Home Workforce Productivity Enterprise Collaboration: How to Simplify and Maximize Your Platform

Does your organization have multiple systems or platforms providing overlapping collaboration capabilities? Do users know which systems to use, and when? Do these systems have untapped resources that could provide additional benefit if properly implemented?

As part of our ongoing look at the makings of an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy and Roadmap, we’re exploring the ways an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy can improve adoption and boost ROI by aligning the use of tools, platforms, and applications.

Enterprise Collaboration goes beyond document management and social tools, encompassing all of the following:

  • Document Management
  • Collaboration
  • Intranets and Extranets
  • Social Business
  • Mobile Access
  • Workflow and Process Automation
  • Personalization
  • Unified Communications
  • Forms Management
  • Search
  • Business Intelligence
  • Records Management
  • Web Content Management

With such a large set of capabilities, it is easy to understand why many companies are not using their Enterprise Collaboration platform to its fullest potential. Often, organizations are not aware of the potential uses, or lack proper governance to determine which capabilities should be applied and when.

When creating an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy, we look at how a company is using their current platform(s) – evaluating how available tools can be used in new ways, and which capabilities should be discontinued. What existing assets could provide more benefits to users? How can we increase adoption? Make processes more efficient? Increase ROI?

Enterprise Collaboration solutions are incorporated into the enterprise systems that users interact with daily. For example, Salesforce has document management and social tools; SharePoint is well known for document management, as well as social and workflow (among others); Jive offers many of the same capabilities; and project management tools often have some capacity for document management and workflow. With multiple systems providing overlapping capabilities, users become confused and ask questions like:

  • Where should I store documents to share them with my team?
  • Where do I find documents about product development, sales or other areas?
  • Where do I post micro-blogs and see what others are posting?
  • Which workflow tool should be used to automate this process?
  • How do I best collaborate and share documents with external parties?
  • Where do I place documents that I want to work on from home?
  • Do records go into SharePoint like my other documents?

Essentially, what users are asking is, “what system should I use for which purpose?” Further, IT and legal are left to ask how content is managed and controlled in each system. To evaluate this, we often use a tool called the Platform Usage Matrix, which documents the primary uses of each platform, as well as the primary platform for each enterprise collaboration capability.

What are some key areas to consider as you look at your Enterprise Collaboration environment? A good Enterprise Collaboration Strategy looks at the tools used across the organization, evaluates how they can best be used (or not), and makes a plan for communicating these best practices to users – ensuring that you are making the most of each platform.

Read more from our series on  Enterprise Collaboration Strategy and Roadmaps, including building the right technology foundation, content and search, and governance, training and communication.

An expert in SharePoint and Enterprise Collaboration strategy, Dave has delivered SharePoint business solutions ranging from dynamic websites to a program to capture and track employee ideas. Dave is a regular distance and event runner and is always looking for new endurance adventures.

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