No you don't have to open the steering column to get the factory button off. The butt has four small snaps, use a 4 or 5 inch flathead screw driver and lift in a circular motion. Once you can see one or more small snap push on the taps/snaps with the screw driver and repeat.
I would warn about using metal tools. They can and will mar the plastic bits under and around the button. It doesn't take much. I always use plastic trim removal tools to remove trim, including when replaces the black start button with red.