Implementing Unified Communications
Most organizations approach the implementation of UC from an information technology (IT) aspect, and therefore fail to consider the human collaboration elements of unified communications. In order to successfully implement a UC solution, organizations must focus on specific components, including:
- User Environment
- User Interface
- Software Integration
- Hardware Integration
- Network, Security, and Policies
A UC implementation which is missing any of these components will not have the desired successful outcome. For example, if the infrastructure is unstable, or users experience poor call quality or video latency, the entire user experience will fail. Therefore, it is important to approach UC implementation from the human collaboration aspect in order to ensure technical consistency.
Just as with any other technology implementation project, there are many factors to consider when preparing for a UC implementation, including a clear understanding of business requirements, changes to organizational culture, and most importantly, user training.
UC provides staff with an entirely new way to connect, and it changes how people communicate and collaborate within any organization. While UC offers a wide array of integrated features, it is important to understand how these features will impact business operations and processes. Evaluating business requirements is an essential component of a successful UC implementation.
Developing Implementation Strategy
An implementation strategy should address the many implications that a UC deployment has for all aspects of an organization’s operations. Some factors that must be considered include technology adoption, training, business processes, technical requirements, financials, as well as involvement from stakeholders, and development of governance and policy frameworks.
Changes to Business Culture
Moving to UC has significant implications for an organization’s culture and its day-to-day operations. As a consequence, it is vital to understand how implementing UC can impact an organization’s culture. Understanding these impacts facilitates preparation for the transformation toward a more collaborative and communicative enterprise culture. Understanding impacts also helps identify the level of staff training and education that will be necessary for successful technology adoption by users.
Training & Employee Engagement
Significant employee engagement and training are vital factors in a successful UC implementation. By including employees in the implementation process through continuous communication, you will ensure they are on-board with the new solution. In order to have user buy-in, it is important for staff to understand how UC will improve their day-to-day workflow and enhance the way they function. In addition to employee education, there must be ample user training both before and after implementation.
Planning & Testing
Finally, a successful UC implementation depends on a smooth deployment. Therefore, it’s important to thoroughly plan the actual implementation as well as testing prior to going live. If employees come in to work on a Monday morning and their phones are not working, or they can’t join their conference call, or they are not be able to use all of the features of the new UC solution, then the solution’s reputation is thrown in doubt from the onset and it will be very difficult to convince skeptical minds to adopt the new technology.
Written by: Payam Pourkhomami, President & CEO, OSIbeyond