Digital Workplace: 6 Steps for a successful implementation

Unlock the full potential of your digital workplace with a successful implementation!
4 minutes
Did you know that 50% of software implemented in a company is only used by 50% of employees? (Nexthink study, February 2023).

That's 50% of licenses paid for nothing, not to mention the time wasted setting up the tool within teams.

As we all know, digital tools such as digital workplaces are almost ubiquitous in companies. These tools facilitate communication and cooperation between teams.

However, simply choosing and integrating a new tool doesn't automatically guarantee these advantages. To succeed, a thoughtful and strategic approach is essential.

In this article, we give you all the keys to successfully implementing a collaborative platform within your company.

Why Choose a Collaborative Tool?

Before explaining how to successfully implement your tool, it's important to remember the reasons why you're going to - or have decided to - take the leap.

Is your company using a solution that is no longer adapted to today's working methods? Indeed, some tools lack innovation and agility, in a context where management is based on agility and project management. Teams can quickly get lost: 37% of employees use 3 different browsers to access different collaborative tools. And that's not all: 31% of them use 2 collaboration tools simultaneously (Nexthink Study, February 2023). There's a real need to rethink how we collaborate.

Perhaps you'd like to use a new tool to alleviate the disadvantages of e-mail? Instant messaging integrated into collaborative platforms reduces your e-mail exchanges. You exchange in real time with the right person, and keep a record of your exchanges. Your data is no longer fragmented, and your files are no longer duplicated. With a collaborative tool, you improve communication within teams and between departments.

Are you overwhelmed by unnecessary meetings? Digital workplaces are also effective in reducing the number of meetings since discussions are centralized in specific workgroups. Information, whether written or in the form of documents, is transmitted.

Are you bombarded with notification floods and struggling to stay on top of your tasks? Using a collaborative platform is effective in better managing your notifications. You can mute one or more discussion channels to avoid being overwhelmed by alerts and stay focused on a daily basis.

Has your company implemented remote work, but you're facing collaboration issues? An agile and innovative tool improves remote work through different features like instant messaging, project management, or shared calendars. It depends on the remote collaboration tool you choose.

Do you want your project to be completed on time? A project management tool lets you define the steps to be followed, assign your collaborators and add a deadline to ensure that the project is completed on time.

Find our article on the top 10 reasons to use a collaborative platform.

Difficulties linked to the implementation of a digital workplace

Before implementing a new tool in your company, anticipate any difficulties you may encounter.

First of all, you may encounter communication problems. A tool may be imposed, but its objectives are not communicated. Employees will have little interest in this new solution, because they don't perceive the benefits.

You may also encounter ignorance, concern or even resistance to change. Your employees may be afraid of the unknown, and see their daily lives disrupted overnight, especially if they are used to traditional working methods. Resistance to change can slow down adoption and even compromise the success of the collaborative tool.

Last but not least, your employees might use your tool very little because they haven't been trained and don't know how to take advantage of its benefits.

6 Steps to Successfully Implement Your Collaborative tool

Now that you're aware of the difficulties that might come up against you, here are the 6 steps you need to take to successfully implement a digital workplace in your company.

  1. Define your needs
  2. Find the right solution
  3. Plan the implementation
  4. Set up your collaborative platform
  5. Train, communicate and raise awareness
  6. Evaluate and adapt

To define your needs, use the 5W method (Where, who, why, when, what). Create a document that answers all your questions. Here's an example of questions that might help you:

  • What are the objectives and expected results?
  • Who will be the users? Their profiles, needs, expectations, fears, annoyances?
  • Who will do the implementation?
  • What functionalities are required? Which ones are desired?
  • What budget?
  • How long will it take?
  • What level of support and maintenance?
  • What security or compliance requirements?
  • How to measure success?

Keep in mind that: "A project without buy-in from users is bound to fail" Méthode de conduite du changement, Autissier & Moutot, 2016. You need to have the support of your teams to start implementing the tool and changing collaboration habits.

To find the right collaborative platform for your needs, detail your company's context, target the problems encountered and their consequences, then identify the requirements. Research and evaluate the different collaborative tool options available on the market.

