Over the past three years, our client, an IT organization supporting one of the largest freight rail transportation networks in North America, acquired and implemented a number of individual technology solutions designed to support workforce collaboration. The implementation of these collaboration tools was somewhat siloed, and not every internal organization had access to or was using the tools consistently. In addition, broader implementation and adoption of the existing collaboration toolset was limited by constrained IT support resources. In early 2012, our client realized they needed to develop and implement a strategy to better leverage collaboration tools across the enterprise and maximize their technology investment. Lewis Fowler was engaged to assess our client’s current collaboration capabilities, then develop a strategy and a set of solution and process recommendations in support of their strategic objectives.
The client lacked clarity regarding how collaboration tools might be used to support existing business processes and /or replace outdated technology. They also realized that the term “collaboration” meant different things to different stakeholders throughout the enterprise, making it a challenge to clearly define scope or prioritize which elements of collaboration were most critical to them. Further, the organization that would have ultimate responsibility for deploying and supporting the broad array of collaboration-related tools was simultaneously newly formed and under-staffed, from both a headcount and skill perspective. The operationally-focused culture of the railroad historically was slow to adopt new processes or technology not fundamentally related to keeping trains running safely and on schedule, highlighting the need for targeted training and change management to truly drive adoption.
To understand how collaboration might drive tangible business value, Lewis Fowler worked with our client to develop a clearly defined vision that was aligned to both IT and business unit strategies. We performed a detailed assessment of the existing collaboration processes, tools, and technology infrastructure and interviewed key business stakeholders to identify how collaboration tools could solve real business needs. Realizing that a successful implementation would require user-level commitment and buy-in, our team developed a top-down marketing and communications strategy along with cultural change management recommendations. We armed our client with a phased 18-month implementation roadmap that included both quick hits and longer-term initiatives, along with a collaboration support organizational model depicting the roles and responsibilities to necessary to sustain success.
By clearly defining what collaboration meant to our client, and validating how increased collaboration capabilities could support a broad set of stakeholders across the enterprise, we delivered a set of actionable solutions which maximized their existing technology investments to drive real business value.
By then targeting specific people, process and technology recommendations that aligned with their vision, Lewis Fowler was able to help our client understand how to use collaboration around the company to improve communication and productivity while maximizing their existing human resources and IT investments.
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