Of course, no one is waiting around for a collaborative platform to do what needs to be done. Therefore, it is the implementation of a collaborative platform or a corporate social network will undoubtedly collide with competing tools.
The question regarding the use of e-mail, intranet, document-sharing solutions and project management is going to be asked during the early stages of the project and, since nature abhors a vacuum, it is up to you to carry out the best practices and to choose the correct uses associated with each tool.
- What uses for the collaborative platform?
- What uses for the Intranet?
- What uses for email?
- Where to store documents?
There is no single answer to these questions and the solution can vary from one group to another. Nevertheless, it’s important to give an overall trajectory for the project and to have clear ideas on how the group works for the launch of each group.
The implementation of new technologies, particularly in regards to the field of communication, illustrates that new technologies never completely replace older ones: they bring forth new capabilities and possibilities that were not possible with previous ones and simultaneously make the older ones obsolete for an entire set of uses. In the same way that email has not completely replaced the traditional mail, the implementation of a collaborative platform won’t completely replace the intranet or emailing, at least not in the short term.
A collaborative platform is a tool available to all members of a group in order to promote new working practices in regards to: communication, access to and sharing of information, decision making, project management, conversations, the sharing of ideas, mutual aid…
When it comes to a broad deployment across an entire organization, the collaborative platform will naturally work with all the existing tools serving the same uses (and there are many!). Even the trade tools, which initially appear unconcerned, can be impacted through their actions following the launch of the collaborative platform. We will tackle this subject in detail later on.
Emailing and associated mailing lists are by far the most directly impacted tools following the implementation of a collaborative platform. Therefore, the launched groups will gradually replace the use of email within the organization as it moves from personal and private communication to a new way of sharing information and communicating via open or closed spaces. Lead by example in your practice and, of course, don’t duplicate in emails the contents published on your collaborative platform.
Beyond the question pertaining to tools, it is indeed a matter of use. We suggest that the steering committee in charge of the project develops a catalog of uses, identifies the tools implemented and gradually improves it with the help of feedback and user practices.
This article is part of a series focusing on to the best practices to be adopted for the launch and implementation of a collaborative platform or private social network within a company or organization.