E-Handbook: Collaboration tools are must-haves, but not one-size-fits-all Article 3 of 4

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This article is part of our Essential Guide: How best to put collaboration tools to work for your team

How to deploy team collaboration platforms successfully

How an organization deploys team collaboration tools depends on its overall UC strategy and end-user needs. Discover the deployment options available and how to ensure adoption.

Team collaboration is growing in popularity as organizations look to meet employee needs for business messaging and persistent collaborative tools that integrate with workflows. Additionally, as collaboration vendors add more robust features to their offerings, such as video conferencing, the demand for these tools increases.

Organizations looking to avoid shadow IT deployments of team collaboration platforms -- including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams and Workplace by Facebook -- can take two deployment roads. They could do an enterprise-wide deployment of a single platform or allow individual departments to deploy their own service. How an organization adopts team collaboration depends on its overall unified communications (UC) and collaboration strategy.

How should I deploy team collaboration platforms?

Organizations usually have two deployment options: stand-alone or integrated. Some organizations might not consider messaging-centric collaboration an important piece of their overall UC strategy, but they will deploy a stand-alone app, such as Slack, to complement their UC portfolio.

Deploying stand-alone platforms also gives lines of business the opportunity to choose the tools that meet their collaboration needs. But this approach introduces multiple platforms across the organization, creating a management headache for IT.

Other organizations may find team collaboration central to their UC strategy and deploy a single platform that integrates with UC, such as Microsoft Teams. An integrated platform ties team collaboration to employees' UC platforms, and it gives IT centralized control over the deployment and the information employees share. However, a single, enterprise-wide integrated deployment may not offer all the features and capabilities employees need.

What are the challenges of deploying team collaboration platforms?

End-user adoption can be a major roadblock to any team collaboration deployment. If an organization rolls out a platform that does not offer what employees want, they might not adopt the platform at all.

Some organizations may have limited options for team collaboration platforms because they have specific security or compliance requirements. Organizations with more flexibility should involve lines of business to roll out a team collaboration service that meets their needs and that can integrate into their workflows. Having end users involved in the decision-making process can ensure the organization will deploy team collaboration tools that users will adopt.

How do you manage team collaboration?

Deploying multiple team collaboration platforms to meet different department needs can create a management headache for IT -- especially if the platforms are deployed outside of IT. But IT can take some steps to rein in the platforms and offer them some measure of control.

IT should educate users on how sanctioned platforms can improve their specific workflows and measure metrics that showcase improvements across the organization. Providing community support through team channels to offer best practices and answer questions can help promote team collaboration adoption.

IT must manage team collaboration as it does with UC and ensure it meets network availability, security and compliance standards. Including team collaboration with HR provisioning can also ensure that user accounts are created during onboarding and that permissions are revoked as employees leave the company.

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