The Key to Enterprise Collaboration Software Adoption

Collaboration platforms are always deployed with high hopes and the best of intentions. Sadly, though, neither of these things have anything to do with whether it will be successful. While it may take quite some time for a failed deployment to go off the rails, you can be sure the stage was set in it's infancy.

Collaboration HandsAdoption or buy-in is the single most important factor that determines whether or not your deployment will be a success. You can build the perfect tool, but if nobody uses it, then all that time and effort has been wasted! This seems like a pretty obvious statement at face value and yet countless enterprise deployments have failed due to a lack of attention in this area...why is that?

First off it's important to note that we're entering a new era of technology. Long gone are the days when people went to work and used only corporate tools. Sure we use the company email system and other provided tools we need in order to get things we want but guess what....we've got a web browser!

We can go anywhere we want, FacebookLinkedInEvernote, the list goes on forever. Some companies are fine with this and others attempt to block access, but let's be honest, in today's world we all have smart phones, tablets, and laptops with our own personal internet connections. There's no stopping people from going where they want to go and using what they want to use, there's even a term for it that drives CIO's crazy as they try to maintain controlShadow IT.

So what exactly does all this mean? It means people have choices, which means you need to convince them that the enterprise platform you want them to use is worth their time and energy. Time and energy by the way are two resources that are in higher demand than ever before. Convincing people, commonly known as sales, is a skill and if you're good it can be a very lucrative skill. However I don't know too many salespeople I'd want to try and teach programming to, and herein lies the problem. Ready for it? Responsibility for driving adoption is often either not assigned or just dumped in the lap of the person building the tool.

If you want a successful roll-out you need to assign responsibility for adoption to a specific person (or group if it's a big company), probably not your developer, and most importantly you need to give that person the time and resources to carry out this task. Often times people quietly take this on, or worse, responsibility is officially given to them on top of everything else they are currently doing which of course already takes up more time than they have available!

The good news is that this is a pretty easy problem to address because the people that make the best advocates for your new system are everywhere. How do you find them? Look for the enthusiastic, energetic, outgoing person who loves to help others and is NOT super technical. These are the people you want to pair with those building and configuring the system because they are the ones that can communicate and influence the rest of the team.

Once you've identified these people, free up their time to focus on driving adoption. Put them in contact with managers, supervisors, and executives that are open to change and need help. Let them get a real understanding for what people are lacking and where they need the help of a collaboration platform. Give them a channel to share the successes they have and encourage those they help to spread the word. This is how adoption spreads - through a targeted and supported grassroots operation.

So we know we need to sell everyone on the system, but that doesn't mean your flag-bearers need to directly convince everyone in the company. They should be focusing on gaining the support of management, the higher up the better! Once the project is part of the company's strategic goals there are many things management can do to add fuel to the fire. These include:

  1. Emails and speeches should make clear that employee contribution is both needed and appreciated
  2. Include collaboration as part of employee reviews/compensation (if your company has that)
  3. Set an example by using the the tool regularly (The higher you are in the hierarchy, the more important it is.)

Larger companies can set up a working group of employees across various departments as experts and evangelists for the tool. Not only will these people help promote the build out of the system but they will also help cross pollinate ideas and best practices in the process.

There's no denying the power of the Intranet 2.0 or the "Social Intranet", organically capturing employee knowledge simply wasn't possible a decade ago. However this doesn't make Intranet 1.0 solutions irrelevant. Organizations need a way to communicate and organize their curated and evergreen content from the top down to each employee.

This is where the magic of the Linchpin solution comes in! By layering a powerful intranet 1.0 solution on top of Confluence (The #1 Enterprise Collaboration Platform) you get the best of both worlds. Each one driving adoption of the other. Watch our video here for more information.

This post was written for us by our US Partner M20 Tech. Get in touch with them for help learning about Linchpin or any other Atlassian related questions.

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Our blog articles reflect the situation at the time of writing and are not updated. It is therefore possible that the contents are outdated and no longer correspond to the latest developments. We do not accept any liability for this.

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