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Finding a Cultural Fit for Collaboration

Looking back at the history of SharePoint, you could argue that part of what helped it grow so quickly in its early days was the ability for someone outside of IT to install and start using it without any IT intervention. That’s right — SharePoint was part of the “Shadow IT” movement, to some extent. Gartner predicted that management of shadow IT tools and services would account for as much as 35% of IT expenditures in 2016, with 83% of organizations reporting some level of unauthorized provisioning of cloud services — with the vast majority of those (72%) not knowing how many of these tools and services were in use within their organizations. (DigitalistMag) This is the reality of working in today’s tech world — where many employees feel that they have to go around their IT organizations to get the necessary features and functionality to get their work done.

Understanding collaboration's cultural fit
Finding the right cultural fit for the collaboration solutions that you deploy is key.

Understand Your Cultural History

One fact that has not changed since the initial release of SharePoint is the importance of finding the right cultural fit for the collaboration solutions that you deploy. Time and time again, SharePoint (as well as many other technology tools and solutions) is deployed without organizations taking the time to understand the key business issues they want to solve and the needs of their employees, much less the cultural history of collaboration within their company.

“Organizations that fail at in-person collaboration will not solve their problems with technology. If anything, technology will further exacerbate the problems.”

In a January 25th webinar on the topic, my fellow MVP Benjamin Niaulin (@bniaulin) and I will recap our keynote presentation from the European SharePoint Conference in Vienna (November 2016) in which we talk about the rise once again of shadow IT within organizations that use SharePoint, whether online or on-prem, and why this is happening. At the root of the problem there is a mismatch between technical goals and cultural needs for collaboration.

Register for Understanding Collaboration’s Cultural Fit on Wednesday, January 25th at 9am PST

Problems can arise when too much focus is placed on any single collaboration workload, such as email, instant messaging, or SharePoint. Additionally, many companies make the mistake of assuming that what is packaged and sold as a product or service will automatically fit within their own business needs. The resulting focus on technology alone — rather than focusing on their outcomes, and their impact to the underlying business activities — may make it more difficult for teams and individuals to communicate, share, and collaborate.

Adapting to the New Normal

Microsoft is innovating at an incredible rate. With this increased rate of innovation, many organizations struggle to understand which tools and capabilities to use, and when to use them. The fact is: different teams work in different ways. Within the modern digital workplace, there are many different “modalities” of collaboration — and the companies that understand and meet the evolving needs of their end users will have a competitive advantage.

Working across or between Office workloads — and not just within those workloads — should be part of an organization’s planning as you begin to think about your collaboration strategy. At Beezy, we are constantly thinking about the entire user experience, and not just a single business workload. That’s where collaboration can add the most value — between those workloads.

For example, moving an idea from an email you receive to something that is actionable, such as a Team Site or community where people can gather and comment, expand on the idea, iterate on a plan to move forward, or to fold it into other plans. From there, that idea could spark the creation of a formal project plan, a new community within SharePoint, or any number of activities across other workloads. From this simple example, you can begin to see that an out-of-the-box SharePoint deployment may not cover all of the scenarios that your business needs. You may need to configure the platform, customize it, or purchase additional solutions to extend and enhance SharePoint’s capabilities so that it better fits your business needs.

In this webinar, Benjamin and I will discuss the various “modalities” or ways in which we approach enterprise collaboration, and help you better understand how the solutions that Microsoft provides will fit within your own unique corporate culture.  If you would like to hear more on this topic, please be sure to register for Understanding Collaboration’s Cultural Fit which takes place on Wednesday, January 25th at 9am PST.

We hope you can join us!

Christian Buckley

Christian Buckley

Chief Marketing Officer for Beezy. Passionate about all things collaboration & social. Office365 MVP.