with preparing for directory synchronization (e.g. IDFix), setting up AAD Connect, and planning for how authentication will occur for Office 365 (most customers use Azure Active Directory directly or federated identities via Active Directory Federation Services — ADFS). …


This is the 2nd post in my “Cloud Adoption Journey — Blog Series”

In this post, we will go deeper on Phase 1 — Building the Vision and Business Case.

Key areas of consideration include:

  1. Creating the vision
  2. Assessing the financial costs and benefits
  3. The changing role of IT
  4. Driving the business forward

Creating the Vision

The start of any successful project is having executive sponsorship and a clear vision and roadmap that includes determining how we will measure success. Some common approaches and resources include:

  1. In my role at the Microsoft Technology Center, we often deliver Strategy Briefings and Architecture Design Sessions to help customers envision the “art of the possible” through a series of targeted presentations, demonstrations, whiteboard sessions, and discussions that map back to the customer’s industry, challenges, and unique needs. We then work with customers to prioritize their rollout schedule and develop an actionable plan for moving forward. …

During my nearly 10 years at Microsoft, I have been fortunate to work with many customers and partners to help them develop and execute on their vision to improve productivity; engage their employees; and better serve their customers, partners, and suppliers. For many, this has included moving critical IT functions and business processes into the cloud.

In my next few blog posts, I am going to explore some of the key trends and themes that I work closely with large commercial enterprises on in my role as a Modern Workplace Technical Architect at the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) in Boston, MA. …

About

Chris Bortlik (@cbortlik)

Works for Microsoft as a Principal Technical Architect at the MTC in Boston, MA. Author. Speaker. Blogger. Husband. Dad.

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