Evaluate the Possibilities of New Collaboration Tools with Scenarios

Many IT departments take an ineffective approach to demonstrating the power of new collaboration tools: they make it about features and functions. A much more effective strategy is to demonstrate the power of new tools by making it about what the features and functions mean for an individual or group of users. It’s the implications of the features and functions which sell the story, and the adoption strategy called Real-to-Life Scenarios gives a structured way of going about this.

Key Contributions
Using the real-to-life scenarios strategy has been a big part of my work for almost a decade. Key contributions in this area include:

1. Theory and Practice. Explaining the role of real-to-life scenarios in the wider user adoption arena, as a stage one strategy for Winning Attention. My book User Adoption Strategies (and the workshop for firms that goes with the book), notes the effectiveness of real-to-life scenarios, and educates on how to use the strategy effectively.

2. For Office 365. Writing the Re-Imagining Productive Work with Office 365 book to explore eight core scenarios that can be enhanced through Office 365. There’s a workshop for firms and a public workshop that goes with the book to provide an opportunity for exploring and pre-journey decision analysis. Various reports extend the book to look at advanced opportunities from using Office 365.

3. For SharePoint 2007. Writing Seamless Teamwork (published by Microsoft Press) as a way of conveying the potential value of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 for business end users. At the time almost all of the books available on SharePoint were focused on IT administrators and developers. Seamless Teamwork was one of the first books that talked coherently about how people could make use of SharePoint in their work, making use of a real-to-life scenario to do so. See the overview presentation on Seamless Teamwork.

4. For IBM Connections. Writing Doing Business with IBM Connections to explore ten common collaboration scenarios that people do on a day-to-day basis and how IBM Connections can be used to enhance each. There’s a workshop for firms that goes with this book too.

Client Projects
I have had the opportunity to work with clients on the use of scenarios to convey possibilities. Projects included helping a strategy consulting firm define key scenarios for its consultants, presenting the Microsoft-aligned and IBM Connections-aligned scenarios workshop to stimulate discussion at numerous organisations, and interviewing senior executives at a professional services firm to understand their work in order to frame a workshop on their key scenarios.

Your Situation
What’s your challenge? Are you:
– Struggling to get your users to see the potential of new collaboration tools in their work?
– Contemplating which real-to-life scenarios would best resonate within your organisation?
– Trying to understand what people actually do in your organisation, and thus how to best position new collaboration tools?

Let’s talk.