Tips for adopting collaboration solutions

Picking a KM solution is only half the battle, gaining employee trust and support is another
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There is only one guarantee when implementing new enterprise technology: Without users any new collaboration or knowledge management system will be worthless. Fortunately, many participation challenges can be overcome through solid messaging and change management strategies, said Susan Hanley, an independent collaboration solutions consultant.

While adoption is the end goal, it's important to remember adoption doesn't happen all at once, the solution must be worth adopting and it must be personally relevant to each user, said Hanley, who offered tips for goosing KM adoption during an Oct. 17 session at KMWorld in Washington, D.C.

If there's a clear case for how a solution can help solve a person or team's specific problems--it could be much easier to get employees on board. Many would argue collaboration is rarely about technology and more about how the technology is used, but Hanley points out that some features can, in fact, promote adoption.

"Likes," ratings, recognition and feedback mechanisms can all encourage employees to use KM solutions. Because retooling employees to use a new collaboration platform can have delayed--and "squishy" rather than concrete benefits--the solution must be nine times better than what they're currently using, said Hanley.

When it comes to change management, Hanley suggested aiming for "the long 'wow' not the big bang." Small solutions or incremental rollouts of a larger solution could build to gain employee trust, while sudden, drastic change can be a serious turn off. What's more, training should not focus on relaying every feature to employees. It should only focus on getting them comfortable with the basics so as not to overwhelm them.

In truth, no project will gain unanimous support, but if an enterprise can "find its Mikeys," they can harness the influence of a select few, said Hanley. (Click the image to the left to watch the persuasive power of Mikey in action.) 

Communications shouldn't stop at the launch of the solution; it must be persistent and coupled with support for early adopters. After launch, listening and providing opportunities for feedback will help ensure continued adoption, said Hanley.

"When it comes to adoption, your work is never done," said Hanley.

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