As a business owner, one of the largest issues you may face is selecting a collaborative technology solution that your staff will easily adopt and utilize. All too often decisions are made, and technologies implemented, only to find that your investment is either underutilized or efficiencies you were expecting do not materialize. So how can you be sure you’re providing the right tools for your team?
WORK WITH A COLLABORATIVE SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR
To ensure the solution you land on provides not only the required features but is also easy for your team to use (adopt), consult a technology solutions provider that has expertise in collaborative systems integration. The system integrator (SI) will start with a needs analysis to identify the requirements of your business and team while avoiding all discussions at a product or equipment level. There will be open-ended inquiries about how meetings are conducted, your current challenges or difficulties, the average group size, physical space, content to be presented, video collaboration, and use white boards. Also important is the skill levels of your users and if you have a technology plan in place.
Company culture is also important to understand for the SI to provide a proper solution. Are meetings formal in nature or are they often adhoc? Do users conduct their own meetings or does the company have a tech staff that “sets the meetings up” for the users? Do you have remote staff that needs to join the meetings and share content or is the staff required to work from a traditional office? Do they hold many client facing meeting or mostly internal? Is the staff younger where video is expected or an older generation that does not view video as important a function in the day to day business? All these play into the design process for the SI.
For the most successful outcome, invite key users and stakeholders into the discussion to make sure their input is taken into consideration as well. This provides a sense of ownership of the technology decision process and helps facilitate early adoption once the solution is implemented. Understanding the users’ point of view is key since they will be utilizing the new solution to perform their work and if they feel it does not help them, they are less likely to use the systems consistently or correctly.
IT’S NOT TECHNOLOGY FIRST
As tempting as it may be to explore the various technology solutions on the market, it is imperative instead to focus on what you want to accomplish. If you select a technology that doesn’t fit your requirements, you and your team will need to work around its shortfalls, the opposite of what you want.
Armed with the knowledge of what you want to achieve, the SI can then start to design the solution(s). The SI will provide solutions and budgets at a high level and discuss with you to determine if the solutions and more importantly, the cost is within your scope. If the cost beyond your budget, the SI can work with you to narrow down the needs, finding the delta where functionality and cost are at an acceptable point. Since the proposed system was designed to suit your defined requirements, it will need to be redesigned, which impacts functionality. This transparent needs versus cost conversation between you and the SI ensures everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises when the users start to use the system!
Once the final design and budget is accepted the design process is finalized. In order to ensure user adoption, you and your decision makers should review the final design and scope document with the users to make sure they agree and find the final solution acceptable before they sign off, again to ensure participation and ownership of the process by all within the organization.
TRAINING FOR ADOPTION
Once the integration process is completed, the SI can schedule training classes with key users (train the trainer) to make sure they understand how to properly use the systems and access all features. These key users then become the trainers for existing and new staff going forward. Training provides a confidence level to all users and accelerates adoption of the technology systems.
Are you ready to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your meetings by providing a collaborative technology solution that your team will eagerly adopt? Let’s start the process and learn what that is!