Enhancing Your Managed Microsoft 365 Service with Microsoft 365 User Training
Part 3 in the blog series “The Business Case for MSPs Offering Employee Training and Enablement”
The work involved in managing your customer’s Microsoft 365 instance lacks visibility to create perceived value. Learn how User Training creates visibility and increases the value of your service.
With over 320 million active daily users, Microsoft 365 is no doubt a likely and important part of your customer’s operations. And, with that reliance on the world’s leading digital workspace comes the need to ensure your customer’s employees can access the platform; leverage mobile, endpoint, and web-based applications; and utilize company data. That’s why about 83% of MSPs already offer Managed Microsoft 365 services, according to Datto’s Global State of the MSP report. If you’re one of them, you probably offer some of the following specific services as part of your offering:
- Migration – The first step is to help move your customer from on-premises solutions or from another cloud solution to Microsoft 365.
- Installation / Implementation – Both mobile and endpoint-based applications need to be installed and configured.
- Support – You’re trusted to help address ongoing issues with applications, access, and errors.
- License Management – Ensuring proper utilization of and spending on licenses falls to you.
- Backups – Protecting the data within Microsoft 365 is the responsibility of the tenant (your customer) which then becomes the MSP’s responsibility.
- Updates – Patching applications for feature updates and security concerns alike is a necessary ongoing need.
- Customized Solutions – There may be a need for helping customers create more custom ways of working through third-party applications that integrate with Teams, using the Power Platform for no-code automation, etc.
It’s a multi-faceted mix of tasks that, in total, make up the managed offering. But is that the value your customer sees in this service?
Managed Microsoft 365: What You’re Really Selling
As with any investment your customer makes, the value they perceive they get from Microsoft 365 is found in its adoption. While all the tasks above are important as part of a managed offering, the real metric is found in employees using the platform to its fullest potential. That’s actually what you’re selling; it’s not license management or answering support calls—it’s how your work enables their business to leverage Microsoft 365 day in and day out.
So, what you’re really selling is a service that assists in accomplishing the following goals for your customers using Microsoft 365:
- Better Efficiency Through the Use of Applications – Microsoft 365 is a crafted selection of applications designed to enable a business to accomplish their tasks. Your customer wants you to ensure they are using the right tool (read: application) for the job, even as their needs change.
- Improved Collaboration and Communication – This is a staple for Microsoft 365. Products like Teams are designed from the ground up to enable employees to collaborate with one another, which empowers a workforce regardless of whether it’s purely remote, on-premises, or hybrid in nature. Customers want you to make certain they are taking advantage of every new feature that enables the workforce.
- Increase Productivity – Whether it’s simply a calculation in Excel or advanced business process automation using the Power Platform, your customer looks to you to be the expert in helping them evolve their business using Microsoft 365.
- Data Management and Security – This somewhat relates to both cybersecurity (from a data access perspective) and business continuity (from a backups perspective). Your customer is trusting you to create an environment where data is secure and appropriately accessed.
- Cost Optimization – Your customer is less concerned about you performing the task of issuing a license to an employee and is more focused on whether the spend for the licenses aligns with the actual needs of the employees.
But all the above are accomplished (and, therefore, your customer sees value in your service) if and only if employees both adopt Microsoft 365 AND continually use more of it.
The only way you can help influence these outcomes is to help employees continually and, more importantly, contextually learn how to use the platform over time. To achieve this, your managed service also needs to offer Microsoft 365 end-user training.
Microsoft 365 User Training: Adding Value to Your Managed Service
Your Managed service is one that really only exists “under the hood”—that is, your customer never sees you backing up data or assigning a license. Adding Training to your service both creates visibility for the customer who can see the improvements in their employees’ use of Microsoft 365, while also associating value with your service, because it’s a tangible aspect of your managed service.
At a minimum, your training should include:
- Microsoft 365 Core Apps – For those customers utilizing E1 licenses, training on the web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
- Microsoft 365 Cloud Apps – Additional apps including SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Power BI, Microsoft Dynamics 365, PowerApps, Delve, Sway, and more.
- Microsoft Teams – Collaboration is a key part of the suite. This training should include using the app, all things related to Meetings, Teams Calling, and use of the Teams Mobile app.
- Desktop Office Apps – This includes training for the downloadable versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
- Windows – Your customer’s employees may not be able to tell when a problem stops with the usability of the operating system and starts with Microsoft 365. This training should include some of the basics of how to use Windows, the Microsoft Edge browser, and even Surface devices.
There are a few ways this benefits you as an MSP:
It's Pertinent to the Employee
Your customers that are using Microsoft 365 are relying on it to be *the* means by which their business creates, collaborates, meets, automates, and analyzes. Having training that aligns with the employee’s work means the difference between an organization heavily invested in Microsoft 365 that achieves those goals previously mentioned, and one that isn’t.
It Drives Adoption
The more a customer’s employees can solve their work-related problem with a Microsoft 365 application, the more invested they are in both using the platform to perform that same action, as well as to find ways to solve their other problems within Microsoft 365. Training helps to facilitate a better understanding of how to accomplish tasks related to the employee’s job function. In the end, you have a customer that has more heavily adopted Microsoft 365.
If you want to both establish an adoption baseline prior to offering training and then one after having training in place for a period of time, you can use the Microsoft 365 Adoption Score tool.
It Reduces Helpdesk Calls
An employee is having an issue with printing. They could call the helpdesk, or they could already know how to find the print queue for that printer and solve their issue themselves. Having an employee base properly trained on Microsoft 365 means less issues that can be self-serviced resulting in a lowered number of calls to the helpdesk (which, in turn, increases your profitability!).
It Demonstrates Value to Your Customer
Your customer only cares about the goals previously mentioned, so that’s what they’re going to be looking for and (if possible) measuring. That means your managed service is being measured far differently than just a list of tasks you’ve accomplished so many times within a month or quarter. In order to demonstrate value, your Managed Microsoft 365 service also needs to include User Training that teaches employees how to accomplish the tasks they need to be successful within Microsoft 365.
It's Just One Part of a Larger Training Offering
If you buy into the value of offering Microsoft 365 User Training, but stop there, you’re missing an opportunity to enhance a number of your service offerings and add on additional recurring and project revenues. By implementing the Microsoft 365 User Training as part of a larger Employee Training and Enablement platform that includes other types of training (such as Security Awareness Training), you elevate not just one service, but many of them, further adding value to your customer’s business.
Add Value to “Managed” with Microsoft 365 User Training
The bottom line with any service you offer is that your customer wants to see you investing in their success. Their employees aren’t the expert on how to use all of the apps provided within Microsoft 365 and—somehow—that falls to you as their trusted advisor to assist. And, you have a vested interest in helping their employees improve their Microsoft 365 skills, as it equates to more reliance on the platform and, therefore, more stability in the subscription to the managed service.
But with so much of the work involved in a Managed Microsoft 365 offering being accomplished behind the scenes, it’s necessary to incorporate a visible aspect of the service that works to improve your customer’s operations in a tangible way to your customer.
By adding Microsoft 365 User Training to your managed service, you enable employees, improve operations, decrease support costs, and improve visibility into the value of the overall offering.
In the next blog in this series, “The Business Case for MSPs Offering Employee Training and Enablement,” we’ll focus on how Custom Training can be used to increase your customers’ reliance on your business while increasing the value of your services.