Smarter Collaboration (on Files) is Urgently Required

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When we share files or work together with several people on files; e-mail and file shares are still used extensively. Yet, this is not a very effective or efficient way of working together.  E-mail and file shares are not really designed for effective collaboration and knowledge sharing. Leaving us with huge e-mail trees, branching out endlessly and impossible to track. File shares offer a poor view of documents versions, with limited flexibility for sharing your documents with colleagues. We lose track of the latest document version, and we have fragmented conversations about documents in our e-mail.

office 365

In this series of articles, we will explain why the days of sending attachments in an e-mail are numbered. Starting today, we will help you to never again send a document that is saved to a file share to any of your colleagues. So that you no longer need to struggle with combining versions (or actually copies), coordinating the changes, tracking who has done what, and finding the most recent and updated version.  But we’re also going to help you to not just copy your files to Office 365, but to choose a different approach where you can really get the most out of what Office 365 has to offer. 

Soon available in this series: 

1. What does not work with fileshares and e-mail?
2. Smarter collaboration on files with Office 365
3. Thinking about fileshares with the Silverside Collaboration Framework
4. You can also share e-mails 

Reference story Kawasaki – IBM Connections

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In conversation with Frank Barendsma – ICT Manager at Kawasaki Motors Europe N.V. about the implementation of Kawasaki Connect with IBM Connections as intranet and communication platform.

IBM Connections at Kawasaki?

As an international player in the world of motorcycles and with multiple branches in Europe, Kawasaki Motors is constantly in search for better forms of communication. A few years ago, the R&D department began the search for a new platform to improve the communication within the company. They already worked with IBM Cognos and, from this perspective, we thought of IBM Connections as the best option to satisfy the organizational needs.

When did you start thinking about changing how you communicate within the organisation?

The IT team currently responsible for IBM Connections, inherited the project from a colleague who has now retired. This resulted in a new start, with a new approach: “Introduce IBM Connections slowly, in small steps and see how the organization reacts.” The introduction of a Bulletin Board System (BBS) helped us to introduce IBM Connections. This is a good method.

R&D had picked it up, but never successfully. With this knowledge, a new pilot was set up in which the KPIs were clearly defined. The implementation started with the Bulletin Board System (BBS). Where information was shared within the organization, fed from IBM Connections. Stories like successes during Motorcycle Grand Prix, but also HR reports of interest to employees and organisation.

Was there resistance within the organization?

At first there was resistance, as is common with change. Connections was compared to Facebook. There were reactions like “Are we getting another system?” and there was also fear, because … “Now everyone can see what I am doing!”.

“The biggest challenge was user adoption of Kawasaki Connect.” I am pretty stubborn and was convinced that people would automatically understand that they should use it, I was wrong!”

What really helped you?

Before the introduction of IBM Connections, various pilots were started and within these pilots the success factors were examined. During the pilots the same questions were asked (questions also raised during the session with Silverside). For instance: “What processes do you use?”, “What do you want to achieve?” and “Go and see where you can deploy IBM Connections and convince the management with KPIs”. This is where the real adoption process for IBM Connections began.

“The Silverside method helped us convince people not to fall back into their old way of working”.

When did you decide to launch IBM Connections?

After the first successes, the Champions within Kawasaki Connect acted as ambassadors for the platform. The first success was achieved through file sharing and in particular around the Rotation Schedule. This is an important document that makes it clear which motorcycles are at the different shows throughout Europe. Where at first – in the old-fashioned way – a document was first emailed to all branches, IBM Connections is now used to keep track of everything. There is a lot of communication around this document, so updated and correct data is fundamental.

IBM Connections

“The Silverside methodology allowed us to convince several groups to adopt IBM Connections.”

After this step, were there other trials and successes?

After the pilots, people became curious and resistance was turned into interest. The fear disappeared and there was success during various training sessions. This also created a need for extra training. By this time the Marketing department had also started with IBM Connections. It became obvious that there was room for improvement, specifically with file management. During the training sessions you actually saw people catching on.

beproeving
The next step was logical: discover other applications for the platform and try to get more people on board. HQ – the head office in the Netherlands – took the lead, but we had to get all countries (branches) connected? Specific training could be the solution. There were case studies available and we had to use these to make IBM Connections transparent and to show the added value. We noticed that Video training was not effective, so there was a need for more live sessions. The impact of a Video training was simply ineffective.

The Netherlands is clearly a forerunner, but in other European countries things are going slower than we would like. This is mainly due to the hierarchical culture, old habits and the laws and regulations that apply to the organization. This is our next challenge. Especially when it comes to sharing knowledge and expertise. IBM Connections must make this possible for us.

“Do not put energy into people who do not want to work as the Rogers Curve prescribes – the 16% laggards will always try to find a reason not to participate.”

Silverside's Rogers Adoption Curve

Like every IT department, we also have our challenges. The ‘not invented by me syndrome’ and ‘because it runs on a computer is probably IT’ combined with questions like “How many hours a day are you working with IBM Connections?” have made us realize that the use of the Silverside methodology has helped us to further develop our new way of collaboration.

“It is up to you to decide which tools you want to use. 1-on-1? Use IBM Sametime. Working with a team? Then work in IBM Connections!”

What was the low point in the process?

If we had focused on adapting the behaviour within the organization sooner, we would have been able to accelerate the lead time of the pilots and adoption. This is something that we will take with us in the next challenge.
After the turning point – perhaps a little setback – you gain knowledge. What was your goal, your vision? Are there still major obstacles ahead or is there a final challenge?

Kawasaki’s goal is to first connect all departments in the Netherlands and then share this success with Europe. In every country there is a champion to promote the platform and we need these ambassadors to make Kawasaki Connect an international success. This will be done by sharing success stories with others.

“We have only really been active for a year, and after three years it feels like we are almost there. Adoption of the platform has begun, thanks to the training. We have to stay on top of it as a team. Everyone is busy – so we all have little time. ”

Looking back at the project, how do you feel?

Literally: “like there is a light at the end of the tunnel”. The new way of working is also paying off. New employees are immediately introduced to the new method. The Silverside Work Agreement is used for different purposes, as a guide, think of:

  • What problem are we going to solve?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • Which tools do you want to use?
  • For which group do you do this?
  • ‘Stop doing and start with’ scenarios.

What would you do differently?

If we started the process again, we would have more patience. Start with the same enthusiasm, but look also at the right methodology. Be more convincing internally and support others. Sometimes I have to control my enthusiasm. We invested a lot in the buy-in and approval of senior management to create more awareness. The buy-in of the users is far more important.

“Find ambassadors to make adoption possible. Short but powerful: More bottom-up than top-down management style. Finding ambassadors is crucial to gain support. “

What kind of possibilities do you see for ‘bots’?

Chat Bot

The progress of bots is unstoppable. It is just a matter of time before we start working with them. With the speed at which things are going now, we also have to make choices. Before you complete something, technology overtakes you.
“Pick your battles” Bots might close the gap? We just don’t know yet. At the moment we have other challenges. We are curious about bots, or I certainly am. The thought that our Rotation Schedule will automatically update and be distributed on the basis of GPS signals from the motorcycles, makes me really happy. But maybe that’s too much to ask … or maybe not?

In the short-term? Measuring the mood within the organization? People check a weather app to see what the weather is, but what are the expectations within the organization? Is it an automated bulletin board (BBS). Currently we still rely on people to fill the system with information, but of course it would be brilliant if this could be automated based on personal interests.

And … if I do not have to do anything for it, then it’s even better. It must have a low-threshold! I can’t wait to see how it all works out!

You can also read about the digital workplace of the smallest bank in the Netherlands.

SKG – The digital workplace with IBM Connections

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A few years ago Stichting Kerkelijk Geldbeheer started using IBM Connections to share knowledge, documents and updates. Improving collaboration between colleagues. However, adoption of the platform was not automatic.

