Collaboration expert: Let business drive technology adoption efforts

Enterprise technology adoption efforts must be squarely focused on achieving predefined business results, according to Susan Hanley, a SharePoint portal and collaboration consultant.

Hanley, who spoke at the recent KM World 2012 conference in Washington, D.C., believes that business outcomes are the most important aspect of any initiative designed to get employees to adopt new enterprise technology.

"The real challenge is not adoption, really, it's about business results," she said.

Hanley, who is also a co-author of the book Essential SharePoint 2010: Overview, Guidance, and Planning, said it is easy to lose sight of the business aim and the business results of any enterprise technology adoption effort.

"In knowledge management, we are really good at coming up with platitudes for our results," she said.

Organizations undertaking a collaboration technology initiative should begin by focusing on business results and then work backwards to determine what it will take to achieve those goals, said Hanley.

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Businesses should also focus on results that are clearly measurable. Goals that can be easily measured might include reducing the time for onboarding new employees from months to weeks or increasing average profitability per client engagement.

Hanley emphasized the importance of understanding how people work when beginning an initiative to drive adoption of new enterprise technology. It's also important to show individual employees how new technologies will benefit them personally, she said. "I want to know  how [employees] get the info they need to do their jobs and what helps make them effective and [then] help build a solution to enable that."

When an organization decides to deploy an intranet for its workers, it's critical to make sure search works, that the content is accurate and well written and that it is easy to provide feedback on content and intranet pages.

"Knowledge management is all about gathering and acknowledging and sharing feedback," she said. "And make sure there's an owner of every site and every page on the intranet."

Hanley also talked more about knowledge management (KM) strategies and how to properly approach KM and content management technology adoption in a follow-up interview with at the conference.

Viewers of the 15-minute video will learn:

  • Why adoption of knowledge management strategies and technologies isn't the end of the initiative.
  • How to convince people that adoption of new information management technologies will be good for them and hold real value.
  • How to use employee feedback to the organization's best advantage and how to bring about success by engaging users in knowledge management initiatives.
  • Where metadata comes into play and how to make creating it easier on everyone.
  • How to increase user comfort by designing a training roadmap that takes into account the fact that different people learn in different ways.
  • What's right and what's wrong with incentivizing adoption.


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