How to Bring Agility to Legacy Collaboration Systems: 10 Best Practices

1 - How to Bring Agility to Legacy Collaboration Systems: 10 Best Practices
2 - Understand Strategic Drivers for Improved Collaboration
3 - Focus on Improving Collaboration With External Partners
4 - Assess the Degree of Technical Support You Are Providing
5 - Check Collaboration System to See if It Supports External or Mobile Users
6 - Create Hybrid Cloud Solutions as Extension of On-Premises ECM, Collaboration
7 - Assess Current Policies Around File Sync and Share Services
8 - Look Beyond Basic Content Access on Mobile Devices
9 - Align Repositories for Cloud Collaboration and On-Premises Systems
10 - Avoid Creating In-house Developed Mobile Environments
11 - Deploy Process Functions for Mobile
1 of 11

How to Bring Agility to Legacy Collaboration Systems: 10 Best Practices

by Chris Preimesberger

2 of 11

Understand Strategic Drivers for Improved Collaboration

The research found that nearly half of respondents ranked improved productivity as the biggest strategic driver for improving collaboration. This was followed by access to a pooled knowledge base and unifying a geographically distributed workforce. By understanding what makes collaboration important for employees, organizations can equip themselves to meet user requirements for enterprise applications and thus prevent employees from circumventing IT to use unsanctioned tools.

3 of 11

Focus on Improving Collaboration With External Partners

Businesses should be aware of areas within the organization where collaboration is crucial. For 60 percent of those surveyed, external collaboration is considered to be "crucial" or "very important." Specific initiatives that might require extending collaboration beyond the firewall include contracts, bids and proposals. Facilitating an improved line of communication for bid preparation and contract negotiation is almost certain to make a strong contribution to whether those bids are won.

4 of 11

Assess the Degree of Technical Support You Are Providing

Fifty percent of respondents believe their organization has shortfalls in technical support for internal collaboration, rising to 71 percent for external collaboration. In particular, nearly 40 percent feel quite strongly that collaboration systems are badly supported—even where external collaboration is crucial. The most important types of technical support include the sharing of content and documents and workflows for comments and approvals, both of which are fundamental to modern collaboration processes.

5 of 11

Check Collaboration System to See if It Supports External or Mobile Users

Fewer than 25 percent of those surveyed have any document creation, editing or workflow capability on their mobile devices, although 85 percent would like to have it. About half have view-only access on their mobile devices. With new-gen workforces becoming increasingly mobile, having the ability to not only view documents from a mobile device but actually edit and collaborate on them is essential for maintaining productivity while on the go.

6 of 11

Create Hybrid Cloud Solutions as Extension of On-Premises ECM, Collaboration

Nearly 50 percent of respondents are looking for a hybrid collaboration support solution because it enables user access, classification, retention policies and process workflows to be synchronized across cloud and mobile access. Whether it is in a particular country or even in their own data center, hybrid cloud solutions ensure data security while also providing productivity gains.

7 of 11

Assess Current Policies Around File Sync and Share Services

One third of respondents either have no policies to protect data shared via unsanctioned applications, or their policies do not bar these tools at all. Of course, having stated policies is one thing, but actually enforcing them is another, and if the most popular apps are not actually restricted, widespread circumvention is likely. But given the demand for these cloud services, simply banning them without providing an alternative is short-sighted. Consider introducing an approved and supported enterprise-grade system, possibly as an interim, but ensure that it has strong security options and user access controls.

8 of 11

Look Beyond Basic Content Access on Mobile Devices

Only 20 percent of organizations are able to provide document review and editing on mobile devices, even though most would like to be able to do this. Particularly when looking for a long-term collaboration solution, consider incorporating capture and edit, and review and annotation functions, as well as interoperability with back-office processes.

9 of 11

Align Repositories for Cloud Collaboration and On-Premises Systems

One of the biggest concerns around adopting a formal collaboration system is the fact that it creates yet another repository for content, user access and retention, which might be disconnected from legacy systems. The ability to align with on-premises systems would help here, as well as third-party cloud extensions to popular on-premises systems. Another option would be to deploy a stand-alone cloud system that offers a range of connectors.

10 of 11

Avoid Creating In-house Developed Mobile Environments

Cloud extension solutions from existing ECM vendors are much easier to support across current and future mobile devices, and are less likely to have security loopholes.

11 of 11

Deploy Process Functions for Mobile

Content access is just one part of how mobile devices can interact with back-end processes to improve collaboration and increase productivity—process functions are just as important. Reports, dashboards and electronic forms were found to be the most popular process functions to access from mobile, although only 30 percent of respondents have this ability now. Electronic approvals and workflow sign-offs were the second most popular, with only 20 percent having this now.

Top White Papers and Webcasts