#Microsoft365 This blog is all about the WHY. We know WHAT and HOW we do it – but have you figured out the WHY? Many adoption programs fail, because the motivation and outcome is focused on the tangible numbers. "We are doing this because we need more people to use the applications in Office 365 and we'll save money if we so and so, blah blah blah…."

This brings me to the topic of how people have different values at work than they do from their private lives. So many times over the last couple of years I've had people tell me: "Don't take it personal Trace, it's only business."

Wait…  what? I don't agree. I never will. I treat every person I work with the same as I would my friends, my family, my mother. If you want for your children or partner to be successful in life, exposed to creative environments where they can learn and excel – then you should be wanting the same for your employees or co-workers. Because, In the end….:

We're all just walking each other home.

This is me and one of my best friends slaving away in her restaurant in Lydenburg – Jam Jar. It's a really awesome place – if you're ever in the area (Mpumalanga, SA) – you need to make a stop. Our friendship so reminded me of this quote (and inspired this blog).

In walking each other home I mean that we're here to help each other. Whether it is through product or service, business or personal. 

This belief of mine lead to my business (and personal)  Mission Statement:

Facilitating the evolution of human capabilities.

This is the only thing that matters to me. Helping people. And that's why Microsoft's mission SO resonates with me.

“Our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

How could I not endorse this – and associate myself with a company that is willing this change in the world? #GoosebumpStuff. Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella says:

It’s better to be a ‘learn-it-all’ than a ‘know-it-all’.

And THAT'S what inspires me to do crazy challenges like this. I am trying to learn as much as I can, while at the same time sharing it for others to learn.

I also help companies with their Office 365 roadmaps and every single time my message is the same. If you focus on the product – you won't be successful. You need to focus on the people (create the awareness / need) – then introduce the product (apps / services as solution) to help them. If you're asking about user adoption because you need to 'get a return on your investment' or 'consumption of licenses' you're missing the point cupcake.

So how do we change a product-focused culture to start focusing on people?

Digital Literacy

Have a look at a recent article I wrote for DIWUG on Digital Literacy. If you need a starting point – this is it. We urgently need to take a step back and fix the foundation. BEFORE we start adding new apps and services for users to work with. Users that are equip with all the necessary digital skills will not only be prepared for the 'digital future', but also more susceptible to change and open to adopt new technology. THIS HELPS IN CHANGING PEOPLE INTO SELF-LEARNERS. In this article I took the 8 pillars of digital literacy and mapped them back to Office 365 technology. This really helps to tie benefit back to available products.

Example:  The WHY we do it will be to help people be more creative, the WHAT is using Sway, PowerPoint, Video, Stream etc., the HOW is your Office 365 / Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Change Management & Training.


With technology changing so fast we simply cannot train everyone, every time something new comes past. This is why self-learning is so important to me. If we can break down that fear people have of their computers and systems, we create an environment where users are curios and prepared to try new things.

Learning through sharing.

Alistair Pugin shared this little gem with me, with regards to the South African Community – "Learning through Sharing". It's always stuck with me. We learn by sharing with others. This got me thinking about how we share knowledge in companies, and how we encourage others to do so. It's human to be afraid of speaking up, we're all just scared of failing or being found "not good enough". Changing this culture could be quite mechanical at first.

By mechanical I mean that you might have to put some systems and processes in place to start the sharing of knowledge. For example:  If you create a portal where end users can post tips and tricks on Microsoft Office, they will be resistant at first. Once the first person posts something, the rest will be less afraid to do so.

How would we do this? Get a schedule up, identify 4 or 5 power users in different apps / programs. Decide on some topics to post on and get it started. Believe me – as soon as a couple of people start responding by liking or giving feedback, the original author will be eager to post again (without a schedule).

Now this is going to sound terrible – but believe me it works. Ask a couple of managers to give feedback or like these posts. It might be on schedule, but as soon as the awareness is created – this will become more 'natural'. Remember you have to strike a match to start a fire – they don't just start on their own – well not in change management haha 🙂


I love the idea of using Communication Sites for this purpose, see Joanne Klein's recent post – O365 Adoption: Much more than training

By provisioning a SharePoint Communication site as an O365 Adoption Portal and sharing employee success stories front and centre on either the Hero web part and/or a News web part you give a glimpse of this success to the entire organization. – Joanne Klein

This brings me to Braam. Yes, he's a sheep. I took him with on my recent Frankfurt, Croatia, Monaco trip – we had loads of fun and I was pleasantly surprised by his popularity 🙂

After our return Braam called me aside and shared with me that he would like to learn more about Microsof 365 (Ofice 365). #AskBraam was born.

Feel free to #AskBraam if you have questions or would like me to write about a specific topic. I’ve created a Flow to monitor Twitter for the #AskBraam hashtag and will try my best to incorporate any questions into the blogs, or answer them directly on Twitter. This will help Braam to learn firsthand via the questions posted.

Think about using this idea in your company to create awareness and have some fun at the same time.

Purpose of this blog challenge:
I will write 365 blogs over the next 365 days around Microsoft 365. I did a similar challenge with Office 365, blogs can be found here. I won’t just be talking about the new Microsoft 365 subscription model. I will be sharing any news, tips and tricks around Office / Office 365 / Windows / Mobility and Security. And let’s not forget all the great new Apps & services available.  A lot of what I’ll share on Office and SharePoint will also be applicable to none “Office 365” versions.