Taking off the training wheels on company collaboration

//Taking off the training wheels on company collaboration

By Francois Pienaar

As a parent and sales executive, I face many similar issues in two very different worlds.

Currently as a parent, I’m faced with a critical decision in the development of my son’s cycling career – when do I take off the training wheels? He has three different bikes, all bought at different ages and all being enjoyed for different things, but I know that for him to really progress, he needs a regular pedal bike without training wheels.

I know that removing the training wheels will benefit him in the long run, but he is begging me to leave them on – a situation which has become common in the business world as well.

Have you ever tried to introduce a content management system in a company? Have you had to deal with users begging to remain on a file server and resisting the move to SharePoint or Office 365?

Now, let’s introduce Office Groups into the mix mentioned above. Even better, let’s put a further spanner into that collaboration mix and introduce Microsoft Teams. Better yet, let’s leave Yammer in the mix also.

What to use? When to use it? How to use it?

For me, it’s about maturity.


Similar to my son graduating from a tricycle to a bicycle without training wheels, organizations need to mature into the latest innovations of Microsoft. We cannot expect users that can barely use Word processing technology to fully adopt features such as Microsoft Teams and Office Groups.
You need to start with the basics and, once a large portion of the workforce is comfortable and naturally adopts, start the introduction of new innovative tools.

Most importantly, you need to consider: how mature is your organizations collaboration capability?

Levels of Collaborative Maturity

In simple terms, information workers, can be grouped in four levels of maturity:

Depending on age, background, previous job experience and general attitude, your user community will have a collection of people in one of these four categories. A departure point to adopting innovate solutions is to first understand where in these four quarters your users fall.

Moving the needle on Maturity

Once you know in which quarters your user falls, it’s important to first remediate that (where required). Starting a collaboration related project without this pre-work will end in tears, guaranteed.

Heard the term before “if they build it they will come”? Well it’s for this exact reason that they don’t come if you implement a system that is so far beyond what they are able to compute.

Mapping maturity to the Microsoft stack

Microsoft has dominated the word processing and general content creation space for decades and the organization does not look like it is taking its foot off the pedal. The amount of innovation that Microsoft is driving into the workplace is unlike anything experienced before, which is amazing for the fast adopters, but does present a few challenges to the laggards.

Firstly, the new products are being released at such a pace, that large companies can’t adopt quick enough. Secondly, users don’t get sufficient time to understand one piece of tech, before the next is released. Where does it fit in? How does it help us? What must I use for what function?
It all comes down to the maturity of your organization and the following mapping could help you map your user base to the available technology in the Microsoft stack.

One size doesn’t need to fit all

What’s great about the current wave of technology innovation we are experiencing is that everyone can be included, even the “lonely user”. The Microsoft stack has become an all-inclusive, eat-as-much-as-you-can environment that provides services for the isolated users along with the enterprise social workers.

Teams is Microsoft’s Slack killer and it has made massive inroads into the collaborate fabric of companies. Office Groups, a natural extension of Outlook, fits nicely into the collaboration ecosystem as a slightly easier-to-use framework that allows users to work in a natural way, but be more inclusive of teammates that don’t necessarily want to leave the comforts of their favorite email client.

So how do we proceed?

It’s critical that you assess the maturity of your organization by means of internal surveys or a bit of face-to-face consulting. Once this is concluded, you can assess what systems are in place and compare it with your company’s maturity level. You might find that you need to turn a few things off, or in the best case scenario, provide your users with better tools.

It’s also important to cater for all levels of collaborative maturity in your company. Ignore the “superstars” and you might find small-scale cloud solutions being used in pockets to drive team work. In the same token, ignore your “lonely users”, and you will never be able to turn them around.
Adoption is a choice, but…
Adoption is a choice, for sure, but without understanding the maturity of your user base, you cannot provide them with the relevant technology that makes it easier for them to adopt.

About Mint Group

Mint Group a global IT consultancy recognised as a top 1% global systems integrator. The organisation is also a member of the prestigious Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics third year running and recruits best-of-breed global IT skills and capabilities with two of only 144 ALM Rangers and 1 of only 160 PCSA’s globally employed as part of the Mint Group of companies.  As the dominant solutions provider to Africa’s financial services conglomerates, the company enables better business by digitally leading its clients through Customer Centricity with Dynamics 365, Employee Engagement with Office 365, Intelligent Insights with AI and Cognitive Computing, and Smarter Systems with Azure in the digital space.

Mint. Create tomorrow.

2019-09-27T07:07:12+02:00Thought Leadership|