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  • Writer's pictureMal Reid

Cloud Communication and Collaboration tools can go really wrong without careful planning. Why?

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

We have been working with the Microsoft Service Adoption and Teamwork framework tools for six months now and are beginning to see outstanding outcomes. Interestingly enough there are many companies that vote "No" to structuring an adoption program only to find themselves in a chaotic world of trouble. Here are some of my learnings for those moving to the cloud and introducing change driving transformation through communications and collaboration technology.

The secret is out and it just needs to be turned on with your Microsoft 365 tenant. Microsoft Teams are now used by 91 of the Top Fortune 100 companies, over 500,000 organisations and for very good reasons. You, your team and clients can adopt ways to seamlessly share and edit documents in real-time, have 1:1 video, chat and team or customer meetings globally on your PC or mobile device. Employees using Teams are saving 4 hours per week and experience approximately 17% reduction in emails. (Forrester Report)

As a project team member working remotely on various global and national projects for over 15 years I have never had the seamless experience this platform (that everyone already has without knowing) offers. My observations over many years across continents have found a number of common scenarios relating to collaboration, communications and adoption. I wonder if you can relate.

Are you still bombarded by the daily tsunami of emails, spreadsheets, storing them on their local drives or on the "Minefield" we call intranet work share and wasting precious time looking for the "right" version of that customer presentation?  This is the reality of the employee experience in every industry around the world.  Or is it? Collectively, as change and IT professionals, we have failed our employees by not enabling them with the desire for digital literacy. The good news is collaboration is a new way going forward.  

A common mistake in user adoption programs is to rollout too many new initiatives in a short space of time resulting in Change fatigue.

These are not motivating factors.  Employees love to drive results by connecting and collaborating. Stop and take the time to learn about and share with them how changes like the implementation of Microsoft Teams or other collaboration & communication solutions will deliver a better employee experience and benefit them in achieving their particular outcomes. 

With some coordinated planning of business stakeholders and IT Professionals, Microsoft Teams and other Office 365 workloads can support a self-service model.  This allows employees to create project teams on-demand and when they need them.  This reduction of demanding time with IT and IT services is a capability that will allow you to deliver a more secure environment for your company data by reducing your employee's reliance on consumer & shadow software.  

Perhaps you can develop some real-life use cases that people can relate to. Ask your Executives, Managers and Frontline staff a few questions about collaboration practices like;

"What do you like about how we collaborate here?"

"What tools do you use frequently to collaborate?"

"What is most annoying about trying to collaborate and get work done at our company?"

The answers may attract a very long list of software apps, clunky disparate communication tools and will differ across the board. At the same time you may discover that your stakeholders are ready for a transition to a modern collaborative communications experience. Your stakeholders may also be in denial or resistance to this change.  However, most stakeholders and executives realise the need for greater technical agility and innovation. 


1. Leadership Buy-in

Your stakeholders and executives are employees too. They may have unique needs but they too are emailing those spreadsheets around. Pay special attention by coaching and helping them transform how they communicate and collaborate to gain more vocal decision makers that will support your transformational change program. 

2. Go Digging for Champions

If you are an IT Pro or Leader who does not commonly handle, or is new to user adoption, find and nurture the curious. They are naturally helpful people in your organisation who are interested in enabling others improve their digital literacy.  These individuals (Potential Champions) often have invaluable information about business processes that can easily be improved.  Remember that the journey to improved collaboration is a human centered process that is not about the technology.  It's about the people. 

There are people who have an interest in and influence over your project, regardless of rank. They may not have direct accountability for anything you are working on but they remain influential in the organisation, especially if they decide to put up marked resistance to the change. To realise value from Teams, users must actually use it. Simply enabling Teams by switching it on and giving them a 2 hour training session doesn’t guarantee adoption and that you achieve your goals. Users have different reasons to use technology and varying learning styles, and they adapt to new technology at different speeds.

"One interesting fact I learned last year was that employees aged 45-74 years are the biggest advocates of collaboration and interpersonal communication".

Although X-Gen and Boomers may be more resistant to technology than our Millennials, they will adopt tools like Teams when they see how they connect people again rather than uni-dimensional dozens of emails about small decisions.

1. Organisational Readiness. Through this process, we can determine how receptive (or not) your users are likely to be to changing the way they work and adopting new technology. Understanding how users react to change empowers your organisation to proactively address concerns, adjust your rollout plan to get optimal buy-in, and identify users who can help you facilitate the change with their peers.

But I guess the most exciting thing about this for me is the opportunity to develop easy to implement Communications, Training and Stakeholder Management expectations to enable successful change projects.

For anyone thinking about adopting Microsoft Teams, we are happy to provide you with all the resources offered by the Microsoft Adoption Teamwork Resource kit. Contact us to kick off the next stage in your transformation toward collaboration and communication. Click Here

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