Several years ago our organization adopted improved collaboration as a corporate strategy. As the FM group supporting academic research we thought of our job as providing quality conference rooms and maintaining them in a way that assured staff acceptance and use. We made sure the rooms were functional and clean, and that technology was reliable, working with what we were given to maximize their appeal and functionality. We didn’t necessarily ask if it was still the right technology or if our room mix still met the needs of the research community.
With the adoption of the collaboration strategy, however, we began to ask ourselves how we could contribute to its success more directly. We questioned things like the number and size of conference rooms, how efficiently they were utilized, what kinds of technology would best help and how we could minimize cost to speed implementation and adoption. That led us on a journey of discovery. We benchmarked with peer organizations, queried the market about emerging technology and took other actions to inform ourselves about products, resources and trends.
At the same time we looked inward. Undertaking a serious study of conference room utilization by size, time of day, location and technology configuration gave us insight into our customers’ use patterns and preferences. We identified key stakeholders in that community and brought them into our process, pulling important information from them and gaining advocates in the process.
Next we developed a set of initiative options and scored each against several criteria including risk, life cycle position, cost, how effectively they furthered the collaboration strategy and how adaptive and easy to use the technology was. We then ranked them and developed project outlines and budgets in partnership with other team members.
At the end of this process we knew which technologies were right for us, why they were the right ones, how they would be implemented, how much they would cost and how we would pay for them. We demonstrated direct linkages between increased collaboration capabilities and specific corporate strategies such as revenue growth and development of new offices. The result was an easy ‘go’ decision that led to mid-year funding for previously unanticipated projects because the wisdom of doing so was obvious.
Next week: Improving the FM Value Quotient