Stichting Kerkelijk Geldbeheer (SKG) provides financial services, in particular to Protestant churches and related organizations in the Netherlands. Operating from their offices in Gouda. The team is busy every day to provide their customers with the best service possible. Until a few years ago, collaboration and knowledge sharing took place almost entirely ‘offline’ or in separate digital documents. “Minutes were worked out on paper”, says IT Manager Dick Veenstra. But even information relevant to the client, such as the current interest rates, were updated manually in Excel files.

Many versions of the same files

This often led to chaos. Especially when, for example, different versions of the interest rates were in circulation. “With a great impact on the services. You definitely want to communicate the correct, current rates to the customers. That should not depend on which letter or version of the document the employees happen to have open at that moment”.

In recent years, the work pressure has increased. In order to guarantee the quality of the service, and to improve collaboration, Veenstra went in search of a digital solution. “At an IBM event, I was introduced to IBM Connections. The platform enables efficient sharing of files and streamlines mutual communication. As far as I am concerned, the right solution for SKG”.

Veenstra immediatly saved the interest rates in IBM Connections, to eliminate the misunderstandings they had experienced previously. Everyone immediately had access to the right, up-to-date rates.

Resistance

Nevertheless, the introduction of IBM Connections within SKG was not an easy task. It was not welcomed with open arms. Veenstra: ”We have always done it that way’ or ‘we communicate face-to-face’ is what I often hear. It’s not so strange: people are naturally reluctant to change. Management was also not immediately enthusiastic”.

Nevertheless, management gradually began to appreciate the value and started using the platform for meetings. “Paper minutes became a thing of the past. During the meeting, they could immediately set out action points in IBM Connections. Working out the minutes later was no longer necessary, and everyone immediately had the right information”.

Workshops

Veenstra called in Silverside to help increase the adoption of IBM Connections for the rest of the team. “During workshops and training sessions Silverside presented the value of using the platform in practise and that opened eyes for many colleagues. The Credit and Payments department in particular, started seeing the added value and started adapting the tools slowly but surely”.

In practice the Credit and Payments department quickly began using the platform. They created a variety of Wikis for describing business processes in IBM Connections. As a result, everyone always had access to the right procedures. Once that happened, the platform spread within the organization. Now SKG uses the digital tool for all kinds of processes, the platform is especially popular for distributing internal updates.

Solid basis

Veenstra is not yet done with his task to deploy IBM Connections more broadly, but the foundation is now established within the whole organization. “At the moment, the platform is used for internal updates as well as recording meetings and storing central overviews. A number of colleagues even uses the platform on a smartphone”.

According to Veenstra, the adoption process is primarily a matter of patience and trust. “People must start to see what the platform offers them. When a number of people become enthusiastic, the rest automatically follow. I am pleased that Silverside gave us a push in the right direction”.

IBM Watson: is it the next step?

At the moment, SKG is busy implementing the platform: SKG Online. After the launch, we will continue to work on ‘collaboration’. Also – partly due to the introduction of IBM Watson – there is interest in the next step: accelerating complex processes. Currently financing takes a lot of time and demands a lot of resources from the organization. However, in the future the deployment of bots may provide a solution.There is a need for the rapid processing of information on permits, laws and regulations drawn up by the government, among others”.

We are very satisfied with IBM Connections. It has allowed us to grow as an organization and to deal more effectively with processing information. ”

Read more about the success story of IBM Connections at Kawasaki Motors Europe.

4 Steps to Change your Company Culture

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 Change a company culture is the most difficult decision for managers and leaders. Indeed, as Tom Peters affirmed:

“It is easier to kill an organization than it is to change it.”

