An enterprise collaboration
plan is a project charter that documents how an organization will use its
collaboration platform during the course of projects and daily business
operations. While running SharePoint on-premise can be
expensive for some organizations, it’s prudent to track how you’re getting
maximum business and productivity value from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
collaboration platforms as well.

I’ve seen SharePoint work
famously, and I’ve seen it fail. I’ve been
burned by email inboxes, and I’ve seen other in-house and SaaS solutions
perform to varying degrees. Since I’ve been writing for TechRepublic, I get
even more exposure to collaboration platforms; now I’m wondering why so many
organizations don’t have a plan for moving to a collaboration platform.

All of this got me thinking that organizations should document a plan to
help their teams move from email inboxes and shared drives to a
collaboration platform. The following is what an enterprise collaboration plan should include.

Collaboration goals

“Build it and they
will come” isn’t a foundation for a collaboration platform. An enterprise
collaboration plan should include your organization’s business goals for
collaboration, including:

  • A
    system of record for all project documents;
  • A
    central communications hub for project teams and departments; and
  • Centralized
    events scheduling for the team and the project.

Project management touch points

The SaaS market is at an
interesting period of project management, collaboration, and enterprise social
convergence; I think this helps and hinders organizations during the
collaboration platform selection process. An enterprise collaboration plan
should define the project management touch points with the collaboration platform.
These touch points include:

  • Maintaining
    project schedules;
  • Sending
    task assignments to team members;
  • Updating
    the status on team members’ project tasks; and
  • Reviewing
    and approving documents online via the collaboration platform rather than

Workspace/document library priorities

Collaboration platforms
revolve around workspace and/or document libraries. An enterprise collaboration
plan should set workspace and document library priorities whether they are set
up for each project, each project team, or a hybrid approach depending on what
your platform can support.

Roles, responsibilities, and governance

Roles, responsibilities,
and governance can be overly complex and can contribute to the failure of
SharePoint implementations. However, even platforms such as HuddleTeambox,
and Wrike still need roles, responsibilities and governance.

Your enterprise
collaboration plan should include:

  • Platform
    role assignments (Administrator, editor, viewer);
  • Project
    manager, team lead, and team member responsibilities; and
  • Platform
    governance, including security and administration.

Documentation audit

A documentation audit
should be part of any enterprise collaboration plan. This means cleaning out
email inboxes and doing away with the “secret stashes” team members
have on their local hard drives; those project documents need to migrate to
your collaboration platform in a methodical manner.

The enterprise
collaboration plan should include:

  • A
    process behind the documentation audit; 
  • A
    list of documents deemed to be the working and final versions; and
  • A
    disposition of final documents from their previous location to a document
    library or workspace.

Apply platform features to current business problems

Whether you’re implementing Microsoft Office 365Confluence, or Huddle, you need to apply the platform’s features to your current business problems.

Document process changes

The move to a collaboration
platform might require changes to certain business processes, especially
email-driven processes. Let’s say your team has a process for emailing
documents to one another to review for content and technical accuracy. The
enterprise collaboration plan should include a revised process that accounts
for moving the process to the collaboration platform.

Mobile/remote access planning

If mobile and remote access
is a collaboration requirement in your organization, it should factor into your
enterprise collaboration plan. While mobile access to SaaS collaboration
platforms is just getting the user an account, on-premise collaboration
platforms will require more access planning. Your plan should document the
process for an end user to obtain remote access to the on-premise collaboration

The plan should also
document which standard mobile client apps end users should use to access your
collaboration platform.

Account for BYOD

If your organization has a
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, you need to account for that in your
enterprise collaboration plan; this includes any access and policy changes
limiting or restricting BYOD access to workspaces and document libraries. The
policy and restriction changes need to be communicated to BYOD users,
especially those who may lose access to the platform or a particular workspace
due to BYOD policies.

While this is a definite
crossover into a BYOD policy, the platform administrator(s) needs to have clear
guidance on how to manage access for users with BYOD devices. This takes on
added importance if your organization must be in compliance with regulations
such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act (HIPAA).


An enterprise collaboration
plan can help your organization migrate to a collaboration platform in a
methodical manner and get up to speed with very few problems.