More and more companies embrace the move to UC. The UCaaS industry is growing immensely quickly, forecasted to reach 16 US$ bn by 2021 (Wainhouse, F&S, MI forecast, 2017). This year alone, UC budgets are expected to grow by more than 12% as companies seek to keep up with the rapid technological advancements (Nemertes Research 2017). The reason is simple. Advantages of a successful UC cloud transformation are numerous. But so are the risks. And these are often overseen.
To help you avoid these from the start, here are a few typical headaches to be aware of when embarking on your UC cloud transformation journey:
1. Oversee the Unknowns
Many global businesses are unaware of the legacy equipment and location-specific needs of their sites around the world. Whether we’re talking about branch sites or factories, or small satellite offices, it’s typical that you’ll find unexpected equipment and user needs at individual sites. It’s essential to mitigate those in order to prevent your UC cloud transformation project from stalling. Make sure you consider these unknowns from the start so that when you do encounter something unexpected, you already know what to do about it.
2. Underestimate Change
A transformation to the digital workplace usually affects every user in your business. Let’s face it – nearly all of us need to use the phone at some stage. Most organisations find change difficult, and such a widespread change needs careful consideration. You need to consider training needs but also ensure a communication plan that mitigates the impact to end-users. Above all, you need to ensure your business keeps working as usual throughout the whole UC cloud transformation process. Our teams understand this and offer Organisational Change Management services tailored to your specific needs, to minimize impact and keep your business running.
3. Mistake Availability for Adoption
Simply making new tools available, does not guarantee that end-users will adopt your new technology. UC Cloud Transformation projects are more than just technology projects. You must put the people at the heart of your project. Only then will the new tools be adopted and your company will start to get a return on its investment. Our Quality of Experience Service provides dashboards on user adoption and customer satisfaction, and our Organisational Change Management service puts in place an adoption strategy to ensure your end-users get the best possible experience and therefore embrace the new technology.
4. Overestimate your Network
A transformation to digital telephony will put increasing reliance on your network. Poor network performance is far more noticeable for synchronous traffic than asynchronous. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you look at your company’s network before embarking on the journey to Enterprise Voice. If you rely on Office WIFI then you must ensure that you don’t have dead spots in your offices. If you’re consuming SIP services, then your WAN connection into each of your sites must be able to cope with the network traffic. Have you implemented Quality of Service on your network? Arkadin provides a suite of network assessment services that will address your network concerns, to ensure that when you do start to consume a UC service, its performance is as good as it can be.
5. Lack of Strategy
Many companies begin their UC Cloud Transformation project without a fully-formed strategy. There are many risks associated with this. A key one is that when you encounter something unexpected during your project, the whole project may have to stop while you consider what action to take. This can have significant impacts such as increased project costs and a loss of confidence from the user community that is expecting the new technology.
By taking your company through a first Envision workshop, Arkadin can help to define your company’s transformation strategy or validate an existing strategy, to ensure it will achieve its objectives. Our experience will identify the typical risks and roadblocks, and provide recommendations to ensure that the transformation is going to be a success.
6. Miscalculate Internal Resources
A UC Cloud Transformation project is a significant undertaking for both your businesses’ selected partner, but also for your business itself. While a partner like Arkadin provides a large and experienced team to lead and guide your business through a UC project, you will also need your own team. Transformation projects usually only happen every few years, so this team will mostly be made up of people who already have a day job.
It’s key that the project team is given dedicated time to devote to the transformation. It may involve having a dedicated project manager, having dedicated representatives to carry out site surveys, and key individuals who can represent the user community, carry out testing and train end-users. Arkadin provides guidance on what resources we believe your business will need to dedicate, in order to make sure your project has the people power it needs to succeed.
7. Unclear Governance
A global UC cloud transformation project will have to interact with many different business units, often in many different locations. Executives and business users in these locations may have specific needs or concerns that the project may not have taken account of during the design stage. There is a risk that the project stalls while a decision is made about how to meet the needs of those who were not involved at the start.
Make sure you develop a project governance model that makes clear what needs to be done when the project hits a bump in the road. It should clearly define who the decision makers are and how to approach unforeseen events and changes in requirements, without slowing down the project.
8. Unexpected Dependencies
As with any complex IT project, there are a number of deliverables that your business needs to provide in order for the project to make progress. This can be anything from licence procurement to providing access rights, to signing off a design document. Decision makers in your business will need sufficient advance warning of anything they will need to provide. Make sure you plan for enough time and possess all the necessary details and justification. Without this, a project is at risk of being blocked, for want of a specific dependency not being available on time. Our proven project approach includes a managed Dependency Log, that keeps you and your business informed throughout the project lifecycle, of exactly what you need to provide, and by when in order to not slow or block project progress.
So there are many pitfalls to be aware of during your UC transformation, and these are just a few. If you’d like to know more, please talk to the UC specialists in Arkadin. We’ve got the real world experience to make your UC cloud transformation a success.
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