However, nothing is impossible in the business world. For this reason, here there are some tips and tricks that everybody can use as a guideline, in the process of changing company culture and management. Four steps are almost mandatory:

Assess your Company CultureAssess company culture

The best way to start the change, is to understand where your company culture exactly is. This means understanding which specific characteristics shape it, the mission, the values and the vision. In this challenge, online surveys can help to highlight qualities, pitfalls, challenges and allergies. They also offer specific advice for running an implementation project within the organization and tips for the required change management. Don’t you know how to do it? The Company Culture Assessment will definitely help you.

 

Start with Why

start with why

Simon Sinek champions the philosophy of “Starting with Why”. This is a simple yet profound message that motivates leaders and employees to change. There is a strong need to communicate to all employees the reasons for a project and what the consequences of this migration will be for them. And motivation means people want to change, rather than must change. This will drastically reduce employees’ retention towards the change.

Productivity scenarios: Find the right tools

productivity scenarios

Productivity scenarios provide a structured way of exploring the effects of a new company culture. Scenarios paint a picture of a possible near-term future where new tools, combined with better practices, can create more efficient ways of working. Finding the right tools for the change, having as a base the features of the company culture and the behavior of its employees, is one of the most decisive task in the process.

Tiny Habit

Change HabitsA “Tiny Habit” is a simple behaviour or action you do at least once a day, that takes you less than 30 seconds and that requires little effort. Every time you success in doing or embracing the new habit, you must celebrate. The stronger you feel a positive emotion after your Tiny Habit, the faster it will become automatic. Yet, with little actions repeated regularly, we can easily transform our attitude at work. If you are thinking to change a company culture and employees’ behaviour in only one day, we can ensure you this is not going to happen. The process requires time and efforts, but at the end, the result will be successful.  

 

Altogether, these four steps make leaders understand that the change is never immediate, nor simple. Remember, what you need is: awareness, team collaboration, motivation and hard work, it is possible to change the company culture, without neglecting the core values at the base.

 

Be Productive by Choosing Productivity Scenarios: the Efficiency of Collaborative Approach

Most experts agree on benefits that collaboration can bring to business and claim that effective collaboration enhance the work productivity. The combined brainpower of intelligent people can solve complex problems and successfully work on achieving wonderful results.

Without talking too much about the clear benefits of a good collaboration Silverside presents more concrete information and shares the knowledge on productivity scenarios. It provides a structured way of exploring the effects of a new collaboration platform on how teams work. Scenarios paint a picture of a possible near-term future where new tools combined with better practices can create more effective and efficient ways of working. Scenarios specific to an organization are the most impactful—and this process of discovery is something Silverside can help you with—but there are also generic scenarios that apply across most teams at many organizations.

Silverside

• Smarter Meetings. Hold better meetings that save time and drive an outcomes-focus, by preparing appropriately for meetings beforehand and spending the actual meeting time on making well-informed decisions. Use new meeting technologies that enable remote participants to join, and shared repositories for distributing meeting materials, documenting decisions, and tracking next actions.

• Finding Expertise. Make your experience accessible to benefit yourself and others by maintaining an online profile of your expertise, knowledge, projects, education, and interests. Identify other people with common interests, and learn from their experiences. Your up-to-date profile helps other people find you for new projects and assignments that will grow your career and also enhance organization’s productivity.

• Running a Project. Run effective action-oriented projects to create something new, by pulling together the right team members based on their expertise and knowledge, and using a shared project space for project documents, discussions, decisions, and deadlines. Shared project visibility enables everyone to pull in the same direction.

Silverside

• Co-authoring Documents. Create valuable and validated content together with other people, by embracing new generation online document authoring and editing tools. Be productive and stop emailing documents to other people for review and input, and instead work together on a shared collection of documents that alert on changes and enable seamless online/offline synchronisation.

• Onboarding People. Introduce people to new processes and information they need to be across, both when they initially join your organisation and when they move into new projects, departments, and areas of contribution. Helping people more quickly get up-to-speed enables them to make a better contribution faster.

• Collaborating as a Team. Create teams with a strong identity, clear objectives, and members with well-defined roles and responsibilities. Hold open discussions, smart meetings, and inspire out-of-the-box thinking. Use a common digital place to store the team’s current work, and keep task lists real and relevant.

