Enterprise collaboration has a lot to do with how people in organizations talk to each other internally. As teams grow and spread out, the volume of chatter increases. If you don’t have a systematic method of capturing all these voices, good collaboration has no chance. Want to know how? Read on for top tips for enterprise collaboration.
There are common reasons why workplace collaboration sometimes falls down the tubes. Chances are, you have seen some of the following:
- Your organization is using the wrong tools, or too many different tools
- Ideas on how to improve things float around the office but are never actioned
- This lack of action leads to staff demotivation
- Staff work in closed teams
- Best practices end up as team-level intellectual property
Simply identifying that your organization needs to implement an enterprise collaboration tool doesn’t mean that you are ready for it. Rolling out enterprise collaboration tools is best handled like any complex project. Here some top tips for enterprise collaboration to make sure that your organization is fit for the rollout:
Your staff won’t fully adopt a collaboration tool if it does not meet their needs or if it complicates their lives. Start by asking your team what tools they already use and what are their preferences. Identify any gaps.
Make a note of the tools that are most popular, even those that are not approved by your organization. You’ll be surprised how many of these you will find.
Match these to their needs. For instance, do your teams just need to have a quick conversation with teams in other locations? Or do they need a more robust tool which can carry sensitive content and communications?
Define your requirements
Once you know their needs, define the requirements in terms of actual tools. You can drill down and isolate the best tools by role-playing typical scenarios where collaboration tools are most used.
This does not refer to your choice of actual enterprise collaboration tool, many times the choice is already made. What you are trying to achieve with this process is to find out the best tools within the extensive range of products within your enterprise collaboration solution.
Devise a plan
Once you have performed your due diligence and research, create a detailed plan to replace existing tools. Understand that in many cases you will be asking your teams to change behaviours that have been ingrained for a long time.
You need to consider carefully how to overcome initial resistance. Often, there is great enthusiasm among staff when you discuss potential new tools, but that enthusiasm can fade away when the scale of the change required sets in.
Your IT team needs take on the role of marketers or change champions to drive interest and buy-in. Yes, cloud-based technologies are becoming simpler to implement, but there is still significant rollout work that needs to be done in large enterprises especially.
So, part of the plan will involve the basics of project management, such as auditing the types of devices in your inventory. You should also develop a detailed project plan, which deals with matters like implementation, training, and communications.
But be prepared to add to what’s already in place
If some teams have found great utility from a non-sanctioned tool, sometimes it’s a good idea to not throw what has been working well for them out of the window. This is a delicate choice to make. Remember that you want high adoption of the new enterprise collaboration system to justify your expense, but you also don’t want to force complete change down everyone’s throats.
If you have done your survey and information gathering well, you will already know what tools your teams are attached to and where you will meet resistance. Be prepared for it.
Get someone to carry the flag
Senior management needs to be seen to be driving the change you need. They have a large input on the ultimate success of the rollout. Management needs to continually and passionately communicate the business case for implementing enterprise collaboration. Their job is to lead by example by enthusiastically adopting the new tools.
It is also helpful to appoint smaller groups of change champions whose job it is to drum up support and energize adoption among the staff. By creating this “collaboration culture” you will be equipping yourself for success.
Make your implementation laser focused
Each business has its own culture and methods. It is true that some organizations are more bureaucratic than others, even in the private sector. For enterprise collaboration implementations to work, you need to be laser focused in your planning and execution.
If you have done your preparation honestly, you might have already established that as a bureaucratic organization you will need to come up with ways of powering through blockages.
Why is enterprise collaboration important?
All the careful planning and execution you carry out will bear fruit in the end. There are real wins to be enjoyed from strong enterprise collaboration. These wins can become benefits that impact on the strategic direction of the company for the better. Even when you stuck in the weeds of a tricky implementation, remind yourself of the many benefits of enterprise collaboration tools:
- Increased security: Teams that understand how to work together understand whose job it is to store sensitive company intelligence and where to store it.
- Better processes: Slick processes are the end goal of any competitive business. Don’t waste effort, time, and resources on inefficient processes.
- Retain organizational edges: With better collaboration you will lose fewer ideas, have better overall idea management, and bring more ideation sessions into real life products.
- No more duplicated effort: Collaboration means that teams no longer have to work in silos and spend time creating very similar processes.
In our ever-evolving business environment, inefficient processes are a drag on organizational competitiveness. Dysfunctional teams can hamper your ability to work smart and lean.
Enterprise collaboration tools allows you to get ahead of the competition by making your organization more agile. But the implementation of enterprise collaboration tools needs to be considered and deliberate. If you plan well, your execution has a better chance of success, and then the real wins from having a true collaboration culture will start to pour in.