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Preparing your organization for a seamless Office 365 ProPlus 2016 deployment

Preparing your organization for a seamless Office 365 ProPlus 2016 deployment

Microsoft has gained much insight from deploying the suite of Office applications to a globally diverse and highly mobile workforce over the years. Successfully transitioning to the latest business software requires that organizations plan ahead with thoughtful and proactive communications, deploy the upgrade with expertise and speed, and support employees with post-deployment training and materials so everyone is productive from day one. The good news is Microsoft IT is here to help.

Microsoft IT used the materials in this program to support the Office 365 ProPlus 2016 deployment to its entire workforce within the Microsoft global enterprise. Now, you can use them to facilitate employee adoption, promote best practices, and ensure a direct path to productivity with the best Office suite ever.

Team meeting


Readiness and communication

When rolling out new software, you can never be too prepared. Microsoft IT is committed to delivering exceptional experiences and driving early adoption. The practice of amplifying the right messages through the right channels at the right time is key to driving awareness and inspiring action to empower employees to stay productive.

We strive to:

  • Reach out to employees early in the planning process using direct language that deliberately avoids technical jargon to convey a friendly, inviting, and aspirational tone.
  • Use this opportunity to build excitement while educating employees on new features and how they will benefit from the capabilities.
  • Briefly describe what to expect before and after new software is installed, while providing opportunities to seek out more details.
  • Make sure internal help desk support is prepared for any anticipated increase in calls.
  • Proactively address potential post-deployment issues by providing helpful resources before the deployment begins.

The sample materials below supported the “Plan” stage of the Office 2016 deployment at Microsoft. You can customize these materials to support your organization’s upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus 2016.

Featured content
A man and woman discussing.

Timelines and schedules

Microsoft IT mapped out timelines and work-back schedules to provide a solid framework for executing against key milestones. Plans covering readiness communications as well as the actual deployment effort ensured alignment and helped to facilitate adjustments as challenges were encountered.

Forward Icon   Readiness communications schedule

Forward Icon   Deployment timeline

A team meeting

Digital promotions

Digital promotions on the Microsoft intranet, digital office signage, and internal social media channels were developed to excite employees and direct them to additional information about the upgrade experience.

Forward Icon   Digital display units

Forward Icon   Intranet web banner units

Forward Icon   Internal social media units

A man working on a laptop.


Microsoft IT sent emails to set employee expectations and ensure successful device upgrades. The first was a company-wide announcement highlighting the deployment process and new features in the upcoming release. The second was personalized for each individual and included critical information about that employee’s device, dates for self-driven upgrades, and deadlines after which the device would perform an automatic mandatory upgrade.

Forward Icon   Overview email (all company announcement)

Forward Icon   Personalized email (details specific to individuals)

A man working on Laptop.

Intranet content

The Microsoft intranet hosted a series of webpages about Office 2016 to serve as the comprehensive source for information relevant to the employee upgrade, including:

Forward Icon   Get Office 2016

Forward Icon   Key features

Forward Icon   Application compatibility

Forward Icon   FAQs

Forward Icon   Known issues

Forward Icon   Feedback and support

Two women working on a laptop


Technical reference and documentation

IT technical decision makers have a lot to consider when planning updates, deployments, and migrations. The professionals within Microsoft IT used their wealth of experience from deploying earlier versions of Office to carefully plan and execute the deployment of Office 365 across the Microsoft enterprise.

Specifically, Microsoft IT configured automatic updates for more than 120,000 on-site and remote users globally. Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and update channels made this complex, system-wide project easier. Microsoft IT used the update channels function, now available for Office 365, to specify the cadence for ongoing Office updates and tailor the schedule for each users’ business needs. As a result, the Microsoft workforce enjoyed one of the smoothest upgrade experiences ever.

The technical resources available below detail best practices that Microsoft IT uses to prepare, migrate, update, manage, and deploy Office technologies in a global enterprise. These resources describe implementation strategies and lessons learned for a variety of Office 365 for enterprises products including Skype for Business Online, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Office 365.

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Deploying and updating Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus
Jun 28, 2016 | 

In this technical case study, we share how Microsoft IT automated upgrades to Office 365 ProPlus with System Center Configuration Manager for a smooth upgrade experience across the company.

Automating licensing for Office 365 in a hybrid environment
Mar 24, 2016 | 

Find out how Microsoft IT built an automation service to manage Microsoft Office 365 licenses in a hybrid environment.

Optimizing network performance for Microsoft Office 365
Aug 28, 2015 | 

Discover how Microsoft IT optimized network capacity and performance with strategic plans for its network when deploying Microsoft Office 365.

Improving service quality in Skype for Business
Jun 24, 2016 | 

Microsoft IT shares best practices for deploying Skype for Business, including how to manage a complex network, accommodate remote clients, and run unified communications in a hybrid cloud environment.

SharePoint to the cloud—learn how Microsoft ran its own migration
Mar 23, 2016 | 

Migrating to SharePoint Online required careful planning and evaluation of existing Microsoft sites. Learn about the strategies Microsoft IT used to move 185,000 internal sites and portals to the cloud.

Microsoft IT shares insights about moving to the cloud
Sep 15, 2016 | 

Read about the key considerations Microsoft IT had when we approached our own migration to the cloud.

Microsoft IT migrates 150,000 mailboxes to Exchange Online
Sep 15, 2016 | 

Learn how Microsoft IT migrated over 150,000 mailboxes in our complex global environment to Microsoft Exchange Online.

Automation and update channels help deploy Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus
Sep 09, 2016 | 

Listen in as Steve Reay, Senior Program Manager, shares how Microsoft IT approached the upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus, including key considerations for planning a deployment and how to use update channels for ongoing Office updates.

Two men and a woman discussing over a laptop.


Post-deployment productivity

Microsoft hosts an internal readiness program that provides comprehensive guidance on how to best use corporate technologies and services. Whether they're at the office, in the cloud, or on their favorite mobile devices, employees have the freedom to learn about the latest technology tools on their own terms.

To expedite employee productivity after the Office 365 ProPlus 2016 deployment across Microsoft, the team developed a wealth of productivity guides focused on the new software, along with in-depth guidance on many of the new features including Tell Me—a more intuitive Backstage, Smart Lookup, Morph, business intelligence enhancements, and more.

These customizable guides can be used to enhance adoption and productivity among your own workforce on day one.

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What’s new in Microsoft Office 2016
Nov 01, 2016 | 

Office 2016 helps you do your best work—anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Modern versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access are built for maximum productivity. Create professional documents with rich authoring features and use intuitive tools to make the most of your data. Store documents in the cloud, and then share, present, and work as a team with built-in collaboration tools across the suite. And don’t forget: Office 2016 is available whether you use Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android devices.

Be productive anywhere with Microsoft Office 365
Nov 01, 2016 | 

You are busy and need to be productive whether you are at your office, on the road, or at home. By installing Microsoft Office 365 on your Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device, you can keep up with your email and calendar, and work on documents wherever you are. With your Office 365 account, your documents, preferences, and other settings follow you across the PCs, tablets, smartphones, and even web browsers that you use. So you can pick up right where you left off, anytime and anywhere.

Managing your email and calendar on the go with Outlook 2016
Nov 01, 2016 | 

Use Microsoft Outlook 2016 to keep your world in sync and stay more connected. Outlook helps you manage everything you do, no matter where you are. Get your email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and to-do lists all in one place. Because Outlook is built into Microsoft Office 365, you can sign in from any browser and use it on Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android devices.

Getting started with Word 2016
Nov 01, 2016 | 

Microsoft Word 2016 is a modern version of the classic desktop application, built for maximum productivity. Quickly produce professional documents using rich authoring features. Share, present, and work together on projects with built-in collaboration tools. Whether you work on a Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device, you can access your documents in the cloud whenever and wherever you need them.

Getting started with Excel 2016
Nov 01, 2016 | 

With new chart types and improvements to PivotTables, Excel 2016 makes it easier to work with a large amount of data and give it even more meaning. Organize, view, and analyze your data in spreadsheets to better inform your decisions. Save your workbooks in the cloud and collaborate with others. With Microsoft Office 365, you can use Excel on your PC or Mac, as well as on your Windows, iOS, or Android device, staying productive whether you are at work, at home, or on the go.

Create dynamic presentations with PowerPoint 2016
Nov 01, 2016 | 

With PowerPoint 2016 you can create, share, and co-author dynamic presentations on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices like never before. With new features—including modern chart types, screen recordings, and the Microsoft Office Mix add-in with enhanced screen recording functionality—PowerPoint 2016 allows you to bring your presentations, slideshows, and training sessions to a whole new level.

Building an online training session in Office Mix for PowerPoint
Jul 05, 2016 | 

Introduce your staff to Office Mix, a free add-in for PowerPoint in Microsoft Office 365, which enables them to turn presentations into interactive training sessions.

Go paperless with OneNote 2016
Nov 01, 2016 | 

OneNote 2016 makes your paper notebooks, index cards, and sticky notes obsolete, taming the “paper jungle” and making note-taking a paperless activity. It is the perfect solution for creating, organizing, and searching online notes. And if you store your OneNote notebooks in the cloud, you can easily share them with your colleagues or collaborate with your team. Whether you work on a Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android device, you can sign in to Microsoft Office 365 and access your online notebooks from anywhere, at any time.

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