I’ve always said that collaboration is an inherently human activity—when we’re at work, many of us spend hours in meetings, swapping documents and sharing notes. With this daily activity consuming so much of our lives and the huge momentum of workspace technology, you would have thought the “collaboration problem” would have been fixed. Yet it seems that one collaborative technology after the next sits neglected and under-utilised in many enterprises.
Solving for the human factor
It seems such an obvious thing to say, but adoption and collaboration go hand-in-hand. Some collaborative technologies require a “critical mass” of users, whereas others require that users embrace a new way of working. Huddle’s content-centric collaboration falls into the latter category – it only takes two people working more effectively for Huddle’s benefits to be felt, but rolling it out to hundreds or thousands of users creates an exponential return.
Of course, there is a huge onus on modern cloud providers to make sure that adoption is as easy as possible. Is the software intuitive? Is it at least as easy as the old way of working to achieve the same goal? Does it provide obvious additional benefits to the users? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, it will hamper rollout significantly.
Two areas that greatly increase adoption are also ones that IT are sometimes reticent to embrace—namely, mobility, and productivity plugins. There is no denying that Apple has revolutionised much of our working through the iPhone, iPad, and the subsequent flood of Windows and Android tablets that now surround us. However, mobile computing means mobile data and content—and this is something that many IT and Compliance departments are very risk averse toward. However with apps like Huddle for iOS, that give users consumer-like convenience with enterprise-level security, now is certainly the time to look at a broad mobile strategy.
Similarly, plugins are so often overlooked by IT departments, as they require packaging, UAT and regression testing, but they are absolutely key to proper adoption of cloud technologies.
Ensuring that users can seamlessly move between their files in the cloud and their daily applications is imperative. With Huddle for Windows/Mac and Huddle for Office, Huddle ensures that users can easily access their files in the cloud, but can continue to edit them in their native applications. Within Microsoft Office, our integrations allow users to save a new file directly into Huddle, view comments, even notify colleagues of changes without leaving Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Finally, Huddle for Outlook means your users can easily move conversations and documents better served in Huddle into the cloud quickly.
People are people
That all said, you can throw as much technology at users as you want, but at the heart of collaboration lies people! Collaboration is very much a “lowest common denominator” game—if one of your team does not embrace the collaboration platform and insists on using e-mail, this will pull the rest of your people out. So whether you’re looking to improve the efficiency of a small project or initiate a company-wide cultural change, it is important to follow a few of basic steps:
1. Lead from the top
While grassroots collaboration works well, a CEO/CIO/CFO sharing their thoughts and content in a collaboration space, a project manager assigning work and centralising documentation or a bid director coordinating his team’s efforts from one location works phenomenally well and is a clear indication to people that the new technology is to be embraced.
2. Work with the vendor
No matter how big or small your company, or how experienced your internal teams may be, vendors have a huge wealth of experience doing rollouts of their technology and understand the nuances and pitfalls of their products and services. At Huddle, we have an entire team dedicated to helping companies rollout successfully—in fact, we call them our Customer Success team.
3. Don’t push everyone at the same pace
Technology always has its advocates, laggards, and a large general population who just want get on with their day job. Approach each of these groups differently—run pilots with the advocates, grant them access to BYOD schemes and push them for consistent feedback. Run en masse training, desk drops and customised collateral for the main population of your users. And with the laggards, one-to-one training and additional support may be required.