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

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Security: Avoiding A Hatton Garden-Style Data Center Heist

Data Center Protection In April 2015, one of the world’s biggest jewelry heists occurred at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in London. Posing as workmen, the criminals entered the building through a lift shaft and cut through a 50cm-thick concrete wall with an industrial power drill. Once inside, the criminals had free and unlimited…

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Data Merge

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Data Merge

By Christian Mirra Please feel free to share our comics via social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest. Clear attribution (Twitter example: via @cloudtweaks) to our original comic sources is greatly appreciated.

The Rise Of Threat Intelligence Sharing

The Rise Of Threat Intelligence Sharing

Threat Intelligence Sharing  Security has been discussed often on CloudTweaks and for good reason. It is one of the most sought after topics of information in the technology industry.  It is virtually impossible to wake up and not read a headline that involves the words “Breached, Hacked, Compromised or Extorted (Ransomware)“. Included (below) is an…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Higher Education Institutions Increasing Cloud Use In Next 5 Years

Higher Education Institutions Increasing Cloud Use In Next 5 Years

Cloud Computing Advancing Edtech In a new research study by ResearchMoz it’s predicted that the global cloud computing market in higher education will grow steadily at a CAGR of 24.57% over the period 2016 to 2020. Making use of computing resources connected by either public or private networks provides the benefits of scalable infrastructure, greater…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Which Is Better For Your Company: Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment?

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? You know how enterprise resource management (ERP) can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and…

HOW THE CFAA RULING AFFECTS INDIVIDUALS AND PASSWORD-SHARING

HOW THE CFAA RULING AFFECTS INDIVIDUALS AND PASSWORD-SHARING

Individuals and Password-Sharing With the 1980s came the explosion of computing. In 1980, the Commodore ushered in the advent of home computing. Time magazine declared 1982 was “The Year of the Computer.” By 1983, there were an estimated 10 million personal computers in the United States alone. As soon as computers became popular, the federal government…

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

Redefining The Digital World According to Internet World Stats (June 30th, 2015), no fewer than 3.2 billion people across the world now use the internet in one way or another. This means an incredible amount of data sharing through the utilization of API’s, Cloud platforms and inevitably the world of connected Things. The Internet of Things is a…

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

Cloud Infographic: IoT For Automotive Deconstructed

IoT For Automotive Deconstructed The IoT automotive industry is moving rapidly with many exciting growth opportunities available. We’ve written about some of the risks and benefits as well as some of the players involved. One thing for certain as that the auto industry is starting to take notice and we can expect the implementation of a…

Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

Big Data To Analyze Using Big Data to Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential For those who are regularly involved with SMEs, venture capital, and company valuations, it is common knowledge that start-ups that exit for more than $1 billion dollars are extremely rare – often termed ‘unicorn’ companies. Despite their rarity, it should…

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth

5 Ways The Internet of Things Will Drive Cloud Growth The Internet of Things is the latest term to describe the interconnectivity of all our devices and home appliances. The goal of the internet of things is to create universal applications that are connected to all of the lights, TVs, door locks, air conditioning, and…

Cloud Computing Is Greener Than You Think

Cloud Computing Is Greener Than You Think

Cloud Computing Is Greener Than You Think Last week we touched upon how a project in Finland had blended two of the world’s most important industries, cloud computing and green technology, to produce a data centre that used nearby sea water to both cool their servers and heat local homes.  Despite such positive environmental projects, there…