Preparing for Transformation: Defining the Baseline

April 29, 2021

Pete Summers

Preparing for Transformation: Defining the Baseline image

In my introductory article, I highlighted the importance of monitoring any rollout of a collaboration platform to keep it on track and ensure that you realize the intended strategic goals, business benefits, and return on investment. To be able to do that, you need first of all to understand your starting position so that you have a baseline against which to monitor and measure progress – and that’s the task I’ll discuss this time.

In terms of the starting position, there are two main aspects to consider: technology and people. Most organizations appreciate the need to understand the technology that is already in place and how it’s being used, but many underestimate the need to assess their people’s skills and behavior.

Why is the human aspect so important? Part of this is, of course, about getting to the bottom of who is using what existing applications and how, so that you can decide how and when people should be encouraged to migrate to the new platform. But an even bigger part is about understanding the workforce’s overall ability to absorb change and utilize IT.

Success in rollout of a new platform depends heavily on identifying people who can act as early adopters of, and champions for, your new platform. These are the teams and individuals who can help you pilot new functionality and later coach, direct and encourage others to use it to the full.

By understanding the people aspect of your business as well as your current technology landscape, you can build the essential baseline against which to monitor, measure and manage deployment progress.

At the same time, you can identify the right KPIs for steering the realization of your intended benefits. The KPIs can be assigned weightings to reflect their relative importance to the business. With appropriate tools, it takes next to no effort to measure progress against the weighted KPIs once your rollout gets going.

The specific KPIs you choose will depend partly on your chosen platform, and also on your business needs, but might typically relate to topics like:

  • Communications and collaboration streamlining
  • Storage adoption
  • Meeting efficiency
  • Aggregate Prominence
  • Productivity gains (internal and third-party)
  • Category and version sprawl (use of multiple applications, or versions of applications, to perform the same function)

As well as equipping you to steer your project, gaining a thorough understanding of your technology position and people in the preparatory phase will ensure that you can create a deployment strategy that suits your organization’s capabilities and readiness for change.

Taking these preparatory steps also helps you test and strengthen the business case for your initiatives because you know what level of ambition and pace of change is realistic for your specific organization. In my next article, I’ll discuss how to manage the rollout in a way that fulfills the business case. Meanwhile, please download our new guide, Realize the Value of Microsoft Teams.