If you want to learn how not to implement collaboration software, here’s the perfect hypothetical situation: a mid-sized company is looking to enhance the knowledge sharing and productivity of its employees. As a result, the firm settles on a collaboration solution and the IT department has the task to implement the platform.
But then things take a turn for the worst. IT only focuses on deploying the software expediently, paying no attention to the initial or ongoing solution design. The technology rolls out to the entire company with no testing phase and, after deployment, IT hardly provides any training.
It’s just a matter of time before the platform ends up failing. Because employees are not familiar with the system, end-user adoption is very close to non-existent. Moreover, because of the lack of inter-department collaboration, teams that requested specific solutions do not get help from IT with ongoing solution design, and the software fails to boost knowledge sharing or productivity – which was the company’s initial goal.
This collaboration software implementation example is a disaster that occurs far too often for enterprises.
Instead of falling into the same pitfalls that others have encountered, companies can learn from the mistakes of others and take critical steps to successfully introduce collaboration software into their business operations. Because the software helps guarantee that operations run smoothly, it’s essential that the implementation process is well-organized and everyone’s on the same page.
Here are some critical steps for sound implementation:
- Create a strategy: Before deployment can start, your company should outline an integration strategy. This plan begins by evaluating the business costs and benefits of such collaboration software. Moreover, supervisors should develop an understanding of how the company’s long-established collaboration tools can be integrated with the new platform. Then companies need to consider designing their strategies around typical employee collaboration patterns – IT must work with employees to prepare tools to meet your company’s needs.
- Select and deploy a collaboration platform: Once your company has drafted the integration strategy, you’ll need to choose the vendors and software platforms. It’s important to follow your strategy and pick the platform based on your key criteria, including TCO and business/infrastructure requirements. Your next step is initial deployment, which is critical to the platform’s long-term success. Your business should launch a pilot phase – with a team of IT managers, architects, and developers – to gather feedback before deploying the platform to the whole enterprise. It’s paramount that IT leads the charge during the implementation, ensuring that all the workers are together at every stage of the journey.
- Roll out the platform, train employees: After the pilot project fine-tunes the platform, end-user adoption can finally occur. You may want to gather a group of power users who are comfortable with new technologies to aid in the adoption process in each department. They can get their teams excited about the innovative solution. Your business should also hold department meetings to introduce end-users to the platform. They can learn about why the company is migrating to the solution and how it will make their lives easier, as well as receive preliminary training on basic capabilities. Employees will have variable learning curves, so your support staff must be patient and answer the many questions that will arise throughout the ongoing training process.
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