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Is WeChat Work Right for You? A 6-step Guide to Making a Decision

Posted in WeChat on April 19th 2019
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Consulting and Strategy Manager

Introduction

You have probably heard about WeChat Work, the app created by Tencent for work purposes. This app can bring multiple benefits to brands, including better control over internal and external communication, integrating external software and apps, and consolidating multiple business operations within one single touchpoint. While WeChat work can be beneficial, each company is different, and WeChat Work cannot be deployed the same way. How can you know what is the right approach for your company? Should you run all your business operations within WeChat Work or only part of it? Should it be implemented at the feature level or department level? If this is something you have mulled over, you are in luck. To answer these questions, we have created a 6-step guide for your decision-making process and to understand how WeChat work can bring value to your business.

 

1. Identify Your Internal Business Needs and Processes

The first step consists of precisely mapping your current situation understanding the strengths and needs of all your units. Although this operation can be a timely process, especially for larger companies, the benefits of a thorough self-evaluation can go further beyond just WeChat Work matter, and constitute a basis for your further improvements. How can you run this self-evaluation? There are different methods that you may undertake:

  • Conduct brainstorming sessions in order to gather ideas and possible solutions.
  • Involve working with the head of every department to have an in-depth view of their day-to-day operations.
  • Run a survey form for your employees to fill out to gain their feedback on the current state of affairs and what they believe can be improved.

In any case, the main mission (and first step) should be to map all your processes and internal procedures. The outcome of this phase should be a well-documented deliverable which outlines the needs of the company, the processes & operations to meet those needs, and the entities in charge.

 

2. Current Assessment of Tools (Who Is Using the Tools and How They Are Used)

The second step to take is to do an assessment of the tools your company is currently using for conducting the internal procedures outlined in step 1. What are the names of the tools and what purposes do they provide in each process? Are they being leveraged to their full potential? Do people using these tools understand them in full? Do your internal tools align with the goals you have set in step one? You may find that tools which were suitable for you in the past might not be so anymore. Moreover, these tools should be convenient and enable efficiency for the people using them. During this phase, you can assess if the tools you have chosen are suitable and whether or not you should look for alternatives.

It is extremely important for this phase to come after a deep evaluation of your processes, as the risk is to mistake an internal issue for a software-related problem which could continue despite having adopted a different tool. Once you have mapped your operations, ensured alignment with your goals, and assessed your processes, you can compare your current situation with the desired situation. In other words, you can perform a Gap analysis, which is step 3 in this process.

 

3. Gap Analysis

A Gap analysis relies on three main questions:

1. Where are we

2. Where we wish we were

3. How to fill the gap

At this step of the process, you should be all clear about the current situation - where we are - and the goals your business needs to pursue - where we wish we were. What remains is setting a comprehensive plan to bridge the gap. During this phase, it is essential to be very specific, in order to avoid misunderstandings. Step 3 is also when you figure out where WeChat Work can fit and how it would help you to fill the gap. Here is a simple Gap Analysis Matrix you can leverage as a starting point:

 

4. Run a Pilot (By Tool or By Department)

Before diving into a full implementation plan, it makes sense to test the water, and one way to do this is to run a pilot to figure out if WeChat Work actually is the right tool for your company. Additionally, pilot duration and timeline depend a lot on the scale of your implementation and on the internal structure of your company. We estimate that the optimal duration that would allow you to collect reliable data varies between 1 month and 3+ months. As you have set precise and measurable goals, you will be able to assess your results clearly. Although several approaches can be used to conduct a pilot, we have highlighted two you can begin to consider: by tool and by the department. One of the AI applications that will have a huge impact on the Chinese marketing world is the AI-powered chatbots and the improvement of various marketing automation tools.

  • By Tool Approach

WeChat Work can be a one-stop-shop tool for companies, as it has features which can cover a vast number of needs in the management of a company. Potentially, it could replace more than one of the tools integrated into your company’s operations. By conducting the above assessment, you can start to identify which tools are least effective and whether WeChat Work can come into the picture.

  • By Department Approach

This approach focuses on single business units which you determine would benefit the most from adopting WeChat Work. For example, the ability to send direct reimbursements through WeChat Pay would ease many operations of your Finance and HR department. Another example could be a scenario where you have a sales team spending a lot of time outside the working space, making it hard for them to fill all their reimbursement requests, and subsequently, difficult for you to keep track of all their movements. With WeChat Work, you can display all the essential files and paperwork needed by your sales team in the File Disk section.

     

    5. Gather Feedback and Begin Evaluation

    After completing the pilot, it is time to collect the results, consolidate, and start the evaluation. This is usually when you can start detecting new gaps and possibilities. For example, you might have found out that your pilot did not meet your expectations and could not replace a specific tool. In the meantime, you have had the chance to explore some new features which you feel would be perfect for some other scopes. Or you might be interested in exploring the dedicated WeChat Work app-store and look to integrate new tools, like a Social CRM to your working space tab. In fact, brands can apply to become a Service Providers and build apps to enrich the integrated app store. Otherwise, from the backend admins can shape simple apps which serve as a placeholder for links redirecting to webpages and tools in use in the company. Moreover, the capabilities of WeChat Work can be enhanced through many different types of APIs, such as user management, Javascript SDK, menu and app management, login, oauthen2 authentication, etc. Documentation on these APIs, with detailed instructions, tools, and resources, is provided by WeChat Work on its official website.

    New gaps may require a dedicated gap analysis, which brings us back to step 3. Another good measure is to conduct during this step a cost/benefit analysis to help determine whether WeChat Work will be the best path forward in terms of budget/timeline/workload.

     

    6. Decide, Communicate and Execute!

    Once you have explored and assessed all the possible functions, and conducted the necessary steps outlined above, it is time to make a decision and plan the official execution. You can present your findings and highlight the process and steps taken in order to reach this decision, as well as confirm alignment with key team members. You can also create documentation and training materials to educate and provide the proper direction to use the tool and its features. It is extremely important that your internal communication reaches every single employee involved in the change so they can all use WeChat Work to streamline operations.

     

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