There is a dizzying array of online collaboration applications available today.
Even in 2017, you still have to write your own migration plan to move your team from email inboxes to an online collaboration platform.
A proper collaboration platform migration is agnostic — these tips can apply to most any cloud or on-premise collaboration
Gather business requirements
I’ve had the chance to experience successful and failed implementations of online collaboration solutions during my career. the lack of business and technology requirements sticks out as one of the constants in failures.
A build it and they will come approach is counter-productive to rolling out online collaboration solutions. You need to gather requirements from the business users including:
Acknowledge organizational culture
As I’ve written about before, culture can drive online collaboration but can also sink it. This is one of the reasons why I recommend of upfront planning that involves the users who are using the application. There will be cultural shifts so plan accordingly.
Take advantage of platform trials
Use trial periods to test workflows and security of collaboration platforms. When running internal pilots and trials, look for a wide cross section of users so you can get honest feedback on the solutions you are piloting. Another outcome of a trial period can be getting more business users on board with your collaboration platform.
Find a champion for online collaboration
Moving from email to online collaboration brings with it a lot of change and baggage. I like to recommend organizations look for a collaboration champion amongst the ranks. This champion also doesn’t even have to be a technical person. Often the best champion for online collaboration is the user who sees online collaboration as a solution for one of their work pain points.
Perform a team clean of your documents
Too often project documents hide in local hard drives, email inboxes, cloud accounts, and even USB drives.
You need to do a team clean of all project related documents across your teams. Determine which documents are the latest version that you need to post on your new online collaboration platform.
Audit your team’s existing processes
Outside of improving your previously email-driven processes, your online collaboration application may also have a profound impact on some of your other business processes depending on your online collaboration application’s features.
Implement application security judiciously
Document security is high up on the list for implementing an online collaboration solution. Yet, one of the signs of a poorly implemented online collaboration solution is such a draconian level of security lockdown.
I know application security can be a sensitive subject in some organizations. Spend the extra time to plan the appropriate security roles for your team members. You want them to be productive on day 1 of using the platform not retreating back to their email for collaboration because of your security measures.
Appoint a site owner at the team level
Project teams should have owner access rights to manage their online collaboration workspaces. Having to go to IT to set up new libraries and workspaces leads to these simple tasks not getting done.
Rapid response to user requests and questions about a collaboration platform can help win over reluctant users.
Build a usable folder and organizational schema
Moving documents to a new platform should be done with care and planning. It’s always good to work with your team during the “team document clean” and the piloting of online collaboration solutions. You can get their input into any metadata and frameworks you want to put in place to help organize documents.
Have you migrated your team away from email inboxes? Share your experience in the comments.