Gradual roll-out or big bang approach to cloud collaboration?

Posted by John Glover

24-Oct-2014 10:27:00

Is it better to take a gradual roll out or big bang approach to collaborationWhen IT departments need to implement new software, there’s one question they need to answer before they start . Should we introduce it gradually, in parallel with older systems or move everyone over to the new system in a single ‘big bang’?

The answer very much depends on what software you are introducing and what, if any, systems it will replace. With cloud collaboration software, you are likely to face one of three scenarios. This post will take you through them, helping you to decide which implementation route is best for you.

1. Parallel implementation

Many organisations adopt cloud collaboration software to achieve things that are beyond the scope of their current software.

For example, an organisation may need collaborative workspaces to work online with internal and external stakeholders in different locations. Or it may want to set up secure workspaces that allow suppliers to submit tender documentation.

Whatever the reason for the introduction, if it complements rather than replaces the functionality of existing software, it’s best to introduce cloud collaboration software in parallel with existing systems. Indeed, it’s beneficial to implement the Kahootz collaboration platform alongside tools like Microsoft Word and Excel, which integrate fully with its collaborative workspaces.

2. Gradual roll-out vs big bang approach to integration

Sometimes an organisation will deploy online collaboration software in ways that will replace existing software. Good examples of this are when a platform like Kahootz is introduced as an intranet, as the organisation’s primary project management suite, as a team file-sharing tool or as secure online workspaces for committee and board members.

In some cases, such as using it as an intranet, it’s clear that you need to undertake a big bang approach to integration – running two intranets concurrently would simply be confusing.

In other situations, a gradual roll out is likely to be more productive. If you intend to use cloud collaboration as your primary project management software, it would make sense to roll out the new platform on a project-by-project basis. To minimise migration problems, teams could use the legacy software to complete old projects and adopt cloud collaboration to work on new ones.

If you do this using Kahootz, the beauty is that it is a highly cost-effective process because you only pay for single user licences. You can add users as you need them – meaning you are not faced with a major overhead when transferring users gradually.

As you can see, whether you adopt a gradual or big bang roll out depends very much on what you need to achieve. However, there is one other major factor to take into account when adopting cloud collaboration software – innovation.

3. Extending roll-out via innovation

When organisations adopt cloud collaboration software, users frequently find innovative new ways of deploying it.

To take one example, South Gloucestershire Council adopted Kahootz as a collaborative environment in which to develop core strategy work. As team members uncovered its potential, it was rolled out to the whole organisation as needed. Before long, the council was using the platform for 20 Safer Stronger Community Groups, emergency planning, census research, tutor support, broadband roll-out, waste management projects, mental health team collaboration and much more.

The fact that cloud collaboration use can spread throughout an organisation in so many ways, means that that deployment takes you way beyond needing to decide on gradual or big bang roll-out. Instead, as collaboration use spreads, you have to monitor whether the uses it is being put to are effectively making existing software redundant. For example, if you begin using cloud collaboration to run a Community Speed Watch group, do you then need to continue paying for your bulletin board software? Or if you use it to consult with colleagues, do you really need separate online questionnaire software?

Conclusion

Deciding on how to roll-out an online collaboration platform depends on what you want to use it for, and whether it replaces existing software. Because solutions like Kahootz are easy to deploy, both gradual and big-bang roll-outs are simplified. But once you are using the software in new contexts, keep an eye out to make sure it isn’t making other tools redundant – or you’ll find yourself paying for software you no longer use.

Why not see online collaboration’s potential for yourself? Once you experiment with the tools it offers, it’ll help you understand how it can be deployed – and how quickly it can aid many different teams within your organisation.

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Topics: collaboration tools, improving productivity, stakeholder engagement