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Magenta Living is the largest registered housing provider in Wirral and a not-for-profit organisation, owning and managing just under 13,000 properties.


ITS Training and Apprenticeships



How Microsoft training improved productivity for nearly 500 employees

The Challenge

Magenta Living were upgrading their IT systems to Microsoft Office 365, and so the need for targeted training was identified, in order to facilitate a smooth transition to the new version.

It was anticipated that 200 office based workers, 150 office and mobile workers, and 135 full mobile users required formal classroom based migration training, in addition to an introduction to the key features and applications in Office 365. Out of these delegate numbers there was also a potential requirement for Microsoft Office End User applications training in Excel, PowerPoint and Word aimed at delegates that would subsequently become 'Super Users' or 'Product Champions'.

There were discussions with Magenta Living, whereby a preference was given to formal class room based training delivered as 2-hour x 3 sessions per day, to groups of up to 16 delegates. All courses could have been delivered 'Onsite' at the Magenta Living premises or at an external training venue, which ITS SmartStyle can provide. 

Our Solution

A number of initial key training objectives were identified by Magenta Living, which were incorporated into finalised lesson plans and course materials. Magenta Living were keen to deliver sessions which consisted of the following:

  • Updating users from the Microsoft Office 2007 version to Microsoft Office 2016. The aim was to familiarise delegates with the Office 2016 Interface, highlighting differences with the previously used Office 2007 version of software and being able to navigate within key applications such as Excel, Word and Outlook.
  • Providing 'Getting Started with Office 365' training by exploring the key features and applications available in the Office 365 suite. There was also a focus on users being able to identify and develop their knowledge in Office Online 'Cloud' features to store and access content via a browser and how these can be used to communicate and share information with others.

After a successful rollout of the above training requirements, there was also be a possibility to deliver Microsoft Office 2016 applications training or up to 13 delegates in Excel, PowerPoint and Word at Fundamental or Intermediate levels. By attending these sessions, the aim for these delegates was to acquire new skills and knowledge in these applications so that they could become 'Product Champions' and 'Power Users', subsequently providing additional support to their fellow colleagues in using the Microsoft 2016 applications.

A collaborative approach was used in order to get course content and pitch absolutely right. Examples and exercises within ITS SmartStyle Learning Guides were adapted to include real cases and illustrations from Magenta Living's own systems and desktop environments, and material was co-branded where required. As all ITS SmartStyle courses and materials are developed in-house, we are able to tailor and amend content quickly and efficiently for all our clients.

Training delivery options

Migration training focuses on the differences between the previous version of Microsoft Office i.e. Office 2007 and the new version, i.e. Office 2016. Migration training is not intended to up-skill users or furnish them with new skills, however it often does provide users with increased knowledge and skills and can be an opportunity to introduce or reinforce certain practices or ways of working. 

Office 2016 Migration & Introduction to Office 365 Workshops - Short 2-hour x 3 sessions per day, which were delivered to groups of no more than 16 at Magenta Living's premises. The focus of the workshop was to introduce the new 2016 interface and the common concepts of working in Office 2016, for example, ribbons and task panes, opening, closing, saving and printing.

Migration training was undertaken in an instructor led format, i.e. hands-on, meaning all users had the opportunity to put into practice what has been explained and demonstrated to them. We believe this is absolutely key to minimising disruption following the upgrade and allows for understanding to be checked and knowledge issues to be addressed.

The Microsoft Office 365 training also had a similar delivery format as above with the main difference being the content. The focus of this workshop was to introduce and explore the key features and applications available in the Office 365 suite, for example OneNote, OneDrive, SharePoint and Yammer.

The content of the workshops was entirely flexible and was tailored to Magenta Living's specific requirements and environment. This was agreed with the appropriate employees in advance.

The Impact

  • Almost 500 Magenta Living employees trained.
  • Smooth transition to Office 365 enabling employees to remain productive during migration.
  • Courses delivered onsite and in bite-size sessions to minimise workplace disruption and time away from day-to-day activities.
  • Phase 1 of the workshops regarded as 'highly successful' by Magenta Living stakeholders.
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