Online collaboration: Making it work for your organization

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Plenty of organizations have tried
to implement an online collaboration platform and
failed, so they are hesitant to try again. In my
experience, there are a few key points which will
make the adoption of online collaboration
successful.

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Online collaboration: Making it work for your organization

  1. 1. Online collaboration: Making it work for yourorganizationPauline Yau, Public Sector Engagement Manager, HuddleIn my role as a customer engagement managerhere at Huddle, I frequently get asked how otherorganizations have made online collaborationwork for them. Plenty of organizations have triedto implement an online collaboration platform andfailed, so they are hesitant to try again. In myexperience, there are a few key points which willmake the adoption of online collaborationsuccessful.1. Identify a project / program / campaign where there is a true need for online collaborationAll too often, I see an online collaboration tool that has been forced into an existing project orprogram, which doesn’t actually require it. If the established ways of working aren’t broken, why tryand fix them? The most successful implementations I’ve worked with have used online collaborationfrom the outset. The tool/service has been integrated into processes from the very beginning of theproject / program /campaign /consultation and as the work expands and grows, the onlinecollaboration tool becomes a valuable resource for content (both past and present) and sharingknowledge.2. A little bit of top-down pressure and leading by example goes a long wayIf you want the members of your project / program /campaign /consultation to use the tool you’veimplemented, practice what you preach! Get senior people involved and get them to use the tool.People are more inclined to adopt new technology if they see that the management team is using ittoo and not just trying to implement new technology for the sake of it.3. Make sure you establish best practice from the outsetOne of the frequent complaints I hear about using online collaboration is: “I used it once and gotinundated with email notifications.” If you’ve made the decision that your project is going to use anonline collaboration tool then set some policies about how your users will use it before you roll itout. You wouldn’t copy everyone in a project onto every email you ever send; likewise there’s noneed to notify every user of everything you ever do in your online collaboration tool. Think aboutwhat you’re going to use the tool for. Is it going to be a file repository and if so, how do you wantyour users to contribute their content to it? Do your users need to sign up to a code of conductbefore being allowed into the tool? As the project expands, how will the use of the tool evolve; doyou create sub-groups or new folders within one large group? A bit of forward planning doesn’t goamiss.
  2. 2. 4. Make it the only way to access useful or vital informationIf you email information that everyone needs to access as well as uploading it into your onlinecollaboration tool, people have no reason to login. The one surefire way to drive your users intoyour online collaboration tool is to make it the only place to get the information they need to dotheir job.5. Engage, engage, engage!Make your online collaboration tool a pretty place to be. Don’t invite users into a blank canvas – Ican guarantee that most of them won’t bother coming back. Before you invite your users in,populate it with information your users will find useful. Spend a little time customizing it as much asyour tool allows. Turn off access to areas that won’t be used so users don’t get distracted. If you areable to upload logos or branding, do it so that your users feel like they’re coming in to a familiarplace. Populate your user profile and encourage your users to do the same. People like seeingeveryone else’s photos and establishing who is actually on their team.The most successful implementations of online collaboration that I’ve seen have followed thesesteps. They’re simple, but believe me they work!

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