So... you are thinking about engaging Adopt & Embrace
First of all -- thank you for taking an active interest in our business and the outcomes we can help you achieve. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions we hear in the lead up to, and during our first engagement with our customers:
Getting to know us...
- So... what is the Adopt & Embrace story?
We are here to help organisations across Australia and New Zealand create more inclusive modern workplaces... leveraging the technology they have in front of them.
Founded in 2015, we are unique in the Microsoft partner eco-system... in the sense that we don't sell, nor do we develop or deploy technology. Instead, we focus on the people side of the equation.
Our projects and success programs ask a simple question... how can we help individuals, teams, departments and organisations improve the way they work, achieve their personal and professional goals, and ultimately deliver better outcomes for their customers?
To do this we work hand in hand with our customers to develop adoption strategy; plan for organisational change; and execute compelling communication, learning, and coaching experiences. Most importantly, measure the impact of our work, to demonstrate real impact.
Practically, we blend our experience across Learning & Development, Organisational Change Management, Internal Communication, Instructor Led Training, 1:1 and small group coaching... with a very unhealthy, almost unnatural curiosity and knowledge of the tools you already have in your business... specifically:
- Microsoft 365 (Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10);
- Including (in no particular order) SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Teams, Yammer, Office Professional Plus, Planner, Stream, OneNote, Flow, PowerApps, Delve.
- What is your "why"? What are your values?
(to be honest no one has straight out asked us "so what is your why? what are your values" -- but we feel it is important to share with you nonetheless!)
For decades' organisations, have put too much emphasis on technology, and not enough on the people who unlock value using it. People have been taken for granted for too long. We are here to fix that!
We don't have a nice, simple, inspirational poster of values. Instead we present our rambling list of what we believe.
- Work is a thing you do, not a place you go;
- Together is better than alone;
- Always challenging, experimenting, and learning;
- Science is better than anecdotes... but science COMBINED with stories is the best;
- Long term partnerships are better than short term projects;
- Small problems solved early is better than large problems that are out of control;
- Do, document, reflect, improve... then automate;
- Over communication is better than little communication;
- Who have Adopt & Embrace worked with before?
We are proud to have worked with businesses with just 1 employee, through to organisations of over 70,000 people. From 3km inside an underground gold mine in Western Australia, to some of the most pristine alpine views New Zealand has on offer, our team have had the honour of working with some great organisations!
As of August 2017:
- Two of the Fortune 500;
- Eight of the ASX/S&P 200;
- Three of Australia's 40 Universities (including one of the Group of Eight);
- Ten of Australia & New Zealand's most progressive local governments;
- dozens of other organisations across Manufacturing, Retail, Finance, Utilities, and Government;
- a one-person property developer who helps one of Australia's leading vet practices grow across Australia
- What do your customers say?
Really nice things! But seriously what we also like about our customers is that they engage with us in a dialogue that is constructive and focused on win-win-win outcomes for us, them, and their people. You can see some examples of, and links to testimonials and case studies on the front page of our website.
The "Business Case" for engaging us...
- Why is adoption important?
This one is really simple - it is best framed paraphrasing a couple of questions that our friends at Prosci use regularly to demonstrate the value of change management...
"How are you measuring the success of your project?"
"What percentage of the benefits of your project rely on people changing the way they work?"
Our customers regularly remark that the technology part of the equation is relatively easy, convincing a team, a department or an entire organisation to leave behind years, sometimes decades of work practice is really... really hard.
Helping people to adopt & embrace a technology, or changing a work practice, or introducing completely new work styles isn't about just "training them on the new things"... there are some complex work and identity challenges that your people will progress through on their own individual change journey. We help organisations do just that!
- We have our own internal change team / communications team / training team / coaches, why do we need you?
Awesome! We love change people (they are our kindred spirits!).
If your change team have the skills, experience, domain expertise in Microsoft collaboration technologies, understand the new work practices you are asking them to help change manage... and most importantly enough time to actually plan and execute the program -- then you should absolutely use your internal resources. In fact, we would encourage it (we don't want to be doing work that others in your organisation are paid for!).
That being said, we regularly work with organisations that have their own internal change, communication, training or coaching teams. Usually we fit in nicely because:
- your internal resources are overworked because of other significant changes happening in your organisation (mergers, acquisitions, re-orgs);
- they are resistant to working on the project (ironic for a change manager!) because they are not comfortable or confident with the technology aspect of the change
- they are keen, but would love to shadow the Adopt & Embrace team to build their confidence and your organisational capability in sustaining adoption long term.
- We have been talking to Microsoft Consulting Services and their Global Adoption and Change Management Practice... how are you different?
About half the price :) To be fair though, the team at MCS that we know would be transparent and tell you they are double our price too!
