Tasked with promoting Office 365? Microsoft has a website for you

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Aware that the “if you build it, they will come” principle doesn’t always apply to newly deployed IT systems, Microsoft has developed a website to help companies promote Office 365 usage among employees.

The optimistically titled Office 365 Customer Success Center is aimed at the designated “champions” within businesses entrusted with driving adoption of the suite. It’s public and freely available.

“To really get the most out of an investment in a new technology, you have to help people understand what they can do with it,” Jared Spataro, general manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

Obviously, Microsoft also has a vested interest in making sure that, after the ink dries on the Office 365 sales contract, the suite gets used heavily and for more than the basics of email and calendaring.

In its most expensive bundles, Office 365 includes not only Exchange Online but also SharePoint Online, Lync Online, OneDrive, Yammer, Office Online and the right to download the full-featured Office productivity apps to users’ devices, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project and Access.

Office 365 is sold via a per-user, per-year subscription model. So if, when renewal time rolls around, CIOs feel they’re paying for a fully stocked version of the product that is getting under-used by their employees, they’re likely to decide to downgrade to a less expensive edition or to move to a cheaper alternative, such as Google Apps.

The risk of lax adoption is especially high in cases where the customer migrated from a non-Microsoft system, since employees will be facing a steep learning curve as they start using Exchange, Outlook and the other tools for the first time.

The Office 365 Customer Success Center provides documents, templates, methodologies, discussion forums and other resources to help companies create awareness of the different Office 365 applications and of how they work.

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