In Part I of our article, we covered the need to develop a clear UC strategy around your company’s intended usage, to map an architecture layout and to calculate your network capacity and needs. Part II provides further insight into the factors that can considerably influence success or failure of your UC deployment. From the IT department to Operations to Sales and Marketing and even Reception, implementation of a full or partial UC solution can affect the daily lives of a company’s entire workforce. This requires diligent preparation and anticipation. Before moving ahead in the purchasing process, consider the non-technical aspects of deployment. Below are three more items to add to your Deployment Readiness checklist:
1. OPTIMIZE PROJECT MANAGEMENT RESOURCES:
Although an enormous UC selling point is simplicity, large and international deployments are usually complex with various moving parts. Deployments of this kind are rarely, if ever, out-of-the-box setups. When considering Deployment Readiness, don’t minimize the magnitude of project management. Even though most medium to large companies possess the operational know-how to manage the roll-out of such an IT solution, opting for Professional Service experts can save time, money and headache in the long run. Assuming that your project management teams aren’t already UC deployment experts, outsourcing this element frees up internal resources to focus on projects more essential to your core business.
2. FORECAST END USER DEVICES:
An oft-forgotten cost of UC deployment is additional equipment. The importance of adequately assessing your company usage profile beforehand becomes clearer when ordering headsets, web cameras, mobile and desktop telephones. Knowing precisely who will require higher-end IP-enabled headsets as opposed to those who, based on their usage profile, only need basic headsets, will make a large difference in terms of cost allocation.
3. ANTICIPATE USER ADOPTION CHALLENGES:
Just because you’ve painstakingly put in place a state-of-the-art UC system doesn’t mean your employees will use it. Old habits are hard to break, and without adequate training or user assistance, it is entirely possible that they will either reject the concept of UC altogether or adopt only the portion that can be most easily mastered. The idea of replacing traditional phone number entries with contact profiles accessible from any and every interface can be unnerving for some employees. And using a headset and computer for all video conferencing, audio conferencing, instant messaging and telephone communication may seem strange. Anticipate the need for educational resources, self-training, training on demand, user assistance and written guides in order to drive adoption and familiarize your workforce with all of the new features, tools and equipment they will be asked to employ.
Unified Communications can deliver your company substantial benefit in terms of communication and business cost savings, enhanced productivity, improved efficiency and increased employee mobility. However, regardless of whether your business is large or small, keep in mind that UC is an important, long-term investment that requires thorough preparation, anticipation and foresight. The vendor you choose to work with should be flexible and able to scale your solution to your enterprise’s ever-changing needs and usage profile. Even so, appropriately assessing your needs and constraints beforehand will help in selecting the right solution for your business objectives.