This content is part of the Essential Guide: Reaping the business benefits of collaboration tools
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Five steps to managing team collaboration apps

Team collaboration management can be difficult when organizations are juggling multiple app deployments. But five steps can improve management of team collaboration across an organization.

Team collaboration apps are rapidly gaining a foothold in organizations seeking to align internal and external collaboration with workflows and improve the ability of distributed workgroups to communicate and share information. But as team collaboration app use has grown, so have IT challenges in managing them.

Just under one-third of organizations have a single, enterprise-wide platform for team collaboration, according to data from Nemertes Research. Most organizations are faced with management challenges created by the reality of having to support different apps deployed by lines of business and outside of IT control.

So, how do organizations rein in multiple team collaboration apps? Here are five tips to support team collaboration management.

1. Consider the business metrics

Nemertes consistently finds a direct correlation between the success of collaboration app deployments and mapping those apps to specific business needs. If you roll out team collaboration apps simply because you think they are wonderful, you probably aren't going to see as much user uptake. But if you put in the extra effort to educate your users on how those team collaboration apps can improve their specific workflows, you can measure and report on improvements in areas such as software and product development, customer responsiveness and sales close rates.

2. Manage team apps as you manage UC

If your team collaboration app supports voice and video features, you must ensure their availability. If you are using a hosted application, make sure to actively monitor outage reporting and share information with your users. For voice and video, learn what management capabilities are available from your team collaboration app vendor and from third-party voice and video management tools.

3. Have a solid security and compliance strategy

For most organizations, a security strategy means enabling single sign-on, integrating team collaboration app management with your mobile device management platform, and implementing retention and compliance controls based on your operating environment. It also means monitoring your app vendor for security announcements or patches if you run on premises or in a private cloud instance.

4. Integrate provisioning into your HR process

Bringing team collaboration provisioning to the HR process ensures team collaboration accounts are set up as new hires are onboarded and permissions are revoked as people depart. Provisioning should also control user access to team workspaces based on need or role.

5. Provide community support

One of the big reasons team collaboration apps have taken off is because most people can figure out how to use them with little to no training. But that doesn't mean you can ignore the need to train and support your users. Instead, set up a community channel within the app -- or apps -- to provide tips, tricks, best practices and answer questions. Pretty soon, you'll find power users sharing information that will help employees take advantage of the apps' native capabilities, as well as integrations and plug-ins to improve the team collaboration experience.

Team collaboration management may not guarantee success, but it will help avoid adoption failure. Be proactive in managing performance, training, reporting, and support, and you are more likely to see measurable business value from your team collaboration investment.

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