It’s about the people, people.
Posted by Pappas Advisors
I still find it rather interesting that so much conversation and debate still goes into what technologies to deploy within an enterprise searching for an enterprise community and collaboration platform. More often than I care it see, it’s still the case that there are hundreds of meetings around the topic of what technology to deploy in order to “enable” business collaboration and communication, yet there are rarely meetings or discussions that ask what employees actually need to be able to do more efficiently and effectively to continue to be successful in their roles. Instead, the first time many employees find out about the tool after it’s already been deployed across the organization. After all of the case studies from companies who have solutions in place that are operating successfully, how do organizations still find it so easy to forget the people that these tools are meant to impact?
In my experience, forgetting the people happens for a couple of reasons: 1 – It’s seemingly easier to analyze technology that offers a checklist of features and functions than it is to gather and analyze feedback from an entire organization of employees that have different ways of working and communicating; 2 – It’s seemingly easier to simply deploy a technology that professes to offers “the solution” to your business challenges than it is to actually dig in to those business challenges; 3 – Nobody wants to be the person that gathers feedback and then disappoints people when the solution doesn’t fit that individual’s description of the perfect collaboration tool.
When we’re looking at social solutions to deploy, it’s critical to remember that it should be about the PEOPLE first and foremost and enhancing the ways that they work, communicate and collaborate and about the tools secondarily. The technology is, after all, merely the enabler to the collaboration and communication we are seeking to enable.
It’s important for business leaders and technology enablers to understand the people they are attempting to provide a solution for, including their motivations, business pain points, and preferred ways of working in order to influence the solution. Do people need more access to information across the organization (think enterprise search type functionality here)? Are they having trouble finding the right person with the right subject matter expertise (think expertise location)? Do they need a place to share their own information to cut down on emails and phone calls (think central content repository)? Do they want to learn more about other programs and projects across the organization (think open communication)? Do they want to find out who is the lead on a given product, project or program (think resource location)? Do they need additional ideas to add to their roadmap (think crowd-sourcing) Perhaps they want to do something else?
Whatever their needs and goals, understanding their challenges and pain points puts you in a position to help them to solve their problems quickly and efficiently, and enables you to have the right conversations with vendors about how the tool can serve as a conduit for your employees to achieve their goals.
Putting solutions in place without getting feedback and buy-in from the business often leads to adoption challenges down the road because it tends to feel like “yet another technology or tool” is just being forced on people.
For all you that are leading or thinking of leading enterprise collaboration initiatives – remember to engage your stakeholders, gather their feedback and get them involved early on so that you can successfully deploy a solution that they’re already bought in to. Doing so will help you secure them as advocates for the future success of your initiative.
Image credit: Anna Brix Thomsen