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Making it Stick: Building UC Adoption Programs That Work

March 24, 2017 by Michael Affronti

UC adoption is a common challenge facing the industry today. Without adoption, companies hold back the chance for UC to bring about real innovation for their work environments simply because they can’t give it the opportunity to take root. CIOs can buy the snazziest new technology on the market and advocate for digital transformation all they want. If the people for whom the technology is designed to serve fail to use it, the benefit of the investment is lost entirely.

Adoption can be tricky for UC, in particular, because existing communications platforms are deeply entrenched in “business as usual.” Unlike adopting other line-of-business technology, such as Salesforce, where the new platform is a welcomed upgrade from archaic systems – