Top four social collaboration software fails

IT shops struggling to get workers to use social collaboration software should take a look at what missteps admins -- not workers -- may be making.

Social collaboration software can benefit workers immensely, but it can also be hard for companies to get right.

Studies show that many companies' social collaboration initiatives are going unnoticed by users. Today's worker has a plethora of ways to interact with their colleagues, including Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging services, texting and even good old email. Many employees like working together because it helps them get more work done, so why aren't they using the enterprise collaboration tools that are at their disposal?

To understand why your company's workers aren't buying the collaboration tools you're selling, look at what you might be doing wrong.

Social collaboration fails

1. Not telling users about the tools
If you set up some kind of social collaboration software and then never tell anyone about it, no one's going to use it. Make sure workers know that there's a collaboration tool available. It's important to distinguish between publicizing your collaboration software and building interest among users. Most employees are already interested in things that make their jobs easier. If you pick the right tools for the job, it's more likely that workers will use them.

2. Picking tools that don't make work easier
Choosing the right tools for the job is easier said than done. The social collaboration software that you offer shouldn't serve such a niche purpose that only one department will benefit from using it. Some departments do need specific tools and software to get work done. But if you're trying to garner big social collaboration adoption, then the tools you provide should serve a purpose that a majority of workers will relate to.

Additionally, the collaboration software that you provide to users should also help the business. If the service or tool you choose doesn't create results that benefit the business, such as increasing user productivity or simplifying a complex business process, then you should consider a different tool.

3. Using a static tool
Make sure you pick a social collaboration service or tool that you can scale up. It's important to start with the basics: getting workers to use the tool. From there, you should be able to find some innovative uses for the same software. You'll get more bang for your buck if the social collaboration software your users fall in love with now will serve multiple purposes in the future.

4. Giving up
It takes some time for users to incorporate social collaboration into their work lives. Don't expect to get 100% adoption (or even close to that) the day after you release the software to the masses. Even though many people use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for their personal lives, that doesn't mean they want to replicate or imitate that experience at work. Users may need to be shown the value of using the social collaboration software you're supplying them. Sometimes when an influential worker -- such as the CEO or the head of a department -- starts using enterprise social collaboration tools, other workers will follow suit. For IT, it's important to know the difference between social collaboration software that doesn’t fit with your company versus a tool that just hasn't caught on yet.

This was first published in October 2013

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