Does your company have a vision, strategy and roadmap for Enterprise Collaboration? I ask our clients this question a lot, and the answer is often “do I need one?” A comprehensive strategy is a critical component of a successful and highly adopted collaboration program. There are plenty of horror stories about collaboration implementations that turned into the Wild West, or went gangbusters out the door but quickly lost the attention and use of employees, partners, suppliers and vendors. An Enterprise Collaboration Strategy puts the foundation in place to help avoid these situations.
For us, the purpose of an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy is to establish a baseline for the current collaboration environment, identify the desired future state of the environment, and document the appropriate initiatives to move towards that desired state.
WHAT WE LOOK AT IN AN ENTERPRISE COLLABORATION STRATEGY
Before you know where you’re going, you have to know where you are. We look across multiple dimensions in assessing the current state and identifying the desired future state, including:
- Application Usage. How are current tools used for collaboration, and how could they be used?
- Communication and Change Management. How can we best communicate collaboration opportunities to drive adoption – the cornerstone of success?
- Content. What types of content are created, shared, and consumed?
- Development, Maintenance and Support. How are collaborative solutions developed and supported?
- Governance. What people, processes, and technologies are in place to manage the set-up and growth of the collaboration environment?
- Infrastructure. What infrastructure is needed to support collaboration goals? Is the current infrastructure adequate for the desired growth?
- Resources. What type of resources and skills are needed to build and support the collaboration environment?
- Search. How do people find important content scattered across the organization?
- Social. Can employees readily share what they are working on, and stay in tune with what others are doing? Are subject matter experts easy to find?
- Tools. What tools exist to automate the administration and governance of the collaboration environment? What is the appropriate timing for installing these tools?
- Training. What do users need to know to leverage the capabilities of collaboration tools?
- Usability and User Experience. How can adoption and usage be maximized by providing a user-centered experience?
HOW WE DO IT
First, we review current sites, tools, infrastructure, processes, and other documentation to get a solid understanding of the content, tools, and processes in use. Armed with this background, we perform individual and group interviews. While it is different for every organization, these generally cover a broad cross-section of the organization, including employees from all levels of the company. In these working sessions we hear what users are doing and what they want to do, and we share possibilities.
In addition to internal interviews, we also leverage industry and practical best practices. These cover everything from governance, to team size and structure, to infrastructure and platform (such as SharePoint) knowledge.
WHAT WE DELIVER
By analyzing and assessing that information, we are able to deliver an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy, with details on:
- Current state. Outlines findings on current uses of collaboration, as well as the main pain points and associated impacts.
- Future state. Highlights future uses of collaboration technologies, and identifies tools and applications that may not be needed in the future due to platform consolidation.
- Roadmap. Details specific activities to move from the current state to the future state. High level timeframes and budget estimates are completed for each activity and priorities are assigned.
With an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy in place, an organization has a solid base to begin executing individual high-priority initiatives. These activities might focus on governance, increasing adoption through an intranet redesign, or creation/upgrade/stabilization of the infrastructure.