Moving from Collaboration Pilot to Successful Implementation


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One of the most common SharePoint and Office 365 failures is deploying the platform without a pilot. The collaboration pilot is an essential step for any enterprise deployment – and there are most definitely “best practices” you should consider.

Presentation given by Beezy Chief Evangelist and 6-time Microsoft MVP Christian Buckley walking through a repeatable process for running successful collaboration pilots, from management buy-in through to customer adoption planning.

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  • The younger version of me was trained on JAD/RAD process. If not familiar with that…
    Again at Pacific Bell, building out solutions as a PM working with power users to test out new front-end apps, “hardening” solutions before releasing new tools, reports, and processes.
    At E2open, I led the company’s first services team and managed deployments all over the world. We took the “beachhead” approach inside of our customers, creating an initial pilot success and then expanding that success into additional pilots, letting deployments grow organically.
  • These tools have become business-critical, and are an important part of our team culture.
    However, they’ve also become very complex – and many times are deployed without understanding the business value – or impact.
    Some organizations may need to run a formal Proof of Concept (PoC) activity or a formal Pilot phase to achieve this insight, and to better understand where a more comprehensive collaboration solution can provide targeted business value.
  • We recommend having a minimum of 5 uses cases for your pilot, such as the example, although this number may vary for large companies with a wide variety of activities.
  • Still important because this is the foundation for Social to really thrive!!
  • Within engagement we need to drill down into influential users and influential content
  • Moving from Collaboration Pilot to Successful Implementation

