A common question we hear is, “My company has just purchased a collaboration platform. Why can’t we just launch and tell people to start collaborating?”
To maximize success early with enterprise collaboration, launching with a strategic change management oriented approach is key. Important elements include awareness of ease of use and applicable workflows and focus on core business use cases.
Enterprise social software is different than most other business software. First, collaboration by nature is usually unstructured. On top of that, becoming an active participant is often considered optional, especially by early users who might need more practical proof-points before they bend their email and communications habits. Therefore, social software requires awareness to understand how to produce and realize value.
Does this sound familiar?
- Contributions go beyond daily responsibilities, and folks don’t think they have time.
- Users lack incentive to contribute as value is often uncertain.
- Value comes in very slowly, causing user fatigue, and drags out the adoption.
Without awareness on ease of use and pertinent workflows, users may not have a clear direction of how to contribute or use the platform.
Second, it’s best to focus first on the core business use cases of the users, as opposed to solely on technical requirements. Too many organizations often over-emphasize early phases on branding, directory integrations, and related considerations when they really need to start with how it will provide the most value to employees.
Some use cases, however, are too abstract or narrow with which to start. For example, avoid tightly confined discussions, like “Improving Tier 3 Sales Leads From Bulgaria,” and start more broadly with something like “Sales Process Improvements.” If conversations show growing demand from Bulgaria, and folks want to segment these kinds of detailed discussions, then do so at that time. But more generalized—but still relevant—discussion areas usually provide richer soil for growing collaboration.
So how do you ensure rapid growth in your collaboration platform? Start adoption at the core, where abstraction is at its lowest level. Identify simple, frequently used business processes that can be ported into the platform. Define intra and inter-group business processes on which to focus.
Many think that executive participation is what matters most in encouraging adoption, but a “middle-out” approach often works better than one that’s primarily top-down or bottom-up. In other words, seed early rollouts with involvement and support from users across interconnected functional areas and roles, especially middle-management, where connections and filtering often happen. If these types of roles are bought-in, developing use cases and involvement, and bridging business processes over to the collaboration platform, becomes substantially easier and faster.
To learn about TIBCO’s enterprise social collaboration platform, tibbr, click here.