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Posts Tagged ‘Enterprise Collaboration Strategy’

Business Transformation Through Enterprise Collaboration – AIIM Social Business Conference 2012

March 21, 2012 1 comment

My presentation on Business Transformation Though Enterprise Collaboration at AIIM Social Business Conference 2012.

Following are the topics…

  • Top Technology Trends
  • Business Needs & Challenges
  • Enterprise Collaboration – Overview, Key Tenets
  • Strategy & Approach
  • Top Obstacles & Adoption Challenges
  • Adoption Strategies
  • Sample Architecture Reference
  • Implementation Approach – Maturity Model
  • Enterprise Gamification + Collaboration – Value?
  • Sample Metrics

Click on the image to view the deck

Image

Social Business Adoption Strategies – 10 Key Steps and Best Practices

  This is follow-up post to my article on Social Business  Strategy – 15 Key Strategy Steps for  Successful Implementation.

You have now implemented a Social Business Platform (Enterprise Collaboration, Social Business, Social Intranet, Enterprise 2.0 etc) and rolled it out to the entire organization. You celebrated your go-live, got great initial traffic, momentum, usage and had some success. Great!!!. (If you have not implemented and your are in the initial stage, you can apply the following info to your project).

Now the difficult part kicks in – “Adoption & Use“.  How do you keep up the momentum?

Employees will adopt and use the platform more if they can “do” & “get” the work done more efficiently and effectively.  They will not find the enterprise collaboration platform useful (few examples) -

  • If it is just one more place to find information
  • Not required to get any work done
  • Requires one more login/password
  • Not all the employees are on the platform
  • Cannot discover people/skills due to lack of profile completeness
  • Cannot find important information
  • Has more “white noise” rather than useful information
  • Lack of participation
  • Not used for organization wide communication & updates
  • Lack of communication on the purpose of the platform.

You may face or are already facing the following questions.

  • Are employees using all the great features, tools and capabilities of the platform to the expectations?
  • Is the platform meeting all the business objectives identified in the business case? In terms of  Innovation, Idea generation, Collaboration, Communication, Excellence, Learning & Support, Competitive advantage?
  • Is the platform improving the key business processes that you identified?
  • Is the platform enabling the capture and management of knowledge across the organization? Is it facing the same fate of Knowledge Management system?
  • Is the platform driving more employee engagement, communication, collaboration, interaction and sharing of information across the organization?
  • Is the platform driving process improvement, excellence and innovation across the organization?
  • Do all the employees have an account in the platform? If they have an account, do they have a complete profile? Are they actively using the platform?
  • Finally, is the adoption and usage decreasing?

If the platform doesn’t meet some/all of the above, you will need to implement some basic, simple, creative and innovative adoption strategies and best practices. This will help to gain more adoption and usage of the platform, provide “real” business value. How do you do this? What are key strategies or action steps you can take to achieve this?

I have detailed the top “Adoption” strategies and best practices that you can implement for the Enterprise Collaboration Platform. This is based on my implementation experience, lessons learned, reading best practices & articles and listening to other experts in this space.

I am a strong proponent of applying Six Sigma (process improvement, quality & excellence), Lean Management (remove waste in processes) and ITIL (find info quick and easily, service Catalog) methodologies & principles to everyday work processes that can create true business value.  “Yes” you can leverage and implement these powerful/high impact methodologies for Enterprise Collaboration platforms as well. I have leveraged these methodologies for some of the adoption strategies that I have listed below.

Adoption Strategies & Best Practices (By Importance)

1:  Provide Single Sign-On to Enterprise Collaboration Platform

2:  Provide Seamless Single Sign-On to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

3: Provide Easy Access to the Enterprise Collaboration Platform – Any location, Any Device, Any time (Securely)

4:  Make the platform as a “One Stop” Hub for Information – “The Intranet”

5. Provide seamless integration to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

6: Provide Seamless Integration to Document & Digital Media Management – “In the Flow”

7: Implement Strategy Alignment Framework – “In the Flow”

8: Implement Project Management & Collaboration Framework - “In the Flow”

9: Implement Corporate Services Information Framework - “In the Flow”

10: Implement Innovation & Idea Center Framework - “In the Flow”

1:  Provide Single Sign-On to Enterprise Collaboration Platform

The last thing you want in the enterprise collaboration platform is to have employees remember one more login/password to access it. This is a “killer”. Implement a single sign-on solution for the collaboration platform that allows employees to launch the platform from the desktop/browser/Citrix/VPN and automatically be logged in.

The best approach is to integrate the platform with the active directory (or related user identity store) and integrate Active Directory to the HR system. This helps to keep the data in collaboration platform, Active Directory and HR system in sync. This way you can have/show all the relevant employee information (name, title, contact info, skills, manager, direct reports etc) in the collaboration platform automatically and not do any imports. This also helps to improve security. Only employees who have an active account in the Active Directory will have access to the collaboration platform. By doing this, you will now have the company directory with more info in the collaboration platform.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access the collaboration platform and administrators to keep the data in sync.

2:  Provide Seamless Single Sign-On to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

Implement an Identity management that provides seamless single sign-on from the collaboration platform to all the key enterprise applications (especially SaaS based apps ). This is one of the best adoption strategies. This helps employees to access the key applications and makes it as part of their workflow process (“In the flow”). This also helps employees not to remember their user name and password for the increasing number of SaaS apps and especially when each of the SaaS app have their own password and identity management policies.

This approach applies the Six Sigma principle, decrease the number of password resets/forgot password functions  (“defects”) that needs to be performed by the app administrators and improve the process for employees to access the key enterprise applications  quickly/easily and also improve the overall quality of the identity management.

Sample SSO/Identity Management Architecture

3: Provide Easy Access to the Platform – Any location, Any Device, Any time (Securely)

Provide easy access and compatibility to the enterprise collaboration platform from any device, any application, any time, any location in a secure way with single sign-on. By implementing #2 and this step, employees will have a seamless, easy and quick way to access the Collaboration platform and SaaS applications as well.

4:  Make the platform as a “One Stop” Hub for Information – “The Intranet”

Sample Social Business Architecture

This is the “Best” adoption strategy that you can do to drive adoption and usage of the enterprise collaboration platform across the organization.

Typically in organizations, there are many platforms that employees access to get their work done – Intranets (News & Updates, Strategy, HR, Benefits, Finance), Business Applications (CRM, BI, Payroll), Project Portals, Wikis, Email, Audio/Video Conferencing etc. The common problem is employees will have to access these platforms separately to get work done. This is a “killer” and lot of valuable time is lost.

Intranets provide a lot of info (static) mostly around content. Making/integrating this as part of the collaboration platform links the content with people and this helps to get more context and value. Integrating intranet, business applications, project portals, email, audio/video conferencing tools in to the enterprise collaboration platform (“One Stop Hub”) will help attract employees to come to the platform. Thi helps them to get work done (“in the flow”) more easily and quickly, drive more traffic & adoption and result in more “true” collaboration activities.

For example, if there is a news article (intranet) in the collaboration platform , employees can see the content and also connect with the author of the article and collaborate on the article.  Following are some other good examples:

  • Publish intranet content – Strategy, HR/Benefits information, forms, faqs, policies and procedures. Employees can connect and collaborate with the HR team and get more information.
  • Publish corporate services information – IT , Finance, Audit, HR, Payroll, Administration. Employees can search and find info on services quickly and connect with the team to learn additional info.
  • Integrate or sync to email/calendar functions – Employees can manage the emails/calendar within the platform or view the collaboration activities within the email platform.
  • Integrate to audio, video conferencing and IM capabilities – Employees can discover people based on profile/skills and quickly connect with them based on their availability/connection status. This brings the “human” element into the collaboration platform.
  • Integrate to project portals – Publish portfolio, status, news & updates and feed it to the activity stream based on employee subscription/interest. Employees based on their subscription can get a 360 degrees view of the project – strategy alignment, sponsors, team, status updates, action items etc and connect with them to collaborate or find more info about the project.
  • Integrate to IT help desk system – Employees can submit tickets, request status updates and collaborate with the IT team.
  • Integrate to business applications (CRM, BI) – Employees can view or share customer info/leads to the appropriate group and collaborate, they can access BI reports and share them with the groups and collaborate to discover more insights.
  • Integrate to enterprise search – Employees can do enterprise search and get results from intranet and collaboration platform rather than doing separate searches in each platform. This is similar to how Google and Bing displays search results from Twitter within the results.

Employees should get the necessary info based on their interest and subscription in a timely manner for them to take the necessary actions.

It may be daunting to do some or all the above. “Yes” it is. Try your best to implement some of the above. Most of the platforms in the market have very good APIs or web services to do the above integration to push/pull information. If these services are not available, think of different ways how you can bring this information (even at a higher level) into the collaboration platform or feed info back.

5. Provide seamless integration to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

Provide a seamless integration to key enterprise applications such as CRM, Corporate directory and BI systems. This will provide a lot of value to employees to get work done easily and faster and make it as part of their work processes.

If a sales person is working on an active prospect/lead, this info is usually captured in a CRM system. How about if this info is shared with a group of employees or to a specific group from the CRM system to the collaboration platform? Others in the organization can provide valuable info or collaborate on this lead which may help the sales person to close in on the lead. How about if an employee queries customer info in the CRM system (based on security) right from the collaboration platform? Based on the info the employee gets from the CRM system, the employee can share this info with others or a specific group and discover more info.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access the CRM info.

A BI report is usually sent via email or by auto distribution to the team and management on a regular basis. The team typically analyzes the report, may be exchange some insights via email, phone or meetings. How about if this BI report is fed into the group’s page or activity stream from BI system automatically? This way the team can collaborate on the report, share ideas, insights etc and others can collaborate or react on the info.  All this info is captured for future references and can be discovered easily by keywords or context instead of going back to the emails or meetings notes that not everyone has easy access.

6: Provide Seamless Integration to Document & Digital Media Management – “In the Flow”

Managing & sharing documents (applies to digital media as well) efficiently and effectively is an “art” than “science”. This is one of the most common tasks that employees performs to do their day-to-day work tasks. Typically employees spend a lot of time managing and searching for documents and they share the documents through emails/file shares. By doing this, documents are all over the place – file servers, document portals, emails, ftp servers etc.

If you have a document management system (Google docs, Box, Dropbox, Sharepoint etc) to manage and store your documents – your life is much easier. How about if you can integrate/embed the documents within the collaboration platform workspaces/pages – groups, strategy, projects, intranets etc and tag them appropriately.

By doing this integration, you can create and store the documents in the document management system and you can collaborate/share within the collaboration platform. Now you have content + people in one place. Employees can see who has created the documents and can collaborate with the author to get more info, share more ideas or update the documents. This also triggers an update to the activity stream that others in the platform can view/share. This results in a “true” collaboration and provide more real feeds that employees can take action rather than the “white noise’. Employees can also search for documents (in the document management system based on tags) within the platform rather than going to the document management system.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access and share documents.

7: Implement Strategy Alignment Framework – “In the Flow”

Communicating on strategy and vision to employees is very important for any organization. Typically organizations post the strategy info on the intranet for everyone to view.

How about if this strategy info is published within the collaboration platform? And if each strategy drill-downs to strategy steps, activities & projects is published as well? By doing this way, employees can see the strategy info in detail, business alignment, project alignment, related documents, news & updates, search info quickly, ask questions, share ideas, see how their work is contributing to the overall strategy – all within the collaboration platform.

This improves strategy awareness across the organziation, facilitates learning and helps to break-down silos

8: Implement Project Management & Collaboration Framework - “In the Flow”

Sample Strategy/Project Alignment Framework

This is closely aligned with the Strategy framework in #7. The success of any project usually depends on how well you collaborate and communicate with the team and stakeholders. What other platform is more appropriate than the Enterprise Collaboration Platform?

By publishing, managing or integrating all the project info into the collaboration platform, employees can collaborate and share the project info with team or groups, ask questions and share ideas – all of which will feed into the activity stream that others can view/share as well. This leads to less “white noise” and more towards valuable information.

Following are some of the benefits & value.

  • Efficient alignment of strategy to projects
  • Dynamic strategic mapping
  • Improved communication, collaboration & interaction among management & employees
  • Efficient project management collaboration
  • Increased employee awareness of  strategies, goals & projects
  • Find relevant information faster and easier
  • Share ideas, comments & solutions faster & easily
  • Fosters innovation & creativity to problems
  • Drive towards organized communication
  • Eliminate email communication

This approach applies the Six Sigma & Lean Management principle. Improve the quality of project management process & collaboration (“communication defects”) and eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access and share project information.

9: Implement Corporate Services Framework - “In the Flow”

Sample Corporate Services Framework

For employees to do their work tasks efficiently and effectively, it’s important for them to be aware of all the corporate services (HR, Benefits, Payroll, Finance, IT, Administration, Printing etc) that are available to them. They need to know how to access relevant info,  services, request new services, report issues/requests and know who are the contacts? The last obstacle you don’t want to have is for employees unable to find the necessary information in time.

This info is typically published  on the intranet. How about if this info is published and managed in the Collaboration Platform via work spaces, groups, wikis etc? This way employees can search and find information easily and quickly, ask questions, share and collaborate ideas, suggest improvements and ask for new services – all of which will feed into the activity stream that others can view/share as well. This leads to less “white noise” and more towards valuable information.

Following are some of the benefits & value.

  • Direct communication between corporate services & employees
  • Improved communication & collaboration
  • Increased employee awareness of corporate services & support available – this is especially helpful for new employees.
  • Find relevant information & updates faster
  • Self-Service, FAQs, self-help resources
  • Improved customer service & satisfaction
  • Drive towards organized communication
  • Eliminated email communication

This approach applies the ITIL principle, share and manage the all the services that are available for employees.

10: Implement Innovation & Idea Center Framework - “In the Flow”

Implement a simple framework for employees to share ideas and suggestions to complex and simple problems provides a great value to the organization. An “idea” usually comes or becomes fruition from a different “idea”. Ideas turn into concepts in turn leads to valuable initiatives that helps the organization. Provide the ability for all ranks of employees to suggest ideas/solutions in the enterprise collaboration platform in a “transparent” way. This will lead to creativity and innovation, boost employee satisfaction and morale across the organization.

Efficient Communication+Collaboration+Interaction+Sharing Knowledge & Ideas “Naturally” leads to Process Improvement, Process Excellence, Break Down of Silos, Creativity & Innovation across the Organization

The above adoption strategies & steps results in break-down of silos, facilitate learning, capture knowledge in an efficient way, discover people, skills, expertise and information quickly & easily, manage & collaborate on projects efficiently.

You will need to do the following adoption strategies on a continuous basis to complement the above strategies

  • Do road-shows, conduct hands-on training/workshops, 101 sessions.
  • Recruit passionate evangelists & champions to be the ambassadors and demonstrate the value of the platform and be community managers.
  • Communicate on success stories & business use cases, key metrics, achievements.
  • Introduce new features & capabilities regularly.
  • Recognize top contributors, collaborators & success stories.

Appreciate your feedback and comments. I would like to learn what type of adoption strategies you have implemented at your organization.

Contact Info

LinkedIn  kchakkarapani@yahoo.com

Social Business Strategy – 15 Key Steps for Successful Implementation

July 20, 2011 3 comments

    Key Strategy Steps & Activities for a successful implementation of “Social Business”  platform. These are based on my implementation experience (including lessons learned), reading best practices & articles and listening to other implementers/peers/experts in this space.

Implementing an Enterprise Collaboration platform is different from other projects. This is more of a business project (not a technology project) as it touches all aspects of the business and processes. I recently did a presentation on my “Enterprise Collaboration & Innovation platform” journey at Enterprise 2.0 and CIO: IT Leadership Conferences(Enterprise 2.0 Presentation Link, IT Leadership Strategies Presentation Link)

Well before I list the steps….we need to standardize on the name for this platform (I will leave this to the industry veterans and experts). These are the names I have come across so far – Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Collaboration, Enterprise Social Collaboration, Social Intranet, Social Enterprise, Social Business, Social Networking for Business.

For this blog, I will use the term “Enterprise Collaboration”. (Under the assumption that you can Collaborate if you are Social). By the way, I am very passionate about this area so some of the steps will be in detail).

Thanks to all who have provided feedback and comments on the steps/activities. I have taken all your input and updated this post. This is one more example of “real-time collaborating” that provides value to me and to all who are interested in this subject. We can/could get the same benefits and value within the enterprise – Share, learn, connect and network (:-

KEY STRATEGY STEPS & ACTIVITIES

STEP 1: Assessment – Understand the Current Environment/Readiness

  • Assess the leadership support and paradigm. What type of support exists from the leadership team to have an open and transparent collaboration platform in the organization?
  • Conduct surveys, interviews and focus group sessions with stakeholders to understand the challenges and issues they are currently facing, communication and collaboration issues, work flow issues, project delays etc.
  • Assess awareness of social media environment – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Assess readiness of enterprise collaboration in the organization.
  • How is the job getting done? Projects, day-to-day tasks, communication etc.
  • How is the content created, updated, managed and shared? How is the content consumed?
  • What type of relationships exists?
  • Is there an overload or lack of communication? How is communication consumed and shared?
  • What are the current tools and modes of communication & collaboration? How is it used? Is it productive? Does it overlap?
  • What are other peer industries doing in this space? What’s the collaboration benchmark? This assessment will be helpful to know your current state and measure the progress over time.

STEP 2: Develop a compelling Strategy

  • What’s the vision? Where do we want to go? Why do we want to go there?
  • How does it align with the organization’s strategy, goals, objectives & values?

STEP 3: Develop a strong Business Case

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Key Objectives? In terms of Innovation, Idea generation, Collaboration, Communication, Excellence, Learning & Support, Competitive advantage etc
  • How does it align to the strategy?
  • What are the key drivers?
  • Why now? How does having an enterprise collaboration platform help being a “True” & “Efficient” Social Enterprise and compliment traditional/offline collaboration methods?
  • How is this different from Knowledge management tools?
  • Who will benefit? Key stakeholders? Internal (employees), External (customers, partners, vendors)?
  • What are the benefits & “VALUE” in business terms? Productivity, Satisfaction, Process Improvement etc
  • How will engagement and morale improve?
  • What challenges, issues or pain points does this address? If not addressed, what’s the impact?
  • How does it impact other business processes?
  • Key sponsors (Management buy-in is very important on a continuous basis)
  • Investment required? Cost, time and effort?
  • ROI? How about ROE (Return on Engagement)? In this case, ROE should emphasize more on business outcomes, engagement rather than $$$$, Measure the progress.
  • Identify the key metrics – adoption, use, impact, value etc
  • Last but not the least – What are the risks?

STEP 4: Develop a Road map/Implementation Plan

  • Develop a project plan (Agile project methodology is highly recommended)
  • Form a steering committee (advisory council or governance committee)
  • Define requirements & design
  • Evaluate vendors & select the right platform/solution
  • Develop an adoption strategy & plan
  • Develop communication, marketing, change management & training plans
  • Implement solution & adoption strategies (See related post on 10 Key Adoption Strategies)
  • Do communication & marketing
  • Conduct training
  • Listen, monitor and analyze usage
  • Do continuous improvements and changes
  • Partner & collaborate with the vendor

STEP 5: Form a Steering Committee (Advisory council or Governance Committee)

  • Define the goals and objectives of the steering committee/council. One of the main goals of this team should be to listen/communicate with the senior leadership and management team and also communicate to the organization as a whole for buy-in and adoption.
  • What are the roles and responsibilities?
  • What will be
  • What decisions will they take?
  • What type of information will they publish and communicate? One of the main deliverables should be ‘Leadership Playbook’ which details out the game plan, communication guidelines. This will help the leadership & senior management team to have an “Unified” message.
  • Identify members – It is recommended to have different members for different stages of the project. This will provide good support & buy-in throughout the project including after go-live. Initial stage – senior management, Design & implementation stage – mid-level management, Roll-out/Post go-live – mix of senior management, mid level management & employees.
  • Meet and communicate regularly with the committee.

STEP 6: Define Requirements & Design

  • Identify & document functional requirements. Map each requirement to the business value, benefits and collaboration patterns. Categorize it by importance and weight.
  • Identify & document technology requirements. Map each requirement to the functional requirements. Categorize it by importance and weight.
  • Draft a high-level business design & architecture diagram (see sample architecture, cloud security and single sign-on architecture) – in terms of people, process and technology.

Sample Enterprise Collaboration Architecture

Sample Cloud / SaaS Identity Management & SSO Architecture

STEP 7: Evaluate Vendors & Select the right Platform/Solution

  • Document technology vendor selection requirements & criteria (SaaS, Hybrid SaaS etc) linked to the above requirements. Following are some of the requirements to look for in the platform.
  • Click here for sample Enterprise Collaboration platform vendor selection criteria & framework (SaaS) under the ‘Vendor Evaluation & Selection’ section.
  • Evaluate the vendor solution across 4 main categories – Information sharing, communications, social networking and an integrated user experience.
  • Does it meet the SLATES requirement? Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extension & Links
  • What collaboration features & tools are available?
  • What’s the vendor product strategy, road map? Who is the management?
  • Does the vendor keep in the pace with the market especially the growing collaboration market?
  • What type of solution does the vendor provide? SaaS, Hybrid SaaS?
  • How is the product’s architecture and other features tie to the current infrastructure and architecture?
  • What type of APIs or web services are there?
  • What type of security and SSO is provided?
  • What are the licensing terms?
  • What type of support and maintenance provided? What’s the effort for internal IT team?
  • What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
  • What type of support will they provide for other integration vendors/partners?
  • Can the information be aggregated from multiple sources & formats?
  • What type of user dashboards/reports and management dashboards/analytical reports are available?
  • Assess how the vendor solution align with these categories and the requirements identified in Step 6?
  • Rank and select the vendor that meet your requirements & objectives.

STEP 8: Develop an Adoption Strategy & Plan (See related post on 10 Key Adoption Strategies)

  • What is the adoption goal, objectives, timeline, metrics?
  • What adoption strategies can be done to achieve maximum business benefit, value & immediate impact?
  • Identify the champions and ambassadors who will market and use the platform initially?
  • What are some of the current communication modes & channels that can be replaced to get maximum adoption?
  • Who will benefit the most? Does it align with the requirement that are ranked high on importance, business benefit & value?
  • What policies & procedures need to be set to get maximum adoption?
  • Identify & document functional adoption use cases – Intranet, RSS, external social media integration, organization wide calendar, resource library, corporate services (legal, IT, finance, HR, audit, administration, travel etc)
  • Identify & document technology adoption use cases – Single Sign-on to other apps, outlook integration, IM integration, document and video integration, audio/video conferencing integration, active directory integration (helps sync the profile data automatically)
  • Identify & document Application adoption use cases – Integration to CRM, HR/Payroll, help desk, BI applications to manage work tasks seamlessly via activity streams within the platform.
  • Identify & document Process adoption use cases – In terms of “In the flow” process, does it improve the process? – Project management & collaboration, communication, strategy alignment to projects, project status reports etc

STEP 9: Develop Communication, Marketing, Change management & Training plans

  • Clearly define and document the communication, marketing, change management & training plan. This is the most important step in the entire project.
  • Communication plan – What needs to be communicated? Leadership Playbook, Guidelines, Policies etc. More emphasis should be on business benefits & value, “What’s in it for me? rather than features and tools. How is this valuable than the email? Who needs to be communicated? What’s the frequency of the communication? How will it be communicated? Where will it be communicated – places, signage etc? How will the new features be introduced without overwhelming the users? Communication needs to occur throughout the project.
  • Marketing plan – How will this be marketed? Newsletters, video, management meetings, social meetings/games, incentives for users who have contributed to the most, social currency, buzz, trivia, innovative ways etc. This will help boost user’s morale and motivation to collaborate and share more info. This will also help them to raise their profile in the organization. Come up with a logo, tag line and maybe an avatar for the platform.
  • Change management plan- “This is the most important of all” – Clearly identify and define what existing processes, activities & tasks will be changed/impacted by this platform. Communicate these to key stakeholders and users earlier on and get buy-in. This plan will help the overall adoption.
  • Training plan – Identify the training requirements in detail – user awareness of social media and tools (see sample video from the guru himself), what training materials needs to be developed, what type of demos and training sessions need to be conducted, what will be the training format – classroom, hands-on, webinars, video tutorials? who will do the training (champions), how often will the training be conducted?

STEP 10: Implement Solution & Adoption Strategies

  • Review and refine the tasks based on requirements & adoption strategies by phase and priority to meet the overall. It is recommended to launch the platform in phases and introduce features gradually. Start with introducing basic features. This will help with adoption, training and usage of the platform and not overwhelm the users.
  • Get approval from management and steering committee.
  • Design, develop, test and implement the solution in a test mode.
  • Communicate on the release & training.
  • Release the solution in a beta/pilot mode, to a few business units.
  • Release the solution to the entire organization.
  • Implement & manage the adoption strategies (community managers, champions, evangelists) to help users to adopt to the new platform, create profiles, create communities, create & share content, use collaboration tools in conjunction with traditional methods, social games/prizes, implement & show the value of the collaboration platform related to the adoption use cases identified in Step 8.

STEP 11: D0 Communication & Marketing

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – “This says it all”.
  • Communicate on the training.
  • Communicate and market on the business outcomes, benefits, value, use cases, customer testimonials (video recommended), process excellence.

STEP 12: Conduct Training

  • Conduct training sessions – demos, road shows, hands-on, classroom, webinars and video tutorials, Social media 101 sessions.
  • For the hands-on and classroom, conduct it more like a 2 part workshop rather than a presentation/demo. Pair the users (social + non-social media experts+champions), have the users create a page, join a group, send a message, create a project etc, give a group assignment that has many collaboration tasks using the platform, have them present their assignment in the next workshop – I guess you got the idea here.

Step 13: Listen, Monitor and Analyze Usage

  • Continuously listen and monitor the platform usage (metrics).
  • How are we measuring against the metrics?
  • Have a good support/help desk process & system for users to report issues, requests, suggestions & feedback.
  • Do data mining and analysis of the usage and change the implementation and adoption strategies.

Step 14: Do Continuous Improvements and Changes

  • Release changes, new features and improvements in a periodic basis and not all at the same time.
  • Communicate on the new features, success stories, testimonials regularly.
  • Conduct training sessions in many formats continuously.
  • Meet with users on a continuous basis to get their feedback and suggestions, show the new features and tools.
  • Meet with the steering committee/advisory council on a continuous basis (and change the membership regularly).

Step 15: Partner & Collaborate with the Vendor

  • Have a strong partnership with the vendor rather than a just a vendor-client relationship. You will need their support on a continuous basis. This will need to be “Win-Win” relationship.
  • Be part of the customer council/committee to hear about the new features, product road map and strategy, suggest features & enhancements.
  • Do presentations and webinars at the industry conference & vendor’s events. This is the best opportunity to showcase your solution, network with other customers/peers and provide a good opportunity to share & learn.

CLOSING THOUGHTS & COMMENTS

  • Effective Communication + Collaboration + Interaction + Sharing Knowledge & Ideas “Naturally Leads To” Process Improvement, Process Excellence, Break Down Silos, Creativity & Innovation across the Organization
  • In order to be a “True” Social Enterprise to efficiently & effectively collaborate & interact with customer & partners, it is very important for employees to collaborate and interact internally with the Enterprise Collaboration platform. This will also be useful and come in handy when software vendors (ERP, CRM, User Computing) start adding more of social collaboration tools to their products (many of the vendors have already started doing this).
  • The increasing number of young generation employees (Gen X & Gen Y) and the integrated global business networks are driving the need for new & better collaboration tools necessary. To meet tomorrow’s organization’s needs, we cannot work on yesterday’s tools? It is time to move and look beyond emails, file shares and static intranet (< or = Web 1.0) as the business communication & collaboration tools.
  • Enterprise Collaboration platforms should bridge the gap between Gen X/Y and Gen E, align with Gen E’s work processes, culture and gradually make them comfortable on using the new tools.
  • Encourage “Culture” of sharing & collaboration across the organization.
  • Last but not the least – Communicate on the value created by using the Enterprise Collaboration platform regularly.

Contact Info

LinkedIn  kchakkarapani@yahoo.com

Enterprise Collaboration Adoption Strategies – 10 Key Steps and Best Practices

July 12, 2011 9 comments

  This is follow-up post to my article on Enterprise Collaboration Strategy – 15 Key Strategy Steps for  Successful Implementation.

You have now implemented Enterprise Collaboration Platform (Social Enterprise, Social Business, Social Intranet, Enterprise 2.0 etc) and rolled it out to the entire organization. You celebrated your go-live, got great initial traffic, momentum, usage and had some success. Great! (If you have not implemented and you are in the initial stage, you can still apply the following info to your project).

Now the difficult part kicks in – “Adoption & Use“.  How do you keep up the momentum?

Employees will adopt and use the platform more if they can “do” & “get” the work done more efficiently and effectively.  They will not find the enterprise collaboration platform useful (few examples) -

  • If it is just one more place to find information
  • Not required to get any work done
  • Requires one more login/password
  • Not all the employees are on the platform
  • Cannot discover people/skills due to lack of profile completeness
  • Cannot find important information
  • Has more “white noise” rather than useful information
  • Lack of participation
  • Not used for organization wide communication & updates
  • Lack of communication on the purpose of the platform.

You may face or are already facing the following questions.

  • Are employees using all the great features, tools and capabilities of the platform to the expectations?
  • Is the platform meeting all the business objectives identified in the business case? In terms of  Innovation, Idea generation, Collaboration, Communication, Excellence, Learning & Support, Competitive advantage?
  • Is the platform improving the key business processes that you identified?
  • Is the platform enabling the capture and management of knowledge across the organization? Is it facing the same fate of Knowledge Management system?
  • Is the platform driving more employee engagement, communication, collaboration, interaction and sharing of information across the organization?
  • Is the platform driving process improvement, excellence and innovation across the organization?
  • Do all the employees have an account in the platform? If they have an account, do they have a complete profile? Are they actively using the platform?
  • Finally, is the adoption and usage decreasing?

If the platform doesn’t meet some/all of the above, you will need to implement some basic, simple, creative and innovative adoption strategies and best practices. This will help to gain more adoption and usage of the platform, provide “real” business value. How do you do this? What are key strategies or action steps you can take to achieve this?

I have detailed the top “Adoption” strategies and best practices that you can implement for the Enterprise Collaboration Platform. This is based on my implementation experience, lessons learned, reading best practices & articles and listening to other experts in this space.

I am a strong proponent of applying Six Sigma (process improvement, quality & excellence), Lean Management (remove waste in processes) and ITIL (find info quick and easily, service Catalog) methodologies & principles to everyday work processes that can create true business value.  “Yes” you can leverage and implement these powerful/high impact methodologies for Enterprise Collaboration platforms as well. I have leveraged these methodologies for some of the adoption strategies that I have listed below.

Adoption Strategies & Best Practices (By Importance)

1:  Provide Single Sign-On to Enterprise Collaboration Platform

2:  Provide Seamless Single Sign-On to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

3: Provide Easy Access to the Enterprise Collaboration Platform – Any location, Any Device, Any time (Securely)

4:  Make the platform as a “One Stop” Hub for Information – “The Intranet”

5. Provide seamless integration to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

6: Provide Seamless Integration to Document & Digital Media Management – “In the Flow”

7: Implement Strategy Alignment Framework – “In the Flow”

8: Implement Project Management & Collaboration Framework - “In the Flow”

9: Implement Corporate Services Information Framework - “In the Flow”

10: Implement Innovation & Idea Center Framework - “In the Flow”

1:  Provide Single Sign-On to Enterprise Collaboration Platform

The last thing you want in the enterprise collaboration platform is to have employees remember one more login/password to access it. This is a “killer”. Implement a single sign-on solution for the collaboration platform that allows employees to launch the platform from the desktop/browser/Citrix/VPN and automatically be logged in.

The best approach is to integrate the platform with the active directory (or related user identity store) and integrate Active Directory to the HR system. This helps to keep the data in collaboration platform, Active Directory and HR system in sync. This way you can have/show all the relevant employee information (name, title, contact info, skills, manager, direct reports etc) in the collaboration platform automatically and not do any imports. This also helps to improve security. Only employees who have an active account in the Active Directory will have access to the collaboration platform. By doing this, you will now have the company directory with more info in the collaboration platform.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access the collaboration platform and administrators to keep the data in sync.

See related post on Cloud Security, Identity Management & SaaS Single Sign-On – What’s the business value?

2:  Provide Seamless Single Sign-On to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

Implement an Identity management that provides seamless single sign-on from the collaboration platform to all the key enterprise applications (especially SaaS based apps ). This is one of the best adoption strategies. This helps employees to access the key applications and makes it as part of their workflow process (“In the flow”). This also helps employees not to remember their user name and password for the increasing number of SaaS apps and especially when each of the SaaS app have their own password and identity management policies.

This approach applies the Six Sigma principle, decrease the number of password resets/forgot password functions  (“defects”) that needs to be performed by the app administrators and improve the process for employees to access the key enterprise applications  quickly/easily and also improve the overall quality of the identity management.

See related post on Cloud Security, Identity Management & SaaS Single Sign-On – What’s the business value?

Sample SSO/Identity Management Architecture

3: Provide Easy Access to the Platform – Any location, Any Device, Any time (Securely)

Provide easy access and compatibility to the enterprise collaboration platform from any device, any application, any time, any location in a secure way with single sign-on. By implementing #2 and this step, employees will have a seamless, easy and quick way to access the Collaboration platform and SaaS applications as well.

4:  Make the platform as a “One Stop” Hub for Information – “The Intranet”

Sample Enterprise Collaboration Architecture

This is the “Best” adoption strategy that you can do to drive adoption and usage of the enterprise collaboration platform across the organization.

Typically in organizations, there are many platforms that employees access to get their work done – Intranets (News & Updates, Strategy, HR, Benefits, Finance), Business Applications (CRM, BI, Payroll), Project Portals, Wikis, Email, Audio/Video Conferencing etc. The common problem is employees will have to access these platforms separately to get work done. This is a “killer” and lot of valuable time is lost.

Intranets provide a lot of info (static) mostly around content. Making/integrating this as part of the collaboration platform links the content with people and this helps to get more context and value. Integrating intranet, business applications, project portals, email, audio/video conferencing tools in to the enterprise collaboration platform (“One Stop Hub”) will help attract employees to come to the platform. Thi helps them to get work done (“in the flow”) more easily and quickly, drive more traffic & adoption and result in more “true” collaboration activities.

