Avoiding Collaboration Solution Overload and Adoption Failure

By Marina Gregory, Chief Operating Officer - 14 Apr, 2017
Collaboration & UC
4 Minutes Read
Today’s collaboration technology and platforms are transforming our communication habits. While collaboration tools can be a significant business advantage, it is possible to overload on collaboration tech? Adoption failure is a serious risk, and even if your company adopts and integrates a collaboration solution successfully, using it too often or for the wrong purpose can lead to real problems. Does your organization struggle with collaboration solution overload?  Here’s how to avoid it.

Why Collaboration Overload Happens

Collaboration solution overload occurs in the workplace for many reasons. First and foremost, the free flow of information that collaboration technology enables is making it harder for all of us to focus on tasks specific to our jobs. Multiple requests for input, or access to resources, and meeting notices, and other work-related communications combine to is distract us and make it difficult to remain productive.

Using collaboration technology to communicate and to work together is meant to be a boost productivity. Some companies are finding out the hard way that it slows things down and causes communication overload, which is only intensified when the business uses more than one collaboration technology.

Collaboration platforms are—among other things—intended to simplify and streamline day-to-day work communications and operations. However, if you are attempting to utilize multiple platforms, your collaboration tech is more than likely disrupting operations. For example, employees whose job entails handling an enormous amount of information—scientists, lawyers, etc.—use, on average, eight different collaboration tools every day to carry out their work. Imagine trying to use eight—or even four—different collaboration platforms just to perform daily tasks. Changing collaboration platforms that frequently could cause substantial workflow interruptions.

Another factor in collaboration overload is email. Organizations that invest in collaboration technology need to inform employees how and why the technology is being adopted and develop appropriate guidelines. If your staff is not following the guidelines, you may find some of them falling back into older and more familiar forms of communication.

For example, the CTO of J. Walter Thompson advertising firm, Jamie McLellan, found that the more he invested in collaboration technology, the more his firm used email. Why? Mr. McLellan stated that employees found it difficult to balance multiple platforms, and email offered a familiar form of communication. The average employee at McLellan’s firm was sending more than 3,000 emails a month, and valuable information was falling through the cracks. By eliminating redundant collaboration tools and adopting a single platform, McLellan’s team decreased email traffic by over 30 percent.

Why Adoption Failure Happens

To prevent collaboration solution overload, companies must correctly implement collaboration platforms. The rising popularity of collaboration tools has made companies eager to adopt the new technology, and this eagerness can have negative consequences.

While collaboration tools have the potential to revolutionize enterprise operations, rushing into choosing and implementing a platform can lead to a ‘provide and pray’ situation. If your business does not have a clear, concise, and strategic plan in place before adopting a collaboration platform, the adoption of the tech will probably fail. What does a strategic implementation plan entail? It’s not as complicated as you think.

It’s essential that the adoption of collaboration technology coincides with your organization’s goals. By identifying specific business goals, you simplify the process of choosing a collaboration tool that fits your needs. Rushing into adopting a collaboration tech without business goals isn’t the only cause of adoption failure, however.

Collaboration tools and platforms have the ability to enhance communication throughout an enterprise. Connecting your entire workforce may not be the answer to increased productivity. In fact, choosing a collaboration solution that connects all of your employees instead of the just the right employees can increase communication—but hinder productivity.  To avoid collaboration adoption failure, it’s imperative to identify who needs to be connected to who, instead of generalizing.

Collaboration technology offers a multitude of benefits for enterprise use. These advantages have led an increasing number of companies to adopt collaboration solutions and in the process overload employees. It’s important to be wary of creating collaboration overload for your workers, and there are multiple ways to prevent an overload. By creating clear organizational goals, avoiding multiple or conflicting collaboration tools, and identifying which employees need to be connected, you will significantly reduce the chances for collaboration overload and adoption failure. And, you will be well on your way to increased productivity and communication.
Photo Credit: harrytahiliani01 Flickr via Compfight cc

Author: Marina Gregory, Chief Operating Officer