Creative ideas discovered by the water cooler are a thing of the past, or are they?

I’ve been in the work world for a number of years and seen the evolution of collaboration technology change and morph the way we work in many ways, particularly how we work. Few experiences quite match the collaboration we had at the proverbial water cooler. You know, the place where you walk past a co-worker or two and stop to discuss the latest project. Your casual meeting turns into the next step you need to keep a project moving. For better or for worse, we don’t live in that world anymore. Our teams are geographically dispersed. Even when we’re in the same state, it’s likely we’re in different offices, or on different floors. Because of this, the meeting by the water cooler doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot more to orchestrate these chance encounters than just walking past someone’s cube, or to the breakroom for another cup of coffee.

Currently, I work at Meet Me In The Cloud as a Collaboration Specialist. Meet Me In The Cloud is a global leader in collaboration adoption services. We exclusively focus on Cisco’s cloud collaboration suite, Webex (you might have heard of it?). We help organizations large and small get the most value out of their collaboration services. Every day I work with folks around the world, to help them use their Webex services to get stuff done better, faster, more efficiently, and sometimes- with more fun. After all, that is what collaboration is: the action of working with someone to produce or create something!

What if we could recapture that innovation and spontaneous collaboration, using the power of Webex? To get there you need to lay the groundwork.

1. Get your team excited about collaboration.

Before I came to Meet Me In The Cloud I was the Lead Spark Evangelist in Cisco’s Customer Success organization (back when Webex Teams was named Cisco Spark.) I traveled around the world to spread the good word about the power of team collaboration. It was exciting to see how this powerful tool enabled people to work in new ways. I’ve been immersed in Cisco’s collaboration ecosystem since the debut of Project Squared and have been at the tip of the spear as the platform evolved into Cisco Spark. It’s been an exciting journey as they added an award-winning hardware portfolio, and the platform finally became united under the Webex banner.

End-users often want to know, “will this new technology get in my way, or will it help me do my job more easily?” I’ve seen this collaboration technology fully implemented, and the answer is, it will enhance your workflow without a huge learning curve. Often, we see that adoption stumbles when a new tool is deployed without a clear message answering, “what’s in it for me?” There are tremendous capabilities within the Webex platform, especially in Webex Teams, to enable a wide range of work styles. Challenge your teams to look at what they do every day, and what they wish could be improved. There is a good chance the Webex Teams collaboration technology will change the way they get things done, for the better.

For example, has your weekly project report email ever turned into a conversation? Fractured threads and attempts to keep people in the loop can make email painful all while you search for a specific file buried deep in that thread. You end up pinging the original sender on IM, wasting value time. Collaboration has become more complex. Using a tool like email has its place, but when you use a tool like Webex Teams, designed specifically for today’s workplace, your work is streamlined.

2. Make the implementation of the technology seamless.

The best way to do this is to work with a team of professionals who are as passionate and excited about collaboration as you are. When deploying collaboration tools, it’s crucial to understand that this is a “people” deployment as much as it is a technology deployment. Cisco likes to say that it’s changing the way you work using the Webex suite- Meet Me In The Cloud is changing the way you train on it! Meet Me In The Cloud is the only Cisco Indirect Channel Partner and certified Webex Lifecycle Advisor, focused exclusively on the Webex family of services. Every day we apply our deep knowledge of working with the Webex platform to help our clients solve business challenges, find more value in their services—and get things done! We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we like to think few know Webex better than us. Take a look at our adoption methodology to see how we can partner with you to lay the groundwork for a better way to collaborate.

3. Be a collaboration leader.

It is said that if you build it they will come, but often it takes an influencer or leader to model behavior in a new environment. Sketch out a plan of some of the collaboration interactions you would like to see on your new platform and note the benefits you’re expecting to realize.

An important initial step is to understand how your organization communicates today! Think about how groups and teams utilize email lists and IM services to collaborate. This is easy, low-hanging fruit to pick as you map ways of working to a new platform like Webex Teams.

Most organizations create a few “organizational level” teams and spaces to get started. These organizational spaces are a good starting point, to help your people get used to the new environment! You are modeling for other users how they can start their own spaces and teams as they wish, for their functional working groups, projects, and even virtual “water cooler” spaces!

As you gain momentum, it is vital that you recruit other leaders. Bring other leaders and managers in early to ensure robust adoption occurs at all levels of your organization. This way, users will get organizational announcements from their leaders in the pre-setup spaces. In addition, they will be able to work in customized spaces they set up. Get started today by using the Webex Power Pack to bring your team into Teams!

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