    1. 1. Online Conference June 17th and 18th 2015 Moving from Collaboration Pilot to Successful Implementation Christian Buckley Chief Evangelist Office Servers and Services MVP
    2. 2. Christian Buckley Chief Evangelist at Beezy 6-time Office Servers and Services MVP @buckleyplanet
    3. 3. Online Conference June 17th and 18th 2015 Beezy is the Intelligent Workplace for Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint, extending the feature set and improving the user experience for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid deployments. We are on a mission to transform the way people work, and to help employees be more connected, innovative, and happy. Learn more at or @FollowBeezy on Twitter.
    4. 4. Why Pilot?
    5. 5. Social collaboration has become the business “norm”
    6. 6. The most typical reasons to run a pilot include:  No prior experience with collaboration solutions  Top management unsure about collaboration business value  Decide the purchase of specific collaboration software or features  Test out new capabilities before releasing to the broader organization  Get key stakeholders on-board first to help adoption later
    7. 7. Another reason to pilot
    8. 8. Outlook Groups Skype for Business Yammer Microsoft Teams SharePoint Social ISV solutions
    9. 9. Why so many options?
    11. 11. Knowledge  One of the greatest failures within most organizations is the inability to adequately document, catalog, and make retrievable the processes and experiences of employees.  Enterprise collaboration is all about capturing collective experiences – and sharing them.  When properly employed, the result is a greater retention of institutional knowledge.
    12. 12. Collaboration  “The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.” (Aristotle)  Social collaboration capabilities, specifically, when applied to document and task management, make collaboration much more efficient.  They also make your system more rewarding and engaging by allowing people to connect and work together in different ways.
    13. 13. Communication  Empowering employees and getting them to move in the same direction demands open, fresh, and cross-hierarchical communication.  Increased communication helps employees stay aware of what is going on in different locations, departments, or management tiers.  High levels of awareness and strategic alignment lead to better decisions from the entire workforce.  Employees that are aware of the company’s direction – and are given the ability to contribute their opinion or experience – show higher levels of loyalty and engagement.
    14. 14. Running a Successful Pilot
    15. 15. Step 1. Define your business goals
    16. 16. Where is your focus?
    17. 17. Outcomes Acquisition Quality Engagement Content Support What is your desired business impact? Customer
    18. 18. What are your business outcomes? Engagement drives business outcomes Acquisition Reduce churn Community Advocacy Happy customers Brand Word of Mouth Peer to peer education Real-time interaction Connect to Devs Visibility
    19. 19. Examples of specific business goals might include:  Reduce on-boarding time for new recruits  Minimize travel time and cost  Improve customer satisfaction  Reduce time spent searching for information  Avoid duplication of work across departments (or locations)  Develop cross-hierarchical communication  Increase employee empowerment and/or engagement  Improve talent recruiting and retention  Improve meeting efficiency and effectiveness
    20. 20. Step 2. Refine your target use cases
    21. 21. Use case examples might include:  CEO’s assistants book board meeting dates & times in a shared calendar  Assistants updates the meeting agenda  The system sends reminders to CEO about deadlines to upload documents prior to the meeting  CEO uploads documents to be presented  All attendees can open and edit the documents in their laptops during the meeting, without need to print  A list of action items is created and agreed to  After the meeting, documents are approved and moved to a read-only status  All content is made accessible for future search  Access to content respects current privacy policies
    22. 22. Make it Real and Focus on Actual Business Problems  The most common reason a pilot fails is that its key users decide to “play with the tool” rather than take the planning process seriously, avoiding going through the steps defined in this guide.  The lack of goals and purpose quickly leads to low levels of engagement and superficial usage. Without clear goals and engaged users, you’ll never gain a clear assessment of the pilot results.  A pilot is as serious as a rollout. You will be using other people’s time to make your decision. Make good use of it.
    23. 23. Step 3. Select your pilot users
    24. 24. Selecting your pilot users  It is important to choose users from among the employees that need collaboration features the most in order to get their work done.  Look for those groups that are exchanging heavy load of emails, documents or links on a daily basis.  Do not bring in users to the pilot because they are mere enthusiast of the new technology. Bring them in because:  they have a real need for the solution, and  they are involved in the business processes you have identified as improvable in the first step of this section.
    25. 25. Selection considerations  Many customers tend to be too shy in pilot participant selection. They don’t want to bother people who are busy with “actual work” and so they try to run their pilots under-the-radar.  You need to take into account that enterprise collaboration capabilities work better at scale.  As a rule of thumb, you should avoid pilots under 100 users (depending on the size of your organization, of course).  Additionally, we recommend covering a minimum of 10% of your potential user base through one or more pilots.
    26. 26. Include Top Management  Implementing enterprise collaboration usually implies a corporate cultural change. Decision making will become more transparent, information and knowledge will flow more freely, and top contributors will surface over the course of time.  Your management team needs to be aware of what is ahead, but more importantly – they should support this new corporate culture right from the start and throughout the pilot phase.  Moreover, the success of collaboration heavily depends on the adoption and usage by top management. Executives need to lead by example, which helps create a culture of participation and sharing.  One way they can show their support is to hold regular Town Hall sessions, online or in-person, where they answer employee questions in real-time.
    27. 27. Step 4. Define your KPIs
    28. 28. You cannot manage what you cannot measure.
    29. 29. • SharePoint • Office 365 • Internal social collaboration tools • External tools HOW you measure depends on WHERE you measure
    30. 30. How will you decide if the pilot is successful?  Know your evaluation criteria before you start!  Set specific goals and indicators related to your business goals.  Put in place mechanisms to collect data and measure your success (or failure…) at the end of the pilot.  For example, if one of your business goals is to “reduce internal communication and email overload” you might measure success by:  Creating a baseline of current activity  Measuring email volume today and then again after the pilot.  Comparing the email open-to-read ratio  Tracking the volume of “Likes” and other metrics based on the collaboration features being used within your pilot.
    31. 31. But don’t over analyze  On the opposite side of the spectrum we have customers who take their pilots “so seriously” that they are unable to make a decision for a real rollout.  When it comes time to deploy enterprise collaboration solutions, over-thinking the pilot process can be also extremely damaging.  Collaboration solutions go along with changes in the way people work, so you should always leave room for unpredictable behavior.  Set specific timeframes for feedback and target metrics – and stick to the plan.  There will be some negative feedback from those who prefer the data to action, but the majority will appreciate well-defined timelines.  Remember, at some point you need to move forward.
    32. 32. • Specific • Meaningful • Action-Oriented • Realistic • Timely SMART Goals What do you want to achieve in your area of focus? Why is this goal important to you? What steps will you take to achieve it? How do you know that you can achieve this goal? By when do you want to achieve this goal?
    33. 33. • Activity within communities • Interest in content, keywords, ideas • Level of engagement • Overall platform adoption • Measuring the increase in innovation • Decreasing the cycle of new product introduction • Sharing of content and expertise What does this mean within social collaboration?
    34. 34. The basic adoption and usage analysis Some of the options provided through CardioLog Analytics
    35. 35. Usage Engagement Social Analytics - Community - Active discussions, communities Shift from content usage to community engagement
    36. 36. Page Views Influential Content Social Analytics - Content - Likes, followers, ratings, comments & replies. Shift from basic metrics such as page views to social metrics
    37. 37. Unique Users Influential Users Social Analytics - Users - Followers, posts, comments, popular profiles, discussions Shift from what employees are viewing to how they are interacting with each other
    38. 38. Step 5. Establish a clear time period for evaluation
    39. 39. Step 6. Operationalize
    40. 40. Make it part of your ongoing support model  Due to the fluid nature of social collaboration platforms, organizations today find that implementing a true change management program to monitor and adjust based on analysis provides the structure and flow necessary to maintain governance.  Formation of a ‘Center of Excellence’ to both manage change and administrate the platform is becoming the standard approach.
    41. 41. The Enterprise Social Collaboration Progression Model
    42. 42. In Summary
    43. 43. In my personal experience, this is what works:  Organic growth through pilots is the most sustainable model for successful social collaboration  Make governance and change management the priority  Look at your systems holistically (a business view), regardless of where the servers sit (on-prem or in the cloud) and tools used  Define what policies, procedures, and metrics are needed to manage your environment, and then look at what is possible across your social tools and platforms  Be prepared to regularly iterate on your strategy
    44. 44. Share these points with your entire team! Download the eBook
    45. 45. Christian Buckley @buckleyplanet Thank you very much!