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Three ways to avoid an Office 365 customer success mess

Microsoft has laid off the Customer Success Managers (CSMs) dedicated to the adoption of Office 365. What does this mean for Microsoft customers and what options exist to help them succeed with best practices and user adoption on Office 365 going forward?

Three ways to avoid an Office 365 customer success mess
This team of 40 CSMs, who focused on evangelism and customer success on the O365 platform, has been let go.  Deservingly so, there has been an outpouring of gratitude for the valuable insight and assistance they provided.

Despite the obvious disappointment in the community, there is also recognition that customers must carry on, support themselves and work with Microsoft partners for assistance as needed.​

Self-help Customer Success Management

So where can customers turn now to get the help they need to ensure high levels of user adoption that result in productivity, collaboration, internal and social communication on Office 365? Here are some options to consider:

​​1. Microsoft online resources

Microsoft offers several online resources to assist customers, such as FastTrack for Office 365​. This site is a customer success service designed to help you realize the business value of Office 365 and drive adoption.  It includes best practices, tools and various resources to make your experience with Office 365 a success. You can check out our video​ to learn more about the FastTrack program and how BrightStarr works closely with the team.
Microsoft also offers numerous training opportunities, including a virtual academy, on the Office 365 platform for all roles, from administrator to everyday end users. Lastly I recommend that you keep an eye on the Microsoft's Office Blog for updates on new features and announcements on additional resources. Microsoft also publishes their current roadmap online​.

​2. Partners and managed services offerings

You can turn to Microsoft partners who specialize in the individual components of Office 365 (SharePoint, Yammer etc.) or the platform as a whole.  Microsoft partners live and breathe the platform and have the benefit of a combination of expert product knowledge and vertical business expertise. 

Many, such as BrightStarr, offer managed services that can provide you with the expertise you need in an outsourced model. Given the large investments that many enterprises have made in Office 365, the additional, while inconvenient, can be far outweighed by the benefit of realizing the well-known, and independently assessed, potential for positive economic impact.

3. Adopt a solution with customer success built-in

If you are looking for an intranet experience on Office 365 that seamlessly integrates the products and provides an award winning user interface then you should take a deeper look at Unily.  A vital component of the Unily intranet as a service offering is the built-in customer success which is included as a standard component of the subscription. Customer success for the Unily team has many levels:

  • Onboarding: We start with a managed onboarding process.  We understand your specific needs, configuration, optionally identify any required customizations, prepare your unique branding designs and train your intranet managers and content publishers. 
  • Strategy & governance: Intranets are ever evolving platforms. Our Customer Success Managers will work with you, using Unily’s built-in analytics as a benchmark, to refine your intranet governance and maximize user adoption.
  • Managed support: Your intranet managers will always have an expert team to call on, whether you need advice, guidance or support on Unily.
  • Evergreen & customer driven roadmap: Unily is always moving forward and our customers are encouraged to share your ideas about new features and functionality that would be beneficial to their organization. All customers receive ongoing updates for the life of their subscription at no additional charge and we even take care of the upgrade process for you.

Wrapping it up​

The loss of the Microsoft CSM team is a blow to their customers, but the platform will continue to grow and deliver results.  There are a number of other options available to help your Office 365 implementation be a resounding success.

At BrightStarr we will continue to invest in customer success and in expanding our existing internal CSM team​ for our Unily Intranet-as-a-Service solution.

To learn more about the work we do to create awesome solutions on Office 365, get in touch.

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Glen Chambers Vice President of Sales

A big picture strategist who can still see the details, Glen is a hands-on, style leader who enjoys guiding his team through the fast paced world of technology consulting.

Glen plays a pivotal role in steering the North American division of BrightStarr. He combines extensive management experience with broad technical and business consulting skills. This unique mix of talents gives him a deep understanding of client needs and the means to communicate with the development team.

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