How to Create a Killer Collaborative App Strategy

BrandPost By Smartsheet
Aug 24, 2017
IT Leadership

Keep these factors in mind as you sketch your approach – and don’t forget to ask these important questions.

It’s hard to escape the buzz around the rise of workplace collaboration apps and the role they play in helping companies gain a competitive edge.

A recent survey on enterprise collaboration explored the specifics of what enterprise collaboration apps mean for today’s business leaders. An overwhelming 84% of respondents acknowledged that organizations that haven’t strategically deployed collaboration apps are probably at a competitive disadvantage.

But what does it mean to strategically deploy collaboration apps?

For starters, it means bringing in distinct collaboration tools – spanning categories like communications, content creation, storage and sync, and work management – that collectively make up a world-class collaborative app portfolio. But how do you decide what apps to add to the mix?

Here are five considerations to keep in mind – and list of questions to ask about each — as you build out your collaborative app arsenal:

  • Interoperability: While introducing new technology can be a huge productivity boost for many employees, others will continue to work with their current set of productivity tools and systems of record. Rather than requiring massive change, look for collaboration solutions that will work well with your current environment.

Questions to ask: Is it possible to connect the platform you’re considering with other software systems currently in place? What types of integrations are available for use right out of the box? Is there an open API available for custom development?

  • Accessibility: Increasingly, remote work options are becoming the norm. Telecommuting has increased 103% over the last decade and shows no signs of slowing down. Younger generations entering the workforce have come to expect this flexibility. Consider how important easily accessible solutions are for your organization, both now and in the coming years.

Questions to ask: How will we enable remote employees to access their work? How will team members work together? What does our vendor/contractor ecosystem look like, and how do we share information with them?

  • Security: Despite many new advances, security remains a top concern when organizations consider moving to the cloud. This doesn’t mean you need to rethink your strategy — with thorough vetting and byasking the right questions you can choose a collaboration platform in the cloud without sacrificing security and control of your data.

Questions to ask: Has the company been independently assessed, and are they willing to share the results? Was the service designed with security in mind? Does their data recovery include redundancy?

  • User Interface: Take stock of the software systems your organization uses today and any preferences you already know about your employees. When choosing new technology, user interface (UI) matters — a lot. Recent research from G2 Crowd found that user interface can “make or break” adoption of new technology, especially collaboration tools.

Questions to ask: What trends exist in the UI of our current tools? Do our employees prefer consumer-like interfaces?

  • Internal Awareness: Change is always hard, but it’s a lot easier to stomach when everyone understands the upside of adopting new technology. As an agent of change, do your best to help your employees see what’s in it for them as you promote new solutions and ways of working together. Identify internal champions who can help roll out new ways of working to their teams.

Questions to ask: Who are my early technology adopters? What ROI can I share with my organization?

Invest the time and resources into finding the right portfolio of collaboration apps, and you’ll lay the foundation for better cross-functional teamwork, faster innovation, improved workflows, and much more.