Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 9.52.41 AM.pngAt our last TX User Group Meeting - Thursday, June 6th, 2013 @ 3:00 - 5:00PM CST, as part of the "Help a Member Out" section, we addressed life before and after Jive. For many of us, Jive wasn't our first enterprise collaboration platform. Here's the smattering of platforms we all recalled having in place, before launching instances of Jive:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Sharepoint
  • Confluence/wiki
  • Lithium
  • Chatter


As a group, we discussed which of these systems are still in place today. Things like phone and email aren't going away anytime soon. But for other platforms, we realize there can be significant overlap. While there may not be an exact apples-to-apples compare, in some cases there's up to 80% duplication in feature sets and functionalities.


So we asked ourselves: "Then what?"


Even just the idea of communicating the termination of a legacy enterprise collaboration platform made our stomachs turn. Our users are entrenched and averse to change. It was one thing to provide them with "a better option" with Jive. It's another thing to completely eliminate the former option altogether.


Yet any business supporting multiple tools that do very similar things will begin to question its strategy. In addition, the user experience is degraded when one has to log into multiple platforms to perform the same kinds of tasks, just for different work flows.


Camps are forming and preferences are hardening. What can we do in order to build one cohesive experience, and utilize the one-stop-shop that Jive can be?


Here are some ideas and best-practices we shared as a group:


Define Use Cases

Clearly define the use cases of each collaboration platform. It's fine to manage and maintain multiple collaboration platforms when there is clear and unique value in each of them. Make sure that your users understand when they should be using Jive, versus when they are encouraged to utilize another platform. There will always be some things that Jive doesn't do very well; other systems can help complete the experience. Just make sure they understand when to use what to avoid confusion.


Show Off the Bells and Whistles

For many of us, Jive offers the "new hotness" that legacy systems lack. Show off the features that puts Jive eons ahead of older platforms. Feature sets like mobile and gamificiation can get users rev'd up about using Jive, winning over early adopters and influencers that can help champion the platform to the critical mass.


Lower the Bridge to Change

Many users maintain their activity and workflows in legacy systems because they are simply too overwhelmed at the idea of migrating to a new system. Think of ways to make this move less daunting for your end user. Provide tools/macros/automation to make migration plans easier. Even if the only solution is old fashioned, manual labor, consider using Jive partners and/or services to do some of the heavy lifting.


The Methadone Approach: Exposing the Legacy Platform within the Jive Experience

This metaphor is actually something Ryan Rutan coined during our user group conversation, but I think it applies well. Think of this approach as weaning your users off of their legacy system. They are free to continue maintaining their legacy content/profile/activity, but find ways for them to seamlessly access it through Jive. Use Jive features such as Jive Anywhere, Bang Apps, Cartridges and Tiles to blur the lines. Over time, they'll eventually realize they can accomplish most of what they were doing before in their legacy systems in a much better way exclusively in Jive.


Rip the Band Aid: Mandate the Change

This is probably the approach that makes us cringe most, yet can be the most effective. If you've got an executive that can send a mandate down through the ranks, this can save a lot of your sanity. Proceed with caution, however, as you may not be dealing with the most satisfied and happy users once the rug has been pulled out from under them. You'll have an uphill battle winning over your detractors and fans of "the way things were."


(Updated: 6/25/13)

The Trojan Horse Method: Focus on New Hires

I'll give john ridings credit for this approach. He suggests partnering with HR to use Jive as an on-boarding tool:

"If you can get HR to expose "new hires" to Jive early, this can build into momentum to use newer technologies sooner. As with everything, there is the regeneration cycle as "new" replace "old". If the "new" is exposed to Jive before seeing any other legacy system, they may question their new boss and peers, "What's this old crap? I like working in Jive!" Well, maybe not those exact words, but they likely will question the older, less capable technologies and become change agents."

See more details in his comments below.


One thing we all agreed is that no one approach will work for everyone. Depending what you're up against, it will most likely involve a combination of approaches to help ween your end users off of legacy systems. Thanks to Mike Mercado, john ridings, Steve Golab, Tannia Dobbins, Max Malloy and the rest of the Texas User Group for contributing to this great discussion.


So, Jive Community, which of these approaches have worked or haven't worked for you? Which legacy systems are you're users having the most trouble breaking the habit from?