Implementing Unified Communications (UC) solution is nothing like your typical IT project or deployment. If successful, you are literally changing the way the business works and communicates. It’s hard to name another IT project requires as much strategic planning and business engagement.
Unified Communications is a journey, not a single product or project you buy and deploy. The first step is understanding the “why” behind UC for your business. If you can’t define the why, you can’t build your business case and measure success
- Can your business explain why you’re even starting the UC journey?
- What are you expecting to achieve?
- On what timelines?
- How will you measure success?
Only once you define your goals and business case, can you move into looking at solutions. The journey to UC is riddled with complex considerations and potential blind spots. You will encounter complex technical challenges such as compliance, security and integration with other applications or systems, such as existing phone systems and networks. Equally you will have to manage the business impact and changes in business process and user experience. All these challenges and complexities can be overcome with the right planning and engagement. Here are 5 tips to help ensure your success.
5 Ways to Ensure Your UC Implementation Succeeds
1. You need a strategy. The UC journey starts long before any hint of technology is implemented and is a journey which should be constantly refined. It starts with evaluating the business need and justification case, before moving into design and planning phases which should involve business leads and users to ensure that the aspects such as business processes, training, governance, policy and culture are all considered. And it doesn’t stop there. UC is about creating an agile and responsive collaborative environment which can continually evolve with the changing needs of the business. Attitudes about work and technology are constantly evolving, and the workplace remains in a state of transformation. In order tomaximize investment and adoption throughout the ongoing journey, you must continuously plan, evaluate, measure and adapt to keep up momentum and maximum business value.
2. You need to assess and measure the business value. UC offers a long list of benefits, but the business value will be specific to your organization. For example, your company may be focused on creating a shorter sales cycle or a better customer experience instead of simply driving communications costs down. Knowing what your corporate business objectives are will help you design and tailor a solution that brings real value throughout the enterprise. It is important to know what the measure of success is even if it changes over time
3. You must address the cultural impact. The ultimate goal of UC is to create a more communicative and collaborative culture. However, if you don’t assess your company’s culture beforehand, how can you effectively measure UC’s impact? How can you identify specific pain points in order to make strategic plans to resolve them with UC? Think about how you support the cultural change which is likely to be through a mix of elements from governance and policy to training and motivational initiatives. People’s propensity towards change differs, so there is unlikely to be a ‘one-size fits all’ approach, but it is a vital factor in achieving the desired business value and an engaged workforce.
4. You need business buy in. UC is not a merely a communications tool; it's a strategic solution to improve business efficiency. It touches all aspects of the business. That means to realize its true value, success depends upon the integration of your business’s key objectives. Your UC journey needs an executive sponsor to throw their weight behind it, assuring that your UC project is given the momentum and priority it needs to be successful.
5. Don’t underestimate the importance of user training and adoption. Adoption is one of the biggest threats to the success of your UC implementation. When users aren’t engaged in the UC journey early on, don’t understand the value to their specific work flow or don’t receive proper training, they are less likely to adopt your UC solution. Without high user adoption, cultural and operational transformation cannot happen, which means the business value cannot be achieved.
UC Is Not About Technology
UC is much more than just technology. In fact, if deployed right the technology should almost be invisible to users who will consume it intuitively as a regular part of their working practice. For them, UC is about enabling a more productive way of working, improving business processes, reducing costs and enabling business transformation. If your decisions only involve technical considerations, the end solution will not deliver business value or return on investment.
Without fully understanding what the business expects and needs your UC solution to accomplish, your UC deployment is unlikely to be successful. If you work closely with the business, Unified Communications is one of the rare IT projects that can have a measurable positive business impact, allowing for faster and more efficient communications and collaboration and supporting the business in its goals.
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