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Community Spotlight: Meet Tanya Caruana, Director/Senior Digital Experience Specialist at BMO

October 4, 2023

Tanya CaruanaTanya Caruana works for BMO (with approximately 60K employees), one of the top five biggest banks in Canada with a presence in the United States and throughout Europe and Asia. She is the Director and Senior Digital Experience Specialist that works on the enterprise employee experience for their enterprise-wide technologies.

Not just a trainer
In this industry, some people may think Adoption Specialists are exclusively trainers and don’t understand the more complex capabilities needed to drive adoption and healthy usage of technologies at an enterprise scale. Tanya has proven this through her programs that drive usage, satisfaction, and a culture of continuous learning with a combination of her technical acumen, communications savvy, and diligence.

Tanya and her team’s focus is to drive the adoption of Microsoft 365 products and build the skill set of employees throughout the bank.  Her programs provide peer-to-peer learning, training, support, and inspiration through storytelling and a curated digital experience.  Executives have learned to connect Tanya’s initiatives to getting real business value from the licenses they have already paid for.  People mainly used their local computers to store files. Tanya quickly realized that she could tell people all day to store their files in OneDrive and how to share files correctly, but if they don’t understand the business reason – what value that brings, and how it’s going to make their lives better – then they’re not going to do it because they’re busy. They are just going to keep saving to their local “documents” folder. She had to find innovative ways to earn their mindshare and attention. In addition, people also became very overwhelmed with the rate of change and often get confused with what to use when. For example, “When do I use OneDrive vs SharePoint?” or “What is the difference between Teams and Viva Engage?”.

Steak knife or butter knife?
As employees, we have multiple tools that look the same but may not be the best for that situation. One of the best examples that Tanya used to visualize this thought process was: if you’re eating a steak, you’re probably going to use a steak knife and not a butter knife. You can use a butter knife, but it won’t work as efficiently as a steak knife, even though they’re both knives. Many don’t question which one use because we think we know.  Our bias for habit interferes with improving our own productivity.

This is where Tanya and her team come in. They help employees with adoption experiences so that they understand how to select the right tool for the right task. Tanya has grown her team from a team of one to a large team to adoption and employee experience.

Developing our own Champions Network
In 2020, Tanya launched the community of champions at BMO called the Digital Insiders. They were first planned during pre-pandemic times, and when the pandemic hit the community was in motion. The Digital Insiders developed a website for learning resources internally. This community started off small with less than 50 and was capped at 60 because they wanted to stay manageable and feel like a community that people can turn to. Now three years later, they’ve grown much larger at 127 active participants. They have monthly community touchpoints in their Microsoft Teams instance, just like the global Microsoft 365 Champion program run by Microsoft.

Digital Insider activities include guided tours, learning series, a monthly Ted Talk podcast, and live training. A cool series Tanya’s team does is a “teachable” where a presenter like a Tanya, one of her Digital Experience Specialists, or one of the Digital Insiders themselves share a success story or learning moment with others. They will also often bring in people from different business units to share their story. During a teachable, they talk about success stories, what’s new, what changed in their Microsoft 365 tools that people may not be aware of, and what’s upcoming soon.

Starting small
Tanya adamantly believes in starting small. In fact, when Digital Insiders first began, her managers wanted to appoint people to join Digital Insiders, one from each team. Instead, Tanya wanted the members of this community to be people who self-select because they’re passionate about technology and helping others. There are people in every organization who love technology and want to spread and share the joy of creating a better experience. Small things make a big difference, such as sharing files using links instead of file attachments. Now that the program has grown, members are monitored for active participation as a Digital Insider. Some of these members are from engineering and technology roles because when they sit on these community calls, they can now hear what the business is saying directly.

What’s next for Tanya and for you
Tanya wants to continue to excel and help the content in the Digital Insiders get to the next level. She believes in challenging herself because people get bored quickly. An example she gave that she thinks anyone can try is something they call “small batch training,” where they take in small groups of people and try out technologies with a very hands-on approach, even if it may not work for a large organization. One of the outcomes of this experiment is their #Quicktips videos that are two minutes or less. These micro-learning experiences have become some of their most popular video assets.

Tanya’s journey is an amazing one and goes to show that by starting small and making content meaningful, you can build a tremendously helpful community. Being an Adoption Manager is a craft and something that you’re continually improving on.