MCS and A&E have a good working relationship - in fact Adopt & Embrace is one of the first Microsoft Services Adoption and Change Management partners worldwide - a program that enables Adopt & Embrace to use both Prosci and Microsoft Consulting Services intellectual property to help deliver great outcomes for our customers.
Recently we shared the stage at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (Microsoft Inspire) to share war stories as to why Adoption & Change Management is important for technologies like Office 365.
Whilst there is some overlap in our offerings (a consequence of using licensing and using some of their IP), generally we don't compete in the same space. Our practical focus also means that beyond strategy and planning, our team can help you execute your adoption and change management program and ultimately help you build the more inclusive modern workplace you seek.
Getting to know our work...
- Why do you lead with people, instead of technology?
Because if we led with technology, we would still be explaining the 3500 different buttons you could press in Microsoft Office, or what the difference is between a site and a site collection in SharePoint.
And... generally we would be putting most of your people to sleep.
Instead, we like to think about your workforce, their work, and the most time consuming, frustrating things they do every day. Maybe its too many meetings. Maybe they feel overwhelmed because they can't find anything. Maybe they just want their lunch break back. Starting with your people enables us to develop strategy, plans, and success programs that help them overcome roadblocks, or take advantage of opportunities that are in front of them every day.
Quick wins. Regular progress. Lots of smiling faces. As a worker at one of our customers said recently 'this is the best thing that any IT team has ever done in my entire career". We let the IT team claim the glory!
- What tactics do you use to engage with our people?
The specific tactics will vary depending on your context and the stage of our engagement.
For example, if we are in the middle of workforce analysis to identify the priority personas and use cases/scenarios for your organisation, the tactics we use will be different than those we use when deep in execution mode of your master adoption plan.
Both our tactics and the people in our team who execute them will vary throughout our partnership together - ensuring that we are doing the right work with the right people at all times.
Our kit bag generally includes activities like:
- document discovery;
- group based workshops;
- 1:1 interviews (face to face, and via Skype for Business Video);
- group presentations;
- instructor led training;
- discussion at team meetings;
- pop-up / drop in events;
- all hands meetings (in person and streamed using Skype for Business Meeting Broadcast);
- Yammer groups;
- the Adopt & Embrace Adoption Portal (self-service resources);
- Azure Cognitive Services... specifically:
- Text Analysis - for sentiment and Key Phrases;
- QnA Maker - for interactive FAQs;
- Linguistic Analysis - for sentence breakdown and structure;
- PowerBI Dashboards;
- and a few more
- What do your deliverables look like?
As an example, our most comprehensive deliverable - a Master Adoption Plan - is delivered as a PowerPoint *.pptx file and generally ranges between 150 and 200 slides - depending on the complexity of your environment, the number of personas and use cases we look at including in scope etc.
On the other end of the spectrum, many of our engagements simply end with a "Project Wrap-Up" email where we recap what we were engaged to deliver, what we delivered, and what we learned together during the project.
- How often can we expect you to be on site?
The short answer is as little as practically possible.
The long answer is that we use technology like Skype for Business Video conferencing, Yammer Groups and more to remain connected during the entire project or program. This enables us to maximise our impact when we are on site. There are some activities that don't lend well to being conducted remotely (like key VIP stakeholder roundtables).
We don't want to use your valuable real estate (and emit CO2 into the atmosphere traveling to be on site) when there is no practical need for us to be there either.
What we will do though is make it crystal clear when you can expect us to be on site with you during the engagement to make the most of that face time together.
- What do you expect from us when you are delivering this engagement?
The best relationships we have are when everyone is aligned on achieving the same, shared outcome.
Beyond alignment - a lot of our work requires your local knowledge. Your support in helping us identify participants, understand your unique language, introducing us to the right stakeholders, booking the right venues, and recommending the best burger/gluten free options nearby (depending on who in our team is working with you) is greatly appreciated. Some customers nominate one person to fulfil this role of the linchpin or connector.
We generally share our deliverables with you as they are developed. To help us along the way, your quick, concise and constructive feedback will help us ensure that we hit the mark with your key stakeholders.
How do we transact...
- What are your standard financial terms
As we are a small business, cash flow is important to us (just like it is for your business!). With that in mind we have the following approach to payment terms:
- Engagements that are less than a total of $10k = payment up front prior to commencement of engagement;
- Engagements that are between $10k and $150k = 50% payment up front, 50% on completion of the agreed scope of work. Payment is expected within 7 day terms;
- Engagements > $150k + or bespoke in nature. Negotiated in a spirit of sustainable cash flow for all involved;
- Can we buy your services through one of our existing vendors or suppliers?
Yes! Some of our customers would prefer to keep their supplier list small - so we regularly work with other organisations (usually incumbent technology providers) to transact our services.
This includes, but is not limited to: