Making the Right Choices to Ensure an Effective Collaboration Solution Implementation

Making the Right Choices to Ensure an Effective Collaboration Solution Implementation

Making the right decisions when implementing collaboration software, is a lot like deciding on the right meals after returning from a long trip. Decide well and you’re rewarded with treat after treat. Decide poorly and you’re a glutton for punishment; or, more aptly, a glutton just getting punished.

It never fails. I leave cuisine rich Houston for a week or two and return craving my favorite foods, like an amazing steak, delicious TexMex fajitas, or some of that heavenly stuff called Texas BBQ. My pure enthusiasm to try all my favorites once led me to attempt to consume them all in one day. The result – nothing tasted great, I got a huge stomach ache, and needed a couple days to recover.

This scenario reminds me of conversations with some of our clients. They’ve lacked collaboration tools for so long that they want it all right now – executive dashboards with drilldown for business intelligence, enterprise search, information organization, team collaboration capabilities, and so on. When asked to define what’s most important, the response is invariably – IT ALL IS! It makes me feel like I’m being asked to serve up steak medium-rare, fajitas, and a side of BBQ. It just doesn’t taste good eaten all at once and it leads to a big stomach ache.

So why is it so difficult to implement all of these collaboration tools at the same time? Experience implementing a number of collaboration projects has shown me that the process requires a major cultural shift for organizations. Before implementing anything, an organization must go through the process of understanding how it currently collaborates and how it wants to collaborate. Only after this phase is complete, should the tools to facilitate this collaboration be implemented.

Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, is that a massive amount of training is required throughout an organization on how to do things differently; AND how to measure, monitor, and improve the effectiveness of using the new collaboration tools. Ultimately, the techniques and processes necessary to do this for search, BI, information storage, team sites, etc. , are all different and each requires a real investment of time and effort to address effectively. Doing too much at once renders everything ineffective.

The secret is to take a managed and measured approach. Luckily, at the Rand Group we’ve developed a good methodology for sorting through the options. Using our UpFront approach, we are able to quickly assess an organization’s needs, how they can best be addressed, and how the solutions can be aligned with achieving maximum business value. Voila – a fact based plan on how to proceed in order to get maximum value.

In some situations, an easy first step has been configuring enterprise search. For an organization with poor information “findability”, this almost always delivers instantaneous productivity improvements. It can be married with a longer term information organization, categorization, and management strategy that makes information progressively more findable and easy to manage.

In other organizations, data insights are the critical element, and we’re able to define an approach that provides initial insights that grow into a robust data warehousing and business intelligence strategy.

Whatever the roadmap, by implementing collaboration software in a managed, prioritized way, you won’t be a glutton trying to consume five things at once, but rather the connoisseur focusing on and savoring the benefits of one delicious nugget at a time.

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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