Apple Computer is about to embark on a major milestone, 25 Billion downloads from the iTunes Store. This is just one of many milestones for this iconic company. And like many of their other milestones, this milestone did not happen overnight. In fact, it started over a decade ago by identifying their target audience, a user with the original ipod, a Mac computer and the iTunes application. These were all technologies that the company fully controlled; hence affording them complete control the user experience. Later the company continued to expand its target audience by supporting MS Windows, adding more content to the store and constantly re-inventing their hardware and software.
Adding a collaboration solution to your environment should not be much different than the Apple’s approach. Instead of a generic one size fits all approach, identify your target audience within the organization while keeping a keen eye on the applications that support the target audience. Try to select an application where you control the complete user experience throughout the development process. Once identified, tailor a solution that fits your user’s needs while identifying the common functionality that will serve well for other areas within the organization. Now work to enhance the application with collaboration capabilities that will serve the users best through ease of use and intuitive functionality. Launch this targeted application and begin to expand out to the rest of the organization. As you continue to expand to new organizations and applications, circle back to the existing users and tweak the solution if necessary. Track lessons learned along the way and apply them to the collaborative solutions delivered throughout your enterprise.
You can fully control the user experience by focusing on embedding collaboration services within applications that you completely control. This in turn leads to a greater chance of success for applying collaborative capabilities to your organization. Apple reached 25B downloads with a similar approach – bringing collaboration to 100% of your organization should be your milestone for success.