You know that a silo-ed approach to social and collaborative technology implementation doesn’t work – but you need a partner who shares that philosophy in order to get the best from your investment.

Experience shows that an IT-led deployment without input from the other functions can lead to a great platform but no content with which to engage internal audiences; equally, a standalone Internal Comms initiative without guidance from IT can mean the platform decision is out of step with the overall IT roadmap – leading to end-user confusion about which tool they should be using (and excessive licensing costs).

Either way, the project is doomed to failure – a realisation that is gaining currency among organisations seeking to benefit from cloud-hosted, mobile-first social and collaborative technology.

Silos reassert themselves around the organisation rather than within it

Surely then, the same logic would apply to the consulting and services partners charged with deploying the technology?

However it seems to be the case that, when looking for external support to deploy social and collaborative technology, IT still turns to traditional tech partners that lack an understanding of cross-functional dynamics. And, when faced with the same challenge, the HR and comms functions instinctively reach for engagement experts that have little grounding in the technology.

This means that the silos simply reassert themselves around the organisation rather than within it – with the same unhappy outcome.

SaaS has changed the game for software vendors

As a company that operates at the intersection of technology, organisation and people, Betterworking clearly has an interest in promoting a more integrated approach. But it seems that we are not the only people for whom that particular penny is dropping.

In an age of Software as a Service (SaaS), vendors with a stake in communication, collaboration and productivity technology (such as Microsoft, IBM and Google) know that the rules have changed: with ‘pay as you go’ licensing emerging as the dominant business model, they know that if their product isn’t being used, then the subscription revenues they rely on will simply disappear.

These vendors are starting to recognise what happens with traditional IT-led deployment methods – and they don’t like what they see.

Eliminating silos ‘by the back door’

Betterworking has built robust relationships and deep product knowledge of key vendor solutions such as Microsoft (Office 365), Google (Apps for Work), IBM (Connections) and Jive (Social Software), allowing us to ally our traditional engagement expertise with a deep understanding of the technology and the licensing issues that come with it. And increasingly, software vendors are asking us to ensure their solutions are implemented properly – and that their technology is actually being used (and crucially, that their licensing is being ‘consumed’).

You may well have decided that closer collaboration with your colleagues is the best way of breaking down silos in your organisation – so don’t let your choice of implementation partner allow these same silos to re-enter by the back door.

Author: Iain Halpin

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