Collaboration tools: How to avoid project rollout pitfalls

Companies have a wealth of options, but that doesn’t guarantee success after rollouts. Here’s what you need to understand before spending big on collaboration.

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As team collaboration gains ground in the enterprise, companies are finding a vast array of products designed to connect staff and improve productivity – from the latest group chat applications such as Slack to enterprise social networks, task management apps and video conferencing tools. Spending in the booming collaboration software market is expected to reach $49.5 billion by 2021, according to Markets and Markets, almost double the $26.7 billion spent in 2016. 

For companies, rolling out new collaboration tools can be tricky, both in terms of employee uptake and making sure productive interactions between staff actually occur. Enterprise social network deployments, for example, are often dogged by low adoption.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is rolling out software without a strong understanding of how it will used, said Carrie Basham Young, CEO at Talk Social to Me, a service provider that specializes in enterprise collaboration deployments. “The biggest failure point is when a tool is rolled out without understanding the impact that is going to have on an end user's day,” she said.

When companies push collaboration without explaining the business value and purpose for the tool, projects tend to fail, she said. An application becomes “just another place you have to check, or a place that you ignore. For me that has been the biggest continual failure over the past 10 years.

“The most important thing is going out and actually speaking with the employees that need to connect and collaborate with each other,” she said. That means understanding employees’ individual use cases, their pain points, how they want to collaborate and how they are going to connect with each other. 

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