For example, if there is a news article (intranet) in the collaboration platform , employees can see the content and also connect with the author of the article and collaborate on the article.  Following are some other good examples:

  • Publish intranet content – Strategy, HR/Benefits information, forms, faqs, policies and procedures. Employees can connect and collaborate with the HR team and get more information.
  • Publish corporate services information – IT , Finance, Audit, HR, Payroll, Administration. Employees can search and find info on services quickly and connect with the team to learn additional info.
  • Integrate or sync to email/calendar functions – Employees can manage the emails/calendar within the platform or view the collaboration activities within the email platform.
  • Integrate to audio, video conferencing and IM capabilities – Employees can discover people based on profile/skills and quickly connect with them based on their availability/connection status. This brings the “human” element into the collaboration platform.
  • Integrate to project portals – Publish portfolio, status, news & updates and feed it to the activity stream based on employee subscription/interest. Employees based on their subscription can get a 360 degrees view of the project – strategy alignment, sponsors, team, status updates, action items etc and connect with them to collaborate or find more info about the project.
  • Integrate to IT help desk system – Employees can submit tickets, request status updates and collaborate with the IT team.
  • Integrate to business applications (CRM, BI) – Employees can view or share customer info/leads to the appropriate group and collaborate, they can access BI reports and share them with the groups and collaborate to discover more insights.
  • Integrate to enterprise search – Employees can do enterprise search and get results from intranet and collaboration platform rather than doing separate searches in each platform. This is similar to how Google and Bing displays search results from Twitter within the results.

Employees should get the necessary info based on their interest and subscription in a timely manner for them to take the necessary actions.

It may be daunting to do some or all the above. “Yes” it is. Try your best to implement some of the above. Most of the platforms in the market have very good APIs or web services to do the above integration to push/pull information. If these services are not available, think of different ways how you can bring this information (even at a higher level) into the collaboration platform or feed info back.

5. Provide seamless integration to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

Provide a seamless integration to key enterprise applications such as CRM, Corporate directory and BI systems. This will provide a lot of value to employees to get work done easily and faster and make it as part of their work processes.

If a sales person is working on an active prospect/lead, this info is usually captured in a CRM system. How about if this info is shared with a group of employees or to a specific group from the CRM system to the collaboration platform? Others in the organization can provide valuable info or collaborate on this lead which may help the sales person to close in on the lead. How about if an employee queries customer info in the CRM system (based on security) right from the collaboration platform? Based on the info the employee gets from the CRM system, the employee can share this info with others or a specific group and discover more info.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access the CRM info.

A BI report is usually sent via email or by auto distribution to the team and management on a regular basis. The team typically analyzes the report, may be exchange some insights via email, phone or meetings. How about if this BI report is fed into the group’s page or activity stream from BI system automatically? This way the team can collaborate on the report, share ideas, insights etc and others can collaborate or react on the info.  All this info is captured for future references and can be discovered easily by keywords or context instead of going back to the emails or meetings notes that not everyone has easy access.

6: Provide Seamless Integration to Document & Digital Media Management – “In the Flow”

Managing & sharing documents (applies to digital media as well) efficiently and effectively is an “art” than “science”. This is one of the most common tasks that employees performs to do their day-to-day work tasks. Typically employees spend a lot of time managing and searching for documents and they share the documents through emails/file shares. By doing this, documents are all over the place – file servers, document portals, emails, ftp servers etc.

If you have a document management system (Google docs, Box, Dropbox, Sharepoint etc) to manage and store your documents – your life is much easier. How about if you can integrate/embed the documents within the collaboration platform workspaces/pages – groups, strategy, projects, intranets etc and tag them appropriately.

By doing this integration, you can create and store the documents in the document management system and you can collaborate/share within the collaboration platform. Now you have content + people in one place. Employees can see who has created the documents and can collaborate with the author to get more info, share more ideas or update the documents. This also triggers an update to the activity stream that others in the platform can view/share. This results in a “true” collaboration and provide more real feeds that employees can take action rather than the “white noise’. Employees can also search for documents (in the document management system based on tags) within the platform rather than going to the document management system.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access and share documents.

7: Implement Strategy Alignment Framework – “In the Flow”

Communicating on strategy and vision to employees is very important for any organization. Typically organizations post the strategy info on the intranet for everyone to view.

How about if this strategy info is published within the collaboration platform? And if each strategy drill-downs to strategy steps, activities & projects is published as well? By doing this way, employees can see the strategy info in detail, business alignment, project alignment, related documents, news & updates, search info quickly, ask questions, share ideas, see how their work is contributing to the overall strategy – all within the collaboration platform.

This improves strategy awareness across the organziation, facilitates learning and helps to break-down silos

8: Implement Project Management & Collaboration Framework - “In the Flow”

Sample Strategy/Project Alignment Framework

This is closely aligned with the Strategy framework in #7. The success of any project usually depends on how well you collaborate and communicate with the team and stakeholders. What other platform is more appropriate than the Enterprise Collaboration Platform?

By publishing, managing or integrating all the project info into the collaboration platform, employees can collaborate and share the project info with team or groups, ask questions and share ideas – all of which will feed into the activity stream that others can view/share as well. This leads to less “white noise” and more towards valuable information.

Following are some of the benefits & value.

  • Efficient alignment of strategy to projects
  • Dynamic strategic mapping
  • Improved communication, collaboration & interaction among management & employees
  • Efficient project management collaboration
  • Increased employee awareness of  strategies, goals & projects
  • Find relevant information faster and easier
  • Share ideas, comments & solutions faster & easily
  • Fosters innovation & creativity to problems
  • Drive towards organized communication
  • Eliminate email communication

This approach applies the Six Sigma & Lean Management principle. Improve the quality of project management process & collaboration (“communication defects”) and eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access and share project information.

9: Implement Corporate Services Framework - “In the Flow”

Sample Corporate Services Framework

For employees to do their work tasks efficiently and effectively, it’s important for them to be aware of all the corporate services (HR, Benefits, Payroll, Finance, IT, Administration, Printing etc) that are available to them. They need to know how to access relevant info,  services, request new services, report issues/requests and know who are the contacts? The last obstacle you don’t want to have is for employees unable to find the necessary information in time.

This info is typically published  on the intranet. How about if this info is published and managed in the Collaboration Platform via work spaces, groups, wikis etc? This way employees can search and find information easily and quickly, ask questions, share and collaborate ideas, suggest improvements and ask for new services – all of which will feed into the activity stream that others can view/share as well. This leads to less “white noise” and more towards valuable information.

Following are some of the benefits & value.

  • Direct communication between corporate services & employees
  • Improved communication & collaboration
  • Increased employee awareness of corporate services & support available – this is especially helpful for new employees.
  • Find relevant information & updates faster
  • Self-Service, FAQs, self-help resources
  • Improved customer service & satisfaction
  • Drive towards organized communication
  • Eliminated email communication

This approach applies the ITIL principle, share and manage the all the services that are available for employees.

10: Implement Innovation & Idea Center Framework - “In the Flow”

Implement a simple framework for employees to share ideas and suggestions to complex and simple problems provides a great value to the organization. An “idea” usually comes or becomes fruition from a different “idea”. Ideas turn into concepts in turn leads to valuable initiatives that helps the organization. Provide the ability for all ranks of employees to suggest ideas/solutions in the enterprise collaboration platform in a “transparent” way. This will lead to creativity and innovation, boost employee satisfaction and morale across the organization.

Efficient Communication+Collaboration+Interaction+Sharing Knowledge & Ideas “Naturally” leads to Process Improvement, Process Excellence, Break Down of Silos, Creativity & Innovation across the Organization

The above adoption strategies & steps results in break-down of silos, facilitate learning, capture knowledge in an efficient way, discover people, skills, expertise and information quickly & easily, manage & collaborate on projects efficiently.

You will need to do the following adoption strategies on a continuous basis to complement the above strategies

  • Do road-shows, conduct hands-on training/workshops, 101 sessions.
  • Recruit passionate evangelists & champions to be the ambassadors and demonstrate the value of the platform and be community managers.
  • Communicate on success stories & business use cases, key metrics, achievements.
  • Introduce new features & capabilities regularly.
  • Recognize top contributors, collaborators & success stories.

Appreciate your feedback and comments. I would like to learn what type of adoption strategies you have implemented at your organization.

Contact Info

LinkedIn  kchakkarapani@yahoo.com

Enterprise Collaboration Strategy – 15 Key Steps for Successful Implementation

July 2, 2011 9 comments

    Key Strategy Steps & Activities for a successful implementation of “Enterprise Collaboration”  platform. These are based on my implementation experience (including lessons learned), reading best practices & articles and listening to other implementers/peers/experts in this space.

Implementing an Enterprise Collaboration platform is different from other projects. This is more of a business project (not a technology project) as it touches all aspects of the business and processes. I recently did a presentation on my “Enterprise Collaboration & Innovation platform” journey at Enterprise 2.0 and CIO: IT Leadership Conferences(Enterprise 2.0 Presentation Link, IT Leadership Strategies Presentation Link)

Well before I list the steps….we need to standardize on the name for this platform (I will leave this to the industry veterans and experts). These are the names I have come across so far – Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Collaboration, Enterprise Social Collaboration, Social Intranet, Social Enterprise, Social Business, Social Networking for Business.

For this blog, I will use the term “Enterprise Collaboration”. (Under the assumption that you can Collaborate if you are Social). By the way, I am very passionate about this area so some of the steps will be in detail).

Thanks to all who have provided feedback and comments on the steps/activities. I have taken all your input and updated this post. This is one more example of “real-time collaborating” that provides value to me and to all who are interested in this subject. We can/could get the same benefits and value within the enterprise – Share, learn, connect and network (:-

KEY STRATEGY STEPS & ACTIVITIES

STEP 1: Assessment – Understand the Current Environment/Readiness

  • Assess the leadership support and paradigm. What type of support exists from the leadership team to have an open and transparent collaboration platform in the organization?
  • Conduct surveys, interviews and focus group sessions with stakeholders to understand the challenges and issues they are currently facing, communication and collaboration issues, work flow issues, project delays etc.
  • Assess awareness of social media environment – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Assess readiness of enterprise collaboration in the organization.
  • How is the job getting done? Projects, day-to-day tasks, communication etc.
  • How is the content created, updated, managed and shared? How is the content consumed?
  • What type of relationships exists?
  • Is there an overload or lack of communication? How is communication consumed and shared?
  • What are the current tools and modes of communication & collaboration? How is it used? Is it productive? Does it overlap?
  • What are other peer industries doing in this space? What’s the collaboration benchmark? This assessment will be helpful to know your current state and measure the progress over time.

STEP 2: Develop a compelling Strategy

  • What’s the vision? Where do we want to go? Why do we want to go there?
  • How does it align with the organization’s strategy, goals, objectives & values?

STEP 3: Develop a strong Business Case

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Key Objectives? In terms of Innovation, Idea generation, Collaboration, Communication, Excellence, Learning & Support, Competitive advantage etc
  • How does it align to the strategy?
  • What are the key drivers?
  • Why now? How does having an enterprise collaboration platform help being a “True” & “Efficient” Social Enterprise and compliment traditional/offline collaboration methods?
  • How is this different from Knowledge management tools?
  • Who will benefit? Key stakeholders? Internal (employees), External (customers, partners, vendors)?
  • What are the benefits & “VALUE” in business terms? Productivity, Satisfaction, Process Improvement etc
  • How will engagement and morale improve?
  • What challenges, issues or pain points does this address? If not addressed, what’s the impact?
  • How does it impact other business processes?
  • Key sponsors (Management buy-in is very important on a continuous basis)
  • Investment required? Cost, time and effort?
  • ROI? How about ROE (Return on Engagement)? In this case, ROE should emphasize more on business outcomes, engagement rather than $$$$, Measure the progress.
  • Identify the key metrics – adoption, use, impact, value etc
  • Last but not the least – What are the risks?

STEP 4: Develop a Road map/Implementation Plan

  • Develop a project plan (Agile project methodology is highly recommended)
  • Form a steering committee (advisory council or governance committee)
  • Define requirements & design
  • Evaluate vendors & select the right platform/solution
  • Develop an adoption strategy & plan
  • Develop communication, marketing, change management & training plans
  • Implement solution & adoption strategies (See related post on 10 Key Adoption Strategies)
  • Do communication & marketing
  • Conduct training
  • Listen, monitor and analyze usage
  • Do continuous improvements and changes
  • Partner & collaborate with the vendor

STEP 5: Form a Steering Committee (Advisory council or Governance Committee)

  • Define the goals and objectives of the steering committee/council. One of the main goals of this team should be to listen/communicate with the senior leadership and management team and also communicate to the organization as a whole for buy-in and adoption.
  • What are the roles and responsibilities?
  • What will be
  • What decisions will they take?
  • What type of information will they publish and communicate? One of the main deliverables should be ‘Leadership Playbook’ which details out the game plan, communication guidelines. This will help the leadership & senior management team to have an “Unified” message.
  • Identify members – It is recommended to have different members for different stages of the project. This will provide good support & buy-in throughout the project including after go-live. Initial stage – senior management, Design & implementation stage – mid-level management, Roll-out/Post go-live – mix of senior management, mid level management & employees.
  • Meet and communicate regularly with the committee.

STEP 6: Define Requirements & Design

  • Identify & document functional requirements. Map each requirement to the business value, benefits and collaboration patterns. Categorize it by importance and weight.
  • Identify & document technology requirements. Map each requirement to the functional requirements. Categorize it by importance and weight.
  • Draft a high-level business design & architecture diagram (see sample architecture, cloud security and single sign-on architecture) – in terms of people, process and technology.

Sample Enterprise Collaboration Architecture

Sample Cloud / SaaS Identity Management & SSO Architecture

STEP 7: Evaluate Vendors & Select the right Platform/Solution

  • Document technology vendor selection requirements & criteria (SaaS, Hybrid SaaS etc) linked to the above requirements. Following are some of the requirements to look for in the platform.
  • Click here for sample Enterprise Collaboration platform vendor selection criteria & framework (SaaS) under the ‘Vendor Evaluation & Selection’ section.
  • Evaluate the vendor solution across 4 main categories – Information sharing, communications, social networking and an integrated user experience.
  • Does it meet the SLATES requirement? Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extension & Links
  • What collaboration features & tools are available?
  • What’s the vendor product strategy, road map? Who is the management?
  • Does the vendor keep in the pace with the market especially the growing collaboration market?
  • What type of solution does the vendor provide? SaaS, Hybrid SaaS?
  • How is the product’s architecture and other features tie to the current infrastructure and architecture?
  • What type of APIs or web services are there?
  • What type of security and SSO is provided?
  • What are the licensing terms?
  • What type of support and maintenance provided? What’s the effort for internal IT team?
  • What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
  • What type of support will they provide for other integration vendors/partners?
  • Can the information be aggregated from multiple sources & formats?
  • What type of user dashboards/reports and management dashboards/analytical reports are available?
  • Assess how the vendor solution align with these categories and the requirements identified in Step 6?
  • Rank and select the vendor that meet your requirements & objectives.

STEP 8: Develop an Adoption Strategy & Plan (See related post on 10 Key Adoption Strategies)

  • What is the adoption goal, objectives, timeline, metrics?
  • What adoption strategies can be done to achieve maximum business benefit, value & immediate impact?
  • Identify the champions and ambassadors who will market and use the platform initially?
  • What are some of the current communication modes & channels that can be replaced to get maximum adoption?
  • Who will benefit the most? Does it align with the requirement that are ranked high on importance, business benefit & value?
  • What policies & procedures need to be set to get maximum adoption?
  • Identify & document functional adoption use cases – Intranet, RSS, external social media integration, organization wide calendar, resource library, corporate services (legal, IT, finance, HR, audit, administration, travel etc)
  • Identify & document technology adoption use cases – Single Sign-on to other apps, outlook integration, IM integration, document and video integration, audio/video conferencing integration, active directory integration (helps sync the profile data automatically)
  • Identify & document Application adoption use cases – Integration to CRM, HR/Payroll, help desk, BI applications to manage work tasks seamlessly via activity streams within the platform.
  • Identify & document Process adoption use cases – In terms of “In the flow” process, does it improve the process? – Project management & collaboration, communication, strategy alignment to projects, project status reports etc

STEP 9: Develop Communication, Marketing, Change management & Training plans

  • Clearly define and document the communication, marketing, change management & training plan. This is the most important step in the entire project.
  • Communication plan – What needs to be communicated? Leadership Playbook, Guidelines, Policies etc. More emphasis should be on business benefits & value, “What’s in it for me? rather than features and tools. How is this valuable than the email? Who needs to be communicated? What’s the frequency of the communication? How will it be communicated? Where will it be communicated – places, signage etc? How will the new features be introduced without overwhelming the users? Communication needs to occur throughout the project.
  • Marketing plan – How will this be marketed? Newsletters, video, management meetings, social meetings/games, incentives for users who have contributed to the most, social currency, buzz, trivia, innovative ways etc. This will help boost user’s morale and motivation to collaborate and share more info. This will also help them to raise their profile in the organization. Come up with a logo, tag line and maybe an avatar for the platform.
  • Change management plan- “This is the most important of all” – Clearly identify and define what existing processes, activities & tasks will be changed/impacted by this platform. Communicate these to key stakeholders and users earlier on and get buy-in. This plan will help the overall adoption.
  • Training plan – Identify the training requirements in detail – user awareness of social media and tools (see sample video from the guru himself), what training materials needs to be developed, what type of demos and training sessions need to be conducted, what will be the training format – classroom, hands-on, webinars, video tutorials? who will do the training (champions), how often will the training be conducted?

STEP 10: Implement Solution & Adoption Strategies

  • Review and refine the tasks based on requirements & adoption strategies by phase and priority to meet the overall. It is recommended to launch the platform in phases and introduce features gradually. Start with introducing basic features. This will help with adoption, training and usage of the platform and not overwhelm the users.
  • Get approval from management and steering committee.
  • Design, develop, test and implement the solution in a test mode.
  • Communicate on the release & training.
  • Release the solution in a beta/pilot mode, to a few business units.
  • Release the solution to the entire organization.
  • Implement & manage the adoption strategies (community managers, champions, evangelists) to help users to adopt to the new platform, create profiles, create communities, create & share content, use collaboration tools in conjunction with traditional methods, social games/prizes, implement & show the value of the collaboration platform related to the adoption use cases identified in Step 8.

STEP 11: D0 Communication & Marketing

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – “This says it all”.
  • Communicate on the training.
  • Communicate and market on the business outcomes, benefits, value, use cases, customer testimonials (video recommended), process excellence.

STEP 12: Conduct Training

  • Conduct training sessions – demos, road shows, hands-on, classroom, webinars and video tutorials, Social media 101 sessions.
  • For the hands-on and classroom, conduct it more like a 2 part workshop rather than a presentation/demo. Pair the users (social + non-social media experts+champions), have the users create a page, join a group, send a message, create a project etc, give a group assignment that has many collaboration tasks using the platform, have them present their assignment in the next workshop – I guess you got the idea here.

Step 13: Listen, Monitor and Analyze Usage

  • Continuously listen and monitor the platform usage (metrics).
  • How are we measuring against the metrics?
  • Have a good support/help desk process & system for users to report issues, requests, suggestions & feedback.
  • Do data mining and analysis of the usage and change the implementation and adoption strategies.

Step 14: Do Continuous Improvements and Changes

  • Release changes, new features and improvements in a periodic basis and not all at the same time.
  • Communicate on the new features, success stories, testimonials regularly.
  • Conduct training sessions in many formats continuously.
  • Meet with users on a continuous basis to get their feedback and suggestions, show the new features and tools.
  • Meet with the steering committee/advisory council on a continuous basis (and change the membership regularly).

Step 15: Partner & Collaborate with the Vendor

  • Have a strong partnership with the vendor rather than a just a vendor-client relationship. You will need their support on a continuous basis. This will need to be “Win-Win” relationship.
  • Be part of the customer council/committee to hear about the new features, product road map and strategy, suggest features & enhancements.
  • Do presentations and webinars at the industry conference & vendor’s events. This is the best opportunity to showcase your solution, network with other customers/peers and provide a good opportunity to share & learn.

CLOSING THOUGHTS & COMMENTS

  • Effective Communication + Collaboration + Interaction + Sharing Knowledge & Ideas “Naturally Leads To” Process Improvement, Process Excellence, Break Down Silos, Creativity & Innovation across the Organization
  • In order to be a “True” Social Enterprise to efficiently & effectively collaborate & interact with customer & partners, it is very important for employees to collaborate and interact internally with the Enterprise Collaboration platform. This will also be useful and come in handy when software vendors (ERP, CRM, User Computing) start adding more of social collaboration tools to their products (many of the vendors have already started doing this).
  • The increasing number of young generation employees (Gen X & Gen Y) and the integrated global business networks are driving the need for new & better collaboration tools necessary. To meet tomorrow’s organization’s needs, we cannot work on yesterday’s tools? It is time to move and look beyond emails, file shares and static intranet (< or = Web 1.0) as the business communication & collaboration tools.
  • Enterprise Collaboration platforms should bridge the gap between Gen X/Y and Gen E, align with Gen E’s work processes, culture and gradually make them comfortable on using the new tools.
  • Encourage “Culture” of sharing & collaboration across the organization.
  • Last but not the least – Communicate on the value created by using the Enterprise Collaboration platform regularly.

Contact Info

LinkedIn  kchakkarapani@yahoo.com

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