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    05 / 11 / 2015

    Enterprise Collaboration Isn't Just about the Tools

    Enterprise Collaboration Isn't Just about the ToolsFor a new and insightful look at enterprise software, processes, trends, and best-practices, there aren't many sites better than Enterprise Irregulars. In a recent post entitled "How much can technology actually improve collaboration?", Dion Hinchcliffe, Chief Strategy Officer for Adjuvi, takes a look at adoption metrics for both enterprise-wide and team-based collaboration software in today's business environment. He points out that some research shows that the simpler, more team-based collaborative tools have been adopted by employees more often than enterprise-wide social networks (ESNs). He also points out that many of the companies surveyed do indeed have an ESN application in-use, and that lack of adoption may have more to do with leadership than with the effectiveness of the tools themselves.

    Change Your Mindset about Collaboration

    And that brings Hinchcliffe to his key point: it's less about the tools, and more about a shift in our own mindsets that will make enterprise social networks successful. Those larger scale tools (think Salesforce Chatter or Microsoft's Yammer) are both harder to get employees to adopt and they are more transformative than the simpler collaboration tools (think Jive, SharePoint, Box). What he's saying is that the more complex and feature-rich the new system is, the harder it is to gain adoption. But he's also saying that adoption of those tools is likely to have an enormous impact on how we do business. We need to change our mindsets and put in the effort, up front, in order to realize the value of a new way of collaborating and communicating.

    And I would have to agree with this assessment. We've adopted Salesforce's Chatter in our own organization, and it has taken time but we're seeing more and more use of the tool. The ability to add comments to, follow, and "@ mention" other colleagues names to notify them of specific information regarding a lead, contact, or sales opportunity has been particularly useful to our sales and marketing organizations.

    Which Particular Collaboration Technology You Choose is Still Important

    Now in spite of the fact that I agree with the sentiment that adoption rates and success may have more to do with mindset and attitude than the specific features of a given tool, I would have to add that some features are more important than others. Salesforce Chatter's integration with Intacct is proving to be a game-changer. This integration, known as Intacct Collaborate, helps you speed up and better control accounting processes. With a single click we can see all messages related to a particular issue—giving us the complete context, from all participants, right as our team is working on the resolution. And no one has to explain a situation multiple times. We can just leave a note.

    Instead of email threads, our finance team can communicate where there’s an issue, right inside Intacct—on specific journal entries, accounts, projects, invoices, purchase requisitions, and more. These conversations can appear at the same time in Salesforce Sales Cloud, so our sales team can participate using the system they’re most familiar with.

    This kind of seamless communication and collaboration is helping connect all the parts of our enterprise, and the technology is actually helping change our mindset - the best of both worlds, you might say.

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