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New collaboration
tools: rolling out
an enterprise
application

Author: Rose de Fremery

Widespread adoption of new collaboration tools is likely to happen as more businesses adopt and implement remote work policies. However, getting employees to use new collaboration tools is more challenging than it might appear. According to IDC's US Enterprise Communications Survey, 2019,1 one out of every two respondents said their organization currently uses unified communications and collaboration, but 41% of employees in these organizations aren't using the tools available to them.

Why are these employees hesitant or unprepared to take full advantage of these tools, and how can IT teams better anticipate their needs? Here's a look at the challenges involved in planning and executing a successful rollout, along with some tips for proactively addressing them.

Evaluation of new tools

When adopting new collaboration tools, consider your business objectives. These will inform how you plan your implementation, as well as provide key metrics to evaluate your progress. Does your company want to:

  • Cut costs?
  • Increase productivity?
  • Help employees work remotely more easily?
  • Improve employee satisfaction?

With your objectives outlined, take a look at your employees' collaboration experience. Identify specific user groups and their unique collaboration needs—for instance, the way an executive collaborates may be significantly different from the way a financial analyst collaborates. Engage with a variety of users to get a fuller picture of your workforce's comfort level with new technology. Make sure to seek input from technology enthusiasts as well as those employees who may be a little uncertain about new software, as their requirements around training and support will likely be different.

Finally, clarify what a successful outcome will look like. How will you know when you've achieved your objectives, and how will you measure your progress along the way? Define the metrics that will help you determine where you've succeeded so that you can then pinpoint the remaining areas for improvement. That will ensure that when the implementation is complete, you'll have accomplished the goals you originally envisioned.

With these preparatory steps in place, you can begin rolling out an enterprise application.

Implementation of those tools

Keep the employee experience front and center when introducing new software. As IDC notes, employees often struggle to adopt new collaboration tools because they have not received end-user training or they're not fully aware of the new capabilities. Thus, developing an implementation plan that includes user communication, training and support is critical to ensuring adoption and usage of new collaboration tools.

Consider specific user groups again, particularly as you design training. As mentioned executives may benefit from one-on-one coaching, whereas teams that work closely in coordination with one another, like communications professionals, may find it useful to have a group training session in which they can walk through the new collaboration tools together. In all cases, it is essential to provide support materials including role-specific cheat sheets to all users to reinforce what they have learned.

Gather employee feedback early and often like using a quick online survey at the end of each training session. Review this feedback as the implementation proceeds so you can promptly address user concerns. As well, keep a close eye on usage data and any other key metrics you have defined, particularly during the first 30 days.

Training and usage

Although it might be tempting to think the process is complete once you've implemented the new collaboration tools and conducted end-user training, your employees will need time to become proficient in using the new software. Continuous training will resolve any challenges they encounter and empower them to become more confident in using the new tools. Additionally, on-demand training is an effective self-service option that will enable employees to brush up on their skills as needed.

Be sure to regularly review your analytics and usage data to monitor the end-user adoption process. To achieve a return on your investment and other key metrics, you should ensure your employees are using the new collaboration tools. Encourage your employees to engage with and use these new tools and you'll see results in no time.

Learn how Verizon's Business Communications Adoption Services help drive acceptance and usage of your unified communications services.

IDC, IDC's U.S. Enterprise Communications Survey, 2019: Unified Communications and Collaboration, US45686319, December, 2019.