Collaboration, General

Improve your teamwork with a collaboration platform – start with some basic questions!

If you want to build your custom collaboration environment, you will need to take many different aspects into consideration. I want to share with you some best practices of projects I have been working on in 2019.

What is the purpose of your collaboration platform?

Are you using a collaboration platform or an intranet? And did you ever ask the question about its main purpose? When you launch a collaboration platform, everybody in your company should know about its main purpose and about the use cases supported by this platform. If the users don’t know about any advantages in using the new platform, you won’t reach the user adoption you want to achieve. Here are some exemplary use cases:

  • support your project teams to share information and work together by providing teamrooms
  • implement a central information share for corporate news and policies
  • help the employees to connect with each other with a corporate network
Define “Collaboration”
What are your main use cases and how do you want to help the employees in your company in their daily business?

The launch of a new collaboration platform should be a project with a defined target and timeline. Set up a project team and discuss how the target can be achieved and how the end users can be supported with the new platform in their daily business. We did it so in our company and identified the most relevant use cases for our employees. We organized workshops to talk with each team and each organizational unit and explained them how to use the new platform.

Do you want to use tools of multiple providers?

You will find a lot of different tools that can help you and your colleagues in your daily business. The choice will certainly not be easy for you. But it may help you to think about who should be responsible for operating, updating, and proper licensing of the various tools in your company. The complexity of this task increases with each additional tool and provider.

Another aspect is that many tools are no longer as different from each other as they were in the past. Most of the known providers watch their competitors and improve their offer constantly . In the area of ​​cloud services in particular, expanding the offering is particularly easy.

If you have checked the providers and their tools with regard to the range of offered features, you should also consider the costs associated with the tools. Usually, you save costs if you purchase several services from one single provider. Tools of smaller providers can be cheaper, but then you may have to include the costs for your colleagues, who have to take care of the administration and coordination of the services.

You should also take into account that the tools of one provider match with each other. You and your colleagues get used to the basic look and feel of a tool and can use other tools of this provider without additional learning effort. In the case of different providers, you will always have to adjust to the tool you are currently using.

How many different tools do you want to use?

Even if you choose the toolbox of a single provider, you will have a wide range of services available, such as for example with Office 365. Too many tools can confuse and (in the worst case) your end users refuse to use the new collaboration platform.

You should select the right tools to support your main use cases and you should explain their purpose to your end users. Even if you make a very limited selection at the beginning, that doesn’t mean you cannot expand that selection later.

Give the employees in your company time to get used to the new way of working. As a result of these changes, additional requirements will show up that will ask for the use of another tool. For example, start with a tool to support communication (both ad hoc and within teams) and a tool for central storage of documents and the editing of these documents with multiple persons at the same time. Maybe, this offering is enough to support everybody in his or hers daily business; otherwise, the users will tell you that something is missing.

Which tools fit best your main use cases? I will publish my personal checklist in my next blog article.

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