• Smarter Decisions. Make informed and intelligent decisions at the right time, integrating both thinking and feeling into decision-making processes. Be clear on decision criteria, evaluate the options, get input from the right people, and make a strong decision to guide future action.

• Sharing Information. Create collective intelligence to grow shared knowledge by using open documentation and discussion systems rather than private document collections that hide knowledge from everyone else. Discovering other people with similar interests and shared expertise enables deeper learning.

Take the new approach and evaluate the power of collaboration.By choosing right productivity scenarios you can bring your business to the new level. More about collaboration and why it is necessary for our business How to Put Collaboration at the Center of your Business.

How to put Collaboration at the centre of your Business

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In the hyper-modern era where we are living, new technologies and social media are affecting our way of working and living. Now, everyone worldwide, needs to be 24h connected, 100% efficient and productive. The key to survive in this business environment, is collaboration.

Living in a transforming environmentTransforming business environment

The face of work is rapidly changing and it is affecting organizations in many aspects. Firstly, team work has been modified: from an individualistic way of working to a more collaborative one. Secondly, decision-making processes are transforming, due to the more than ever limited time available. Lastly, the legal and regulatory demands are revolutionizing with tightening mandates on data protection and data sovereignty. In response to these multi-faceted changes, organizations should   choose for modern approaches that enable people to connect, communicate and collaborate.

The key is Collaboration

collaboration is the keyThere are many reasons why this collaborative change in organizations is necessary today. On one hand, current enterprise tools are outdated, while now the need is for fluid tools that enable connection from anywhere. Therefore, the challenge is how to introduce new technological capabilities in enterprise communication. On the other hand, consumer-oriented tools have outpaced enterprise capabilities. With the widespread adoption of new technologies and platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and LinkedIn, consumers have limitless connectivity to communities, ideas, and expertise. As a consequence, the idea of both contribution and consumption media channels is becoming more and more real. Companies and organizations should think about how to manage these changes in the consumer landscape to benefit business. Furthermore, we should take into consideration the huge amount of availability of new technologies. Vendors are releasing a torrent of new technologies. Business leaders should determine which one has the greatest potential for improving their business.

What is needed to reach Collaboration?

Collaboration Silverside

A successful collaborative strategy requires several conditions, such as:

  • Clear linkage and alignment between the collaboration intent, business vision and strategy.
  • An organizational culture that encourages key collaborative behaviors to drive innovation and performance. On the contrary, employees in a hierarchical organization with strict processes will find it more difficult to collaborate.
  • Leadership that can drive the adoption of new ways of working by setting a good example.
  • Recognition that collaboration is a human activity, and that face-to-face meetings have an important place in the collaboration repertoire.
  • Availability of a collaboration platform and set of tools that support business needs

Follow the right methodology

Pace methodology Silverside

The PACE methodology can provide a concrete help for organizations that wants to become collaborative businesses. In particular, four phases are essential in this process:

Plan

Start with a consultancy-led engagement to understand your organization and define the opportunity for becoming a collaborative business. By working with key stakeholders, using assessments, interviews, workshops, company-wide surveys and illustrative productivity scenarios, the vision will be defined. Then, with a well-balanced 3-year goal/3-month plan, the road to achieve your vision is set.

Acquire

Acquire the new collaboration resources required to execute the plan: new technology to support collaborative working strategies, a business framework and an adoption strategy to instill change and transformation across your organization.

Change

Inspire, equip and motivate your people to embrace the transformation journey in their sphere of work in the newly emerging collaborative business.

Enhance

Optimize and increase the value of your change for a collaborative company. Address key challenges that threaten the output of the process and ensure ongoing alignment with the business goals.

Putting collaboration at the center of your business is crucial nowadays, if you want to be competitive in the market and optimize your efficiency and productivity. In other words, be the leader, by reaching the best results, in the easiest, smartest and most collaborative way.