Find all our tips to help you choose the right collaborative tool in our dedicated article

You've found your collaborative solution. Now, it's time to create a detailed plan to effectively integrate it into your company. This involves several steps such as configuring your tool, empowering your teams, setting deadlines, and identifying necessary resources.

First, establish a communication plan to convince management and various teams to adopt the digital workplace.

To do this, ideally share 3 blocking problems your teams are facing and how this new tool will address them. Explain the objectives, uses, individual and collective benefits and opportunities.

Next, identify the key users, known as "champions", who are involved in the project from the beginning and who are motivated. These people will test the solution and encourage the teams. Also target more passive or disinterested people to engage them as fully as possible.

Next, designate the roles of administrators: who will manage subscriptions? Who will invite users to the space? Who will write the processes for using the platform? Etc. Preferably, designate the people in charge of your company's various departments.

First of all, test the collaborative tool during the trial period to prepare the architecture. Don't hesitate to add administrators to configure your collaborative space. Customize your tool according to your company's needs and processes. For example, create discussion channels based on your themes or teams. Add recurring events such as meetings or employee birthdays.

Configure security settings, access permissions, and integrations with other existing systems. If necessary, ask customer advisors for help in customizing the tool to your specific use case.

With a configured platform, your employees will know where to find information, how to communicate, and more. Everything will be clearer for them, and they'll become operational more quickly.Ensure a positive experience for all your employees. Lead by example: encourage feedback and criticism to make adjustments and meet expectations as closely as possible. Cultivate the habit of using the tool by making its use mandatory.

For example, all minutes will be written on the tool, or all events (meetings, points, conferences, etc.) will be added to the tool's agenda (if there is one).

Encouraging is one thing, but you also need to reassure your teams. To do this, explain all the processes and how best to use the tool. After a certain period, share the number of people in the company who have already used the tool, along with the gains achieved (in terms of time, productivity, costs).

Finally, be grateful to everyone who has contributed to this project.

It's crucial to support and provide training to your employees. To do this, you need to ask the right questions: What kind of training are you looking for? What do you need to learn?

With your tool configured, you and those who assisted you know how to use the tool effectively. Train ambassadors, the "champions" mentioned earlier, who will in turn train their teams.

Diversify the training approach: organize face-to-face or virtual training sessions, hold webinars, or create tutorials. Utilize the tool's resources such as tutorials and help centers to guide users through the steps, from signing up to daily use of the tool.

Don't forget to incorporate this training during the onboarding of new hires to make them operational right from the start.

Lastly, ongoing support is essential:

  • Create materials like posters displayed on your premises' walls to promote the application.
  • Hold follow-up meetings: How is the adaptation process going? Are there questions or feedback to address? How can you better assist employees in mastering the tool?

Feel free to provide feedback to the tool's customer advisors as well, sharing which features might not be clear or suggesting additions that are needed.

Finally, the last step in implementing your new collaborative platform is to keep your objectives and expected outcomes in mind, as defined when identifying your needs. To do this, measure qualitative and quantitative KPIs:

  • Regarding solution adoption: users who have created accounts, the number of unique and regular logins, specific actions like creating tasks, sending messages, or initiating video calls.
  • In relation to your pain points: time saved for specific actions compared to the previous method, the number of emails and meetings now versus before, the number of completed projects, the comfort of remote work thanks to the tool, team enthusiasm, and more.

Ensure tool adoption by regularly asking feedback through exchange sessions with "champions" or all teams, or via surveys.

It's important to take time to assess the situation and anticipate undesirable situations, such as not using the tool.

Collaborative tools have indeed found their place within companies by facilitating communication, coordination, and project management. The successful adoption of these tools relies on a strategic approach in multiple steps. The first step must always be to define and analyze requirements, otherwise the project may fail if it is not appropriate to the company's needs. Other steps not to be overlooked are: tool selection, planning, tool implementation, training, and evaluation.

Some collaborative platforms are easy to learn and use, and can be rapidly implemented within companies. Explore new ways of teamwork and project coordination with Atolia today!