This content is part of the Essential Guide: How best to put collaboration tools to work for your team
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Know the ingredients for team collaboration app success

Team collaboration apps are everywhere, but deploying them isn’t an immediate recipe for success for organizations looking to improve workflow collaboration. Attitudes toward the role of team collaboration apps, as well as the method of deployment all play a role in the success of adopting team collaboration.

Deploying team collaboration apps can yield several benefits such as decreased meeting frequency, less reliance and use of email, and improved productivity, according to a study from Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.. Fewer than 18% of study participants, however, were successful in their team collaboration deployments based on the success metrics of increased revenue, lowered overall costs and improved business processes as a result of the app deployment.

In addition to the metrics used to determine success, the study identified other characteristics common among successful organizations. The attitudes a company has toward team collaboration app use, how many apps are used and whether the apps are deployed across an entire organization or deployed by individual groups within the company, all influence the success of a deployment.

Ingredients for a successful deployment

Many organizations that successfully deployed team collaboration apps chose company-wide deployments of their chosen apps. Rather than deploying platforms in small groups, successful organizations were more likely to give IT greater management control over team collaboration apps by choosing the applications workers could access.

Choosing a company-wide deployment strategy doesn’t mean that workers were limited to a single team collaboration app. The study found successful deployments could include up to two collaboration applications. Multiple team collaboration apps allow users to choose the app that works best for them. In some cases a second app worked to federate with outside applications, Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar said in a webinar.

The most prominent characteristic of successful deployments was how the overall team collaboration apps were viewed. The majority of successful organizations treated team collaboration applications like a hub of business, rather than just a simple chat application. Organizations that treated team collaboration as a hub had more integrated applications, such as customer relationship management or productivity tools.

Keys to driving adoption

The study also identified several key factors that drive team collaboration success. IT should make an effort to understand the needs of employees when choosing a collaboration platform. Understanding employee needs is especially important for organizations looking at company-wide deployment. If employees feel their needs are not addressed by a chosen application, organizations will see lower rates of adoption. In addition, IT decision makers need to make sure they have executive buy-in. It’s far more likely that groups will want to use a platform if they know that upper management is also using it, Lazar said.

Providing training for employees on how to use a collaboration platform also increases the likelihood of user adoption. Workers are more likely to use a platform they know will improve their work processes. It’s incumbent upon IT decision makers to set up training to show the relevance of newly adopted team collaboration tools, and provide understanding on how these tools can improve workflows.