Collaboration is incredibly valuable to businesses, because it can lead to more creative ideas and productivity, but it’s not uncommon for business leaders to be unsure how to go about enabling it among their employees. Once, a phone system and a shared office space was enough to ensure that a business’s workforce could easily work together to solve organizational problems, but with the rise of hybrid and remote environments, as well as changes in the way we do business today, the needs of business leaders have changed significantly.
Many organizations across industries have no problem investing in new collaboration technologies because each sells itself on enabling teams to work together in a more streamlined fashion. However, if that were true for every single system, then there wouldn’t be so much variability in how organizations perform with their collaboration tools.
Many of the clients that I’ve worked with have had some difficulty with taking full advantage of the collaboration tools they invested in, and although it’s easy to avoid the problem in the first place, here are a few of the biggest issues that businesses run into when planning the adoption of a new collaboration tool:
Creating an Effective Plan
Planning is important for any implementation a business requires, and that remains especially true for collaboration platforms. In many cases, having a plan is better than no plan at all, but not enough businesses create a detailed enough plan for a collaboration platform to be implemented without a hitch.
I’ve seen all too often clients who invested in a collaboration platform and then, in the midst of their implementation process, realized they didn’t have enough information about the product’s features and requirements to complete it without pivoting.
It’s perfectly understandable that business leaders may not have intimate knowledge of what they have available to them because understanding a business’s needs for their collaboration platform is often delegated to one person or outside vendor. However, when that person leaves or a vendor relationship ends, then the organization no longer has access to that institutional knowledge.
Before making a purchase, it’s critical that organizations take stock of their needs and try to identify the goals of their collaboration investment if they don’t want to be forced to pivot down the line.
Investing in Training
Another big issue that organizations run into when looking to adopt a new collaboration platform is ensuring that team members know how to take full advantage of what the system has to offer.
If a business has relied on a phone system for years, then there is a real possibility that organizations will struggle to fully utilize a newer system because your employees won’t know how to use it.
Deploying any new technology needs to come with a robust training program on all the possible applications of the new technology. Team members should be instructed on what the new collaboration platform is able to do and how it fits into existing processes if you want to realize the maximum value of your organization’s investment.
Most people will continue doing things the way they’ve always done them unless they understand how the enhanced system will benefit their everyday tasks, which starts with a robust training program.
Conducting Enough Research
As discussed earlier, there have been a slew of new technologies that enable teams to collaborate more effectively, and all of them claim to do it the best. However, that doesn’t mean that companies can use any platform to achieve their goals.
In the age of ecommerce, it’s easy to buy a phone system, but handsets are often only part of the equation. You have to understand what your company needs and how a collaboration platform fits into the mix of technology your organization is looking to deploy.
An easy way of illustrating the importance of understanding organizational needs would be to compare two of the leading collaboration platforms on the market today: Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams. Webex, the largest provider of cloud collaboration solutions on the planet, is an ideal option for many use cases, but if a company is already leveraging Microsoft 365, doesn’t require a lot of physical endpoints and conducts most of their collaboration internally or with a small and well defined set of partners, then Microsoft Teams may be a good fit.
Any investment should add value to an organization, and collaboration platforms are no different. However, in many cases, businesses will start implementing a collaboration solution without first considering how the investment will change their organization’s workflow. While it may seem like a phone system may not cause too much of an impact, the sophisticated collaboration platforms available today can be a significant investment if organizations don’t take the time to fully understand how they want them to fit within their existing tech stack.
If you’re going to go down this path, it’s important to conduct a thorough assessment to understand your organization’s goals in upgrading collaboration tools, the capabilities of the platforms you’re considering to ensure they meet those needs, and that the resulting investment fits well with your organization’s culture and existing technology. If you would like guidance on how to manage such an assessment, visit our Contact Us page to reach out and we’ll set up a time to talk.