Lesson 2: IT support are not experts on M365 applications enabled

I have been consulting solely on Microsoft 365 technology for just over a decade. I reflected on this recently and realised I have engaged with over 80 clients. This is a 6 part series diving into some consistent themes from engaging across many organisations and industries.

This lesson is focused on experiences I see in organisations with the ongoing change in Microsoft technology and the capability of their IT Support/ Service Desk staff.

I often feel for the staff in IT support roles.
To be honest, I think it is much easier now. Go back 5 years and the concept of a cloud library or co-authoring was alien to people.

While many employees are more comfortable with modern technology, and I am thankful personal google drives or social media have helped, there is still a gap and at times challenges with the knowledge of IT support versus how employees use tools.

A quick example – OneNote

Recently some employees at a client were told by their IT support “not many people use OneNote, so we cannot support and solve issues”. Essentially, they were told that there wasn’t a big enough need so no IT support staff had been equipped to help in that area. This blew my mind because OneNote has been around for a long time and it also showed how out of touch they were with the number of employees who use the application.
So, it was not only a shame staff couldn’t get help with the OneNote but also such a lack of understanding of employee needs assuming the application was unused and not a priority.

Another example – Microsoft Teams

Unless IT support are using Microsoft Teams as a true collaboration hub, they can be behind the business in understanding what is possible.
It can be common that IT use other software for logging tickets, completing jobs and communicating. This takes them further away from all that is possible in Microsoft Teams.

If you have a project team, for example, who dive into Teams for task management, sharing notebooks for notes and information, and perhaps using the channel library for documents, you can quickly find use cases and then issues that fall outside of IT support knowledge and expertise. And this isn’t complex use of Teams. When staff move to more deeper use cases they run the risk of no guidance or support.

Is the platform really that complex?

Would your IT support really understand the different between a site, group, or team?

And what about what happens when you create a Plan? Or a Team? What is created in the back-end?

Users can come up against issues and obstacles in the platform that they need IT to have expertise to help navigate and it can often be a black hole.
I see many IT staff who are not aware of foundation Microsoft Teams features, assuming they can pick up a tool and don’t need training but then lack knowledge of broad features.

Another challenge is IT support are not great at speaking at the right level to staff. If someone’s OneDrive Sync is not working, think about what that staff member will call IT and say. Most likely, not a clear direct statement such as “OneDrive isn’t syncing”. Knowing how the tools will be used, what could go wrong and the experience of staff is crucial for driving deeper value and use from the products. Without adequate support use cannot grow.

Please note I am not blaming IT or trying to criticise people in those roles, more so calling out that I feel for them. It must be hard in a role where you are busy, don’t have time to go deep into the apps and services and that it is always changing.

This needs to be addressed for staff skills to grow and valuable organisation innovation with the M365 platform.

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