How to successfully migrate to a new collaboration platform

How to successfully migrate to a new collaboration platform

Digital collaboration is a simple yet powerful way to help businesses reach new heights. Think back on your business's biggest wins. How many of them were championed by a lone ranger versus a team of specialists who all brought something special to the project?

The increasing reliance on digital collaboration has led developers to create a constant stream of new tools and upgrade those that already exist. From instant messaging to video conferencing tools, the market offers a slew of team collaboration software and apps.

It easy to fall in love with a particular collaboration platform because of its impressive capabilities, but don't forget to factor in the amount of work required to move from one system to another. Especially if the one you prefer has new or unfamiliar features, adopting a fresh collaboration or productivity tool has its complications.

But don’t fret! Proper planning and management can help you identify and address areas that could affect employee productivity and cause business downtime. Here are some steps you can take for a smooth and successful transition to a new collaboration platform.

1. Determine the purpose of the migration

Before thinking about which platform to switch to, ask yourself if your business really needs to make a full transition. Maybe you’re better off enhancing certain features and retiring others, or even trying out products that can coexist with your current collaboration software.

For example, there's no need to switch from Office 365 to G Suite because you like one of Google's apps or features. Upgrading to a higher-tier plan might do the trick. Or you can sign up for a standalone app that integrates with Office 365. On the other hand, you may find it necessary to make a total transition from one collaboration platform to another, especially if the former doesn't fit your team's goals and objectives.

2. Adopt a proven framework

It's easier to adopt a framework that's been tried and tested rather than create a new one from scratch. Some IT service providers offer cloud computing services that include migration solutions that align and meet unique business and IT goals. These frameworks also often provide the necessary governance to ensure a project is finished swiftly and affordably.

But going over budget isn't the worst that can happen. There are several risks to operations during any sort of foundational change, so it's good to adopt a framework that has a risk mitigation plan. When you're moving large amounts of data or changing several processes at once, there's a chance that something might get lost or be shared with the wrong people. Likewise, the plan should also include appropriate solutions for instances where users can’t or don’t want to accept planned changes.

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3. Devise a schedule and assign tasks

Once you've laid out your goals and settled on a framework, you can start creating a project schedule and defining roles. Assigning a go-to person establishes a single point of communication and overall accountability. Your employees can reach out to them if they have a concern that might affect the move to the new platform.

You should also ensure that whoever manages your IT is aware of all the changes, even if the impact on technology is minimal. Ask our virtual chief information officers and he’ll tell you that the fastest-growing businesses are the ones that keep their revenue goals and IT goals tightly intertwined.

4. Oversee daily operations during the transition period

Because transitions are inherently confusing, some employees might find it difficult to pursue business as usual. As such, your IT staff needs to stay on their toes to know how to support the rest of the team and help them manage day-to-day operations, especially if the new platform is totally different from the old one.

Inevitably, your employees will need time to adjust. Streamlined and clear communications can keep everyone informed of the migration’s progress and minimize how long it takes to get into a groove with the new platform and start making improvements.

5. Train your employees on how to use the new platform

Working with new tools also means learning to use them. You can’t assume that your employees will easily embrace a different platform. If your employees are spending several hours pouring over technical support documents long after adopting the new system, then the entire transition would be counterproductive.

It's well worth the time and effort to orient your employees about the new platform and provide them with in-depth and hands-on training. It would be helpful to partner with an expert in the adoption and integration of new technologies to ensure that the entire process goes smoothly.

There’s a long list of variables to consider when moving to a new collaboration platform, but managed services providers (MSPs) like Quicktech offer and implement proactive IT solutions that can help your business maximize productivity and save time and money.

If you’re located in Vancouver, Burnaby, or Richmond and decide that you want to explore other collaboration tools, discuss your options with our knowledgeable IT experts here. Until then, you can download and skim through our free eBook, 20 Signs That Your Business is Ready for Managed Services, to learn about other common IT problems that an MSP can solve for small- and medium-sized businesses.

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