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The Art of Collaboration Implementation

Successful collaboration implementation is a big issue for many organizations, and for many different reasons. Collaboration plays a big part in the success of any business or organization, regardless of their size. Many companies are searching for a solution to help increase communication and teamwork. Of course, collaboration can mean many different things to many different people — both across business units, but also within a single organization. The first step in any successful collaboration strategy is to define the exact problem that collaboration is supposed to solve. But that cuts right to the heart of the problem — far too many organizations buy technology or set out on a path without fully understanding what their business needs, what to measure, and how to implement their solutions successfully.

Successful collaboration implementation
How do you implement successful collaboration?

While different organizations have varying definitions of what successful collaboration looks like and how it behaves, there are definite commonalities, and many examples to be found from within the community. That was the goal of the ‘Measuring Collaboration Success’ initiative that was launched in early 2016, and concludes with the 3rd and final whitepaper in the series, which you can download below. The purpose of the initiative was threefold:

  1. To understand how the community defines collaboration success,
  2. To understand how they measure that success,
  3. To document the steps taken to implement in a way that ensures the defined goals are met and proper measurements are in place.

You can learn a lot from members of our community, and the insights learned from the latest survey and feedback from our panel of MVPs and experts provide invaluable tools as you begin to plan your own collaboration implementation.

Download Whitepaper

Success Begins with Shared Understanding

There are differences when working with a “system of record” versus a “system of engagement.” When people come together to solve problems — rather than working it out on their own — the end result is usually better because it is the product of collective input and expertise. But unless everyone buys into that system of collaboration, key players within the organization would simply not participate. And collaboration suffers when all stakeholders are not involved. Having a shared understanding of what we are trying to achieve, and equally important — how we are collectively trying to achieve our goals is necessary for success.

Developing a “shared understanding” of what collaboration means within your own organization is the key to successfully defining, building, launching and maintaining successful collaboration solutions. Shared understanding was behind the creation of this initiative. In a recent webinar, I was able to talk with fellow Microsoft MVPs Eric Overfield (@ericoverfield), President of PixelMill, and John White (@diverdown1964), Chief Technology Officer for UnlimitedViz, about the importance of a shared understanding on how we approach collaboration implementation.

View the Webinar: Implementing Successful Collaboration - Community Feedback
The question of “what does success look like” is the only one that matters for companies trying to implement a solution to the collaboration problem. There is no silver bullet, no right or wrong, and certainly no “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question. Coming to a shared understand is often an iterative process that comes about through the sharing of ideas and talking things out. Every enterprise and every user sees collaboration differently, and every user has different goals on how they want to collaborate.

Developing Your Collaboration Strategy

By definition, collaboration is done in teams made up of individuals who have their own agendas, preferences and tendencies. Developing a unified strategy can be difficult. Getting two or more groups to agree on how they want to collaborate is very difficult and often can cause disruptions when one group attempts to force their way on another without a mandate.

If collaboration is not well defined, how can we measure it and claim success? Without a clear definition, there is no way to measure what successful collaboration can mean for an organization. Without the proper planning, a project is much more likely to fail and end-users are more likely to find outside, third-party tools that fall outside of an organization’s control.

When organizations provide a clear path for how they will collaborate, encouraged by management, there is less of a need to find other tools to fill in gaps. Both sides win as individuals and teams get the tools they need to get their jobs done, and management and IT are empowered with the control they need to safeguard data and security.

While we use a variety of tools and technologies, the goals of collaboration are fairly consistent across organizations: to share information, improve communication and support corporate culture. We may approach collaboration in different ways, but that doesn’t mean we should not come together at the team or organizational level to agree on our collaboration goals and measurements.

At Beezy, we believe in the power of community and open communication. Our entire business is built around the concept of community — and giving teams the features and tools they need to develop a shared understanding around ideas, projects, and company-wide initiatives. We hope you have found the ‘Measuring Collaboration Success’ initiative as insightful as we have, and encourage you to download the latest whitepaper on collaboration implementation success to learn from peers within the community.

Christian Buckley

Christian Buckley

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