It’s easy to take collaboration tools for granted. They’ve evolved gradually over time, adding a feature here and upgrading a user experience there. Now, platforms such as Cisco Webex allow users from around the world to collaborate via HD video, screen sharing, voice and chat. They really are incredible tools that allow for a level of collaboration and communication (and, ultimately, productivity) that simply wasn’t possible even a few years ago.

But far too often, organizations still don’t get the most out of their collaboration tools. Think back to your last few videoconferences: How often did people join as audio-only participants, missing out on the nonverbal cues that come through via video? How often did you find yourself talking to people who seemed to be multitasking on the other end of the call? How often did participants have trouble joining a collaboration session or experience issues with audio or video quality?

These problems erode the value of collaboration systems and can make employees reluctant to use the tools. And when that happens, organizations are in danger of seeing their collaboration initiatives fail.

One of the most important things an organization can do to drive adoption of collaboration systems is to set goals around adoption and then measure progress toward those goals. In a recent survey by Vyopta, 66 percent of respondents said that goal-setting is critical for adoption.

To boost adoption of collaboration systems, organizations should be tracking these three types of metrics:

1. Overall Adoption Statistics

This category is meant simply to tell organizations whether — and how much — employees are using a new collaboration platform. That includes stats on factors such as how many meetings are taking place, how many minutes those meetings last, how many hosts are active and using the tool on a regular basis, and the overall number of participants over a given time period. With the right tools, organizations can get even more granular, sorting adoption statistics by geography, business department or user role. Then, adoption teams can communicate with individuals and units that are struggling and provide help early on.

2. Qualitative Usage Information

This information provides insight into how employees and executives are using a collaboration system, helping to uncover clues about how to improve training, reduce inefficiencies and control costs. For example, an organization might learn that employees are using video capabilities but not using whiteboard features. Or users might be joining collaboration sessions from their phones and laptops but not via the higher-quality endpoints in dedicated conference rooms. An organization might even find that employees are racking up unnecessary costs by using a system’s toll-free number (which typically gets billed back to the company). Once again, these insights can lead to quick action and improved training, helping organizations to solve problems before they get out of hand.

3. Quality and Performance Data

Finally, organizations need to understand how their collaboration solutions are performing. According to the Vyopta survey, 68 percent of respondents rank user experience problems as the top inhibitor of employee adoption, and companies with a high level of quality and performance see more than triple the adoption of comparable organizations. What’s more, end users report less than 10 percent of quality and performance issues. So it’s critical for organizations to be able to identify and track problems such as jitter and packet loss, then fix those issues before they cause users to abandon collaboration tools entirely.

With teams increasingly spread out around the globe — and with users increasingly mobile — companies simply can’t afford for their collaboration initiatives to fail. And that means they can’t afford to merely roll out new technology and hope for the best. Instead, they must aggressively promote adoption of new tools and track progress toward their goals — and then make adjustments as needed.

Want to learn more about best practices for optimizing your Webex deployment? Check out the CDW webinar “Getting The Most Out of Your Webex Investment.”

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