In this series, we’ll discuss how to best prepare for a Microsoft 365 E5 implementation.
In Part I of our M365 E5 series, we reviewed the critical importance of strategic planning and inventory assessment prior to executing any implementation of Microsoft 365’s new suite of security and productivity capabilities, E5. While E5 promises many important cybersecurity capabilities for today’s enterprise, simply selecting components that seem relevant to your organization’s goals and running with them could cause you a bigger headache in the long run. Instead, make sure you avoid redundancies, actively focus on ROI, factor in support costs, create a change management plan and more.
Let’s review key planning and implementation steps to a successful E5 transition.
How will you implement the components you choose?
Before selecting which components to implement, document a clear business case to guide your decision making. Which business challenges are currently unsolved – or underserved – within your existing workflows, operational model and/or technology stack? How will the new components you select help solve those challenges? Can you chart a clear path to ROI? How will you know that you’ve succeeded? It’s critical to build an appropriate business case and plan to track ROI before implementation begins.
Keep in mind that the order in which you implement components also matters. You need to take a closer look at your existing contracts, capabilities, and levels of operational support to consider:
- What’s doable now?
- What would you be paying double for?
- Do you have the resources to support and maintain different solutions?
Also consider whether your workforce is prepared to optimize new capabilities. For example, the security capabilities included in E5 are anything but “set it and forget it” with many of the features requiring tuning to reduce false positives. Security intelligence signal must be properly integrated with your SIEM, interpreted correctly and acted upon to reap its benefits. Do you have the personnel in place to properly manage these new tools post-implementation? Using this information, you can begin to establish a roadmap based on cost, value, and security benefits.
Is your organization ready for this change? Do they understand it?
Unfortunately, even if you pick the right components and implement them at the right time in the right order – you may not see the benefit you’re seeking as defined by your strategic plan and roadmap. Why? When you introduce any new system or platform, your organization must be prepared to pivot processes and workflows. If they’re not actively using these tools to their advantage, you won’t see the adoption needed to achieve the desired benefit from the investment.
Successful adoption cannot happen without ample change management. This could include things like additional training, help desk enablement, communications planning and more. Using operations process reengineering, you can help ensure that teams adjust their approach and reap the full benefit of new components. By ensuring that your people understand what needs to change, why that change needs to happen, and how it impacts their individual role, you have a much greater chance of improving your security posture. With additional training, teams will be able to interpret intelligence, take preventive actions, maintain components and more.
The period immediately after implementation, referred to as Hypercare, is a critical moment for support resources. The exact duration of Hypercare depends on a number of factors but can make or break a successful deployment. Make a support plan for everything from development and configuration to communications and staff augmentation.
Partner to thrive with E5
We’ve helped startups to Fortune 100 clients plan and execute strategic M365 E5 implementations, from business case building to change management, operations process redefinition, Hypercare support and beyond. Let’s connect to discuss which E5 components best serve your organization’s goals—and make a plan for successful deployment.