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3 Obstacles to True Collaboration

During our time working with midmarket technology companies, we’ve noticed how challenging it is for businesses to roll out new collaboration technology. If employees don’t make good use of new technology, our experience has shown us that you may have a real problem on your hands.

To move forward, senior executives must get on board with any new collaboration technology – not just delegate implementation to middle management – and lead from the front. These are the top three obstacles you’ll face.

Staff technophobia

As cloud-based platforms have matured, it’s now fairly common for midmarket organizations to have implemented some form of collaboration software. In your own organization, you may have invested in a hosted video conferencing solution or a document management platform. But recent information suggests that only about 9 percent of workers fully engage with collaboration tools.

There are many reasons why employees would avoid using new technology, and one of them is uncertainty. It’s only natural to be uncomfortable with new challenges in the workplace. What we’ve seen at Boardroom Events is that your chances of overcoming staff technophobia greatly increase when you legitimately engage with the implementation process.

Using the wrong technology

A major part of what we do during our boardroom-style events is pairing the right technologies with the right companies. To find the right technology, you begin by acknowledging what collaboration actually means. An article on SingularityHub.com gives a great definition: “bringing people together to arrive at a solution faster and easier than before.”

As you vet different technologies, remember that you’ll increase your chance of success if you encourage employee feedback early on. Flexibility is paramount because hidden talents can emerge as employees become more comfortable with new collaboration tools. When trying to find the right technology, it’s as much of a learning process for senior management as it is for employees.

Lack of strategic direction

he first two obstacles that we’ve discussed emphasize common difficulties that employees may encounter; however, the biggest issue of all may be emanating from your own missteps. No other obstacle can derail a technology rollout like a lack of strategic direction. Training, education and communication are the most critical elements of a well-defined strategic direction.

Guiding strategic direction can start as easily as a company email survey. An astute executive knows when to assess operational efficiency and when to implement changes that affect the entire business. When trying to improve collaboration, you can take this opportunity to create a domino effect of additional changes.

A simple instant messaging app is a prime example. There is no need to pay for an enterprise Salesforce subscription if a free collaboration tool will suffice. Giving employees a taste of what’s possible often leads to positive unexpected changes, such as employees approaching leadership with collaboration ideas of their own, but it all starts with strategic direction.

Our experience is that implementing any significant changes to an organization can be much more challenging than you may think. At the very least, watch out for these three obstacles when rolling out new collaboration technology.

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