When your company finally decides it’s time to take unified communications (UC) under its belt to improve business processes, it may find itself facing an uphill battle when it comes to seamless implementation. In fact, integration has to be top of mind to ensure a smooth transition and optimal effectiveness of the new system.
Pay attention to the following three challenges:
- The specific needs of diverse business groups within your organization must be addressed. If you have many offices or branches spread across multiple regions, both local and central management is a must.
- Deployed platforms must have the ability to scale, integrating new acquisitions and delivering new services when needed.
- Any solution worth its salt must be cost-effective, i.e., able to consolidate multi-generational platforms into a common environment sharing a centralized infrastructure (yet still providing autonomy for individual department administration).
The gains companies realize from addressing these challenges will be significant. After all, UC will improve employee interactions and help you optimize operational efficiency. So, how do you begin to deliver company-wide collaboration benefits across disparate voice and data networks?
A best-in-class phone system from a reliable provider will deliver an all-encompassing solution to these common problems using either an on-premises or hosted system. From there, the most important factor in the overall success of the new system will be employee buy-in, which requires setting reasonable expectations from the beginning for what the solution can provide combined with time to adjust and learn the ropes.
There are two proven methods for implementing UC and both have pros and cons for encouraging employee adoption. Either way, you cannot label your deployment successful until your workers are actively using the new technologies to enhance business processes with improved communications and collaboration.
In the worldwide rush to implement UC—to enjoy such benefits as improved productivity and innovation—these are the most common deployment methodologies:
Method 1: Rip and Replace—Familiar communication tools (such as desktop phones and accessories) disappear over the weekend, replaced by a new UC system. It’s sink or swim time for employees.
Method 2: Slow transition—UC technologies can be deployed over a long time frame, typically months or years. For example, a company may choose to ramp up instant messaging and presence functionality but hold off on conferencing for awhile.
Whereas a rip and replace approach may garner a faster return on UC investment, reduce maintenance costs and allow IT to move on to other tasks more quickly, a softer transition may ensure a more controlled rollout, giving IT more time to test and troubleshoot features.
More importantly, a methodical approach gives end users a chance to accustom themselves to the new tools and ensure they’re properly trained to use features to their maximum potential.
UC, no longer in its hype stage, is quickly becoming the way of the business world. That is, adoption is “going mainstream,” as reported in a Unified Communications Strategies article, making the technology a true business differentiator for the next year or two.
As employee adoption is either a difficult or major obstacle for 33 percent of companies, according to an infographic from Evolve IP, slowly introducing new features to your workers may be your best option.
Once you’ve addressed the three major challenges of UC implementation and given your employees the time to adjust to their new UC options, you should be well on your way to improved business outcomes.