Today we meet:
Megan Strant: Principal Consultant - Adoption & Change Management
Time with Insync: February 2019
Previous notable time: 8 years in Office 365 project and change delivery
What are your best skills for your role?
I am a highly logical, strategic thinker who is very focused on the broad programmatic detail to bring themes and overarching messaging or identity to a technical program. I work to understand the jargon and low-level detail then simplify and translate it for the end-users. This translation helps create a bridge between IT and non- IT staff, and drives project success, ensuring all staff understand what is happening.
Interestingly the strengths I bring to my role are core traits of my autistic brain. I am a high-functioning autistic woman, also known as ‘having Aspergers’. This extreme logic and structure are ideal for the work I deliver. It is a natural habit to me, along with being very stable and disciplined in nature, because I can easily zero out emotion and go into periods of hyper-focus.
The other aspect I bring to my role is that I am very perceptive and good at gauging the needs of individuals or groups. As an autistic person I have been observing people my entire life, working out how best to communicate and understand. This transitions well into Change Management where I assess the needs and impact on people and create programs of work to support their needs as well as creating learning programs to suit a broad range of people and combat resistance.
What do you like about your role?
I love changing lives. It sounds grandiose, but realistically if I can help someone embed new habits and they stick, it leaves a permanent positive impact.
When we deliver new technology, or provide training to upskill, we focus on behaviours that are like building blocks in how people work. Staff use Office 365 applications and services across their entire working day, so to improve this ultimately makes their work life better.
My job gives me the opportunity to build the strategy to drive this change. I mix with people within each organisation to support them through the process and discuss their experiences. I am so passionate about helping people, I love that our work drives organisation gains whilst at the same time every individual is impacted in a positive way.
What trends are you seeing with customers?
Earlier in my career with Office 365, projects were focused on a single product launch or an exchange migration at the centre of a program. Many organisations we work with now have been in the Microsoft ecosystem for years. The ongoing need now is to drive employee confidence and satisfaction with the existing and emerging tools, improve processes and increase the ROI for that organisation.
Another trend I have seen increase in the last 12 months is companies pushing ‘self-learning’ of applications instead of providing adequate training programs. Essentially, they enable online learning and it is then up to employees to access and complete modules. This concerns me as I have seen data that shows staff don’t watch the content. At the same time, we see survey results showing dissatisfaction with the tools. This can result in negativity and low adoption. I think there is still a place for strong adoption campaigns and reinforcing content to really drive new ways of working whilst leveraging free Microsoft learning resources to reduce cost.
What do you think about the opportunity for Teams for customers?
Microsoft Teams is such exciting technology. It provides significant opportunity for improvement and greater efficiency in the workplace. I love that we have this hub of communication and collaboration that supports the needs of so many varying groups and industries. Even just the reduction in email from using Chat, or a Channel as a space to run and house meetings for a project or department is a major win.
Deploying Microsoft Teams as a modern workplace tool for staff can result in gaps in knowledge which needs to be addressed. People can realise they are not familiar enough with OneNote or the best way to share documents using links and -co-author online. What is great though is this app is driving a need to upskill in key areas and thus increasing adoption in the foundation concepts across Office 365. Prior to this, there was a set of apps we moved through in our day. I love how these now come together in a more complex way in Teams, pushing greater value and uptake.
Where have you used the Insync Core Values in everyday work life?
Two of the core values stand out equally to me. Firstly ‘make a call’ is crucial to my role every day. The challenge at times with change management is that, unlike a migration or technical configuration, there isn’t a black and white answer. I constantly have to review the data, needs, impact, possibilities and use my best judgement to decide on an approach. There are often many options and I must make the call on what I think will drive greatest success.
Second to this is that I don’t walk past a problem. I am constantly engaging with leaders or end-users who have confusion, challenges and need advice. I don’t always have the immediate answer. At times I might connect them with our governance expert, our UC consultants or our support team. I always ensure that we drive a resolution and improve the state of things. Why? Because I think that the moment I don’t follow through, I let someone down, which then sets the tone for a program of change and impacts trust which is the core connection we have with people.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
My major passions in life are music and the outdoors. These days with kids there are less long bike rides or hiking, but I still get outside every day, either walking the dog, scooters with the kids or a bike ride. I love and crave open space; I think it’s the country kid in me. Whenever possible, I love adventure and travel. If it’s a work trip, I always find time for some local food and I always pack the sneakers for a waterfront path or park. As a family we have dragged the kids overseas a few times for work, one trip being three months in Seattle while I was on maternity leave.
As for music, it is a constant in my day and often a form of escapism. I am most often seen with earbuds in and when I can, I play piano to unwind. With my kids we dance away our grumps on a tough day and tolerate many hours of Disney singing.