5 Best Practices For Implementing Cloud Collaboration In 2014

5 Best Practices For Implementing Cloud Collaboration In 2014

5 Best Practices for Implementing Cloud Collaboration in 2014

Over the past decade, the momentum for enterprise collaboration has shifted from the building of massive intranet solutions, usually developed and maintained by internal IT organizations, toward more flexible and cost-effective cloud-based collaboration platforms. In a survey of 2,438 IT executives and technology decision makers in the US, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Forrester found that 56% have moved or plan to move some of their enterprise collaboration systems to the cloud. With the cost efficiencies of the cloud, combined with the speed and capability of these web-based collaboration platforms, the amount of data moving to the cloud — and the number of online solutions offering enterprise-class capabilities — has grown exponentially.

Of course, the movement of data and key business workloads into the cloud does not reduce, necessarily, the requirements a business has for the handling of key intellectual property, or of particular industry and regulatory compliance and governance guidelines. A platform developed for the consumer marketplace does not equal enterprise collaboration, and therefore you need to select your platform carefully and ask the right questions to ensure that your requirements are being met.

With more than 12 years spent in the enterprise collaboration space, I’ve worked with customers of all sizes — from startups to multi-nationals, and across many different industries. In that time, I’ve found some common threads between deployments, and recommend the following best practices for any organization looking to implement a cloud collaboration strategy:

1. Get your stakeholders onboard.

No matter what the size of your organization, collaboration will eventually fail within the organization that does not have strong support from the executive management team. Various teams may find it helpful, but to achieve broad support and truly reap the benefits of any collaboration platform, it must be seen as important to the leadership — otherwise it will remain a departmental activity, with limited enterprise benefit. Nationwide Insurance is a great example of this, with the executive team, including the CEO, regularly participating in conversations with the technical representatives through their online platform, providing insights from the leadership team while also showing that they value the platform.

2. Solve one problem at a time.

One of the quickest paths to collaboration failure is attempting to do too much, too quickly. Collaboration works best when it is clearly aligned with business function in a phased, pilot program approach. This allows the new technology to be integrated with end user behaviors and practices, and then refined and improved before rolling it out to new teams, or to new business functions. For example, an organization might pilot the platform between sales representatives and operations as a way to improve dialog around customer relationship management (CRM) activities. In short, collaboration works best when teams have a shared understanding of what they are trying to achieve. Once a team has mastered that business function, the platform can then be expanded to other uses.

3. Understand the issues with moving from freemium to paid.

The freemium model has become an essential method for new companies and products to gain quick adoption. Many of the leading collaboration platforms on the market were able to achieve their leading positions because of free, easy-to-get-started options. Many organizations find themselves building out cloud collaboration solutions because so many of their end users have already adopted the freemium version of their platform. However, the shift from freemium to paid may not be as smooth as you would hope. There may be changes to the UI, new features that require additional training, more administrative controls that could restrict previously unrestricted activities, or migration issues that may not be able to move all content from the free system to the new enterprise version. Be clear on what features and restrictions come with the change, and prepare your end users for this transition as best you can.

4. Develop a training and onboarding strategy.

No matter how simple the user interface, your end users will need some kind of training as part of the onboarding process to your new cloud collaboration platform. Be clear on the goals of the platform (solving one problem at a time) and the gaps (differences with prior on premises platforms, as well as differences with freemium versions) and how end users can gain the most out of using the new platform. It’s also important to outline governance policies and procedures for the handling of sensitive data and key intellectual property. One strategy that has proven itself successful again and again is the creation of internal user groups with platform advocates or evangelists, who are “power users” who can provide the first line of support for questions on platform capability and governance best practices. Use the collaboration platform to encourage employees to help each other, and you’ll more quickly realize the benefits of the platform.

5. Have a backup plan.

As with any other production system, it is important to have a backup plan for your offline and online systems so that, in the case of an emergency or system failure, you can recover your data. For cloud services, understand the disaster recovery (access to your content) and business continuity (how long the system is down) aspects of your service, and make sure they adhere to your corporate governance policies. As part of your end user training, include offline access and backup instructions, as appropriate.

The advent of cloud collaboration platforms has dramatically reduced the technical and financial barriers to enterprise collaboration, but these solutions are rarely as simple as click-and-go. Unlike consumer-based technologies, enterprise-class platforms must still provide the security and administrative capabilities necessary for organizations to meet their unique compliance and governance requirements. The key to success, as these best practices describe, is to be thoughtful and thorough in your approach. That’s the primary difference between consumer and business collaboration — business alignment.

christian_buckley

By Christian Buckley

Christian is a SharePoint MVP, internationally recognized author and speaker, and a Forbes Top 25 SharePoint Influencer. As the chief evangelist at Metalogix, he drives product awareness and community development. To learn more about Metalogix products visit: http://www.metalogix.com/Products.aspx

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

One Response to 5 Best Practices For Implementing Cloud Collaboration In 2014

  1. Great advice.  As you state, solve one problem at a time is crucial. It’s also important to celebrate successes along the way. Doing so can prove instrumental in strengthening buy-in at all levels.  Expanding cloud collaboration efforts to include customers and partners can prove fruitful as well — it’s all about extracting value wherever feasible. 

    Peter Fretty

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Popular

Top Viral Impact

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

Engine Yard Joins North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and Industry Collaborators to Unveil 2014 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Results SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 25, 2014) – Engine Yard, the leading cloud application management platform, today announced its role as a collaborator in releasing the results of the fourth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey,

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery Preventing a Cloud Disaster is one thing. Recovering from a disaster is a whole other area of concern. Today’s infographic provided by CloudVelox outlines some best practices and safeguards in order to help your business make more informed decisions. About Latest Posts Follow Us!CloudTweaksEstablished in 2009,

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow

Cloud Infographic: The Education Of Tomorrow  Online Education is a very exciting topic for many as it opens up many new doors and opportunities. We’ve touched on areas such as Massive Open Online Sources (MOOC) which provides tremendous levels of cloud based interconnectivity. We’ve taken a look into higher education,  the increased demand for online courses as well as

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate long term with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

Please review the guidelines before applying.

Whitepapers

Top Research Assets

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

Explore how cloud computing is a solution to the problems facing data centers today and highlights the cutting-edge technology (including OpenStack cloud computing) that HP is bringing to the current stage. If you are a CTO, data center administrator, systems architect, or an IT professional looking for an enterprise-grade, hybrid delivery cloud computing solution that’s open,

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security Cloud applications are a priority for every business – the technology is flexible, easy-to-use, and offers compelling economic benefits to the enterprise. The challenge is that cloud applications increase the potential for corporate data to leak, raising compliance and security concerns for IT. A primary security concern facing organizations moving

Hewlett-Packard Company On-Demand Webinar

Hewlett-Packard Company On-Demand Webinar

Shifting Workloads and the Server Evolution Learn more about the latest industry trends and the challenges customers are talking about. Every ten to fifteen years, the types of workloads servers host swiftly shift. This happened with the first single-mission mainframes and today, as disruptive technologies appear in the form of big data, cloud, mobility and

Sponsored Articles

Join Our Programs

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored Posts

CloudTweaks has enjoyed a great relationship with many businesses, influencers and readers over the years, and it is one that we are interested in continuing. When we meet up with prospective clients, our intent is to establish a more solid relationship in which our clients invest in a campaign that consists of a number of