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Paul Langton-Rose and Matt Bennett of Capgemini discuss the importance of collaboration to success during large-scale transformation.

Most organisations are undergoing some sort of change at any given time. Many are going through large-scale global or regional transformations, whether this is the whole business or in parts. However well planned or thought out the transformation, the success of long-term change is down to clear management of change and collaboration to gain buy-in and commitment. Without these two central aspects, business leaders and transformation owners will continue to get frustrated by a lack of engagement from the recipients of the change and individuals will feel change being done to them rather than feeling part of the success.

Change and collaboration during transformation programmes are not new. Acceleration of technology advances has, however, given rise to a new, more powerful way of embedding change through social collaboration, i.e. sharing of ideas and information via technology, to gain commitment from the get go.

This can take many forms, for example making use of an advocate network to accelerate social collaboration. Better collaboration equals better transformation – let’s take a look at how.

Collaborative solutions to best manage change

There are many different tools and approaches for collaboration. Here are some of them:

  • Social media environments: e.g. Yammer, Rypple, Bitrix 24. These solutions are mostly used for internal idea generation, networking and requests for expertise or documentation. However, social media can be used to embed change in real time, in small steps.
  • Knowledge share - crowdsourcing: This is vital in determing the direction of information flow and outlining challenges to the work. Crowdsourcing gathers insights, opinions and information through different social media and online channels. It can also be used to build knowledge and transform specific services e.g. market intelligence.
  • Knowledge store: Use of shared environments to store information is still relevant and many organisations make use of systems such as Sharepoint to share documentation and assets. These systems tend to be used to build data and file repositories. They are a great space to share information.
  • Don’t forget human interaction: Face-to-face time and use of working sessions are still relevant. The key is to integrate them with use of technology to hit the right people at the right time with the right information.

The different approaches are summarised in the figure on the right.

Bringing the best together: virtual collaboration environments

The most recent advances centre on bringing the above technology together to develop virtual environments, with names such as Huddle, Confluence and Jive leading the market. We have recently had an opportunity to try this approach ourselves for a client that is undergoing major global HR process transformation.

A virtual collaborative environment was built using the in-house Jive platform, and called ‘the Hive’. This became the organisation’s hub for developing a community of employees with a shared interest in specific HR processes. They were able to share ideas and develop their own preferred practice which could be implemented internally. This community was also responsible for developing specific HR processes using the insight developed from the global community and translating this into process maps which were reviewed and developed via the Hive.

The Hive also incorporated more traditional tools and techniques where possible, such as using a pop-up Hive (knowledge-sharing walls) for physical drop-in sessions, to accommodate all levels of digital capability.

In this case, successful transformation was facilitated by the Hive. Technology has been the enabler, though the personal dimension was created through interaction and authentic discussion. The strong engagement throughout the process resulted in accelerated project delivery and faster acceptance of proposed changes.

Clear business benefits

For organisations, social collaboration can literally be the difference between a large-scale implementation crashing and burning and one which lands successfully. Effective collaboration during times of major change can lead to better business results through greater productivity. Individuals and teams will also benefit because it provides a forum to engage people in design and implementation. Use of technology gives a voice to people and an opportunity to contribute, and be seen to contribute - use of gamification techniques on top can support increased engagement through reward and recognition.

In the Hive example above, use of social collaboration delivered a much richer and well thought through solution and brought together a global community. The collaborative technology was a game changer in commitment to making change happen.

Collaboration in times of transformational change is not just a nice to have but is necessary to land the desired outcomes. Using a blend of social collaboration technology (social media and next-generation communication technologies) can engage people in a way which more traditional approaches could not through lack of time, resource or reach. An important note is to take into account the existing organisational culture, technological maturity and digital competence.

Collaboration takes many forms and while there is absolutely still a need to engage people in person, social collaboration technology enables so much more, even bringing around culture change and digital capability improvements. To embed large-scale change and transformation, the message is simple – collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.

Capgemini is a leading global provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. Together with clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business, technology and digital solutions that fit their needs, enabling them to achieve innovation and competitiveness.
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