Reassess the State of Your Digital Collaboration


We’ve all gone through a great deal of change over the past year. IT teams having to deal with rapidly accelerated digital transformation is just one of many examples. Now, one full year after the initial COVID-19 lockdowns pushed many to work from home, organizations are now reassessing their digital workplace strategy.

The shift to working from home impacted organizations in different ways. Some organizations had already made the move to the cloud and were therefore able to simply allow their workers to change their physical locations with minimal impact to their productivity. Others were in a hybrid stage or were on their way to being a cloud-first organization. These organizations were forced to hit the gas on their shift to the cloud. Of course, a few entirely server-based organizations were taken by surprise and likely had the hardest adjustment during this period.

Some organizations were able to adapt, while others were forced to close their doors or suffered enormous economic consequences.

The Great Migration, 2020-Style

Any organization not fully in the cloud was forced to migrate content and make it possible for their employees to collaborate primarily via SaaS based platforms like Zoom, Slack and for many, Microsoft Teams. In nearly every instance — without the time to plan and implement governance strategies or train users on business processes for new applications — content sprawl and chaos has become the norm. The results are lower productivity, efficiency and more.

Even if some companies had a more structured transition to the cloud, many are not satisfied with the levels of productivity they are seeing from their cloud investments.

Related Article: You Rolled Out Your Remote Workplace in Record Time. Now Let’s Talk Governance

Evaluate Your Collaboration Processes Now – It’s Worth It

IT teams need the resources and leeway to take a step back and assess their current collaboration state. For example, IT needs to understand how much content has been created in the past year and how disorganized — or not — that process has been.

In addition to content chaos, another area for attention is whether users have been collaborating with sensitive content, and if they’ve done so in a verifiably secure way. Finally, IT should evaluate the state of external access within the collaboration platforms their organization uses, and ask: how can plans and policies be put in place to ensure collaboration continues in secure, scalable ways for the future?

Once the IT team has completed its assessment, they should consider implementing governance and security plans that address pain-points and ensure organized collaboration for years to come.

Related Article: 7 Strategies to Tame Collaboration Complexity

Communication Is Key

Organizations should also foster regular communication between the IT department and users and stakeholders via feedback loops and internal champion communities. The information that IT receives from users and stakeholders about their challenges, ideas for improvement and the requirements of their day-to-day jobs is vital.

Implementing feedback, communication and trainings as part of a strategy of regular interaction is the only way for IT teams to improve and build applications that contextually respond to the demands of employees and their daily tasks. Especially as we return to a more normal standard of work, continued learning and applications built for productivity will remain essential.

With better understanding of everyday tasks, comes more targeted ways to design and implement governance and security policies via contextualized user training. The more tailored to each user such trainings can be, the more they’ll see the benefit of new technologies and understand why governance and security are so important.

Over one year out from COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation, for most organizations it’s high time to prioritize governance, gain control of the wild west, and enable IT and security teams to get collaboration secure and organized.

Hunter Willis is a product marketing manager at AvePoint and the president of the Richmond SharePoint User Group, MSCA O365. He has been in web development, SEO and social media marketing for over a decade, and entered the SharePoint space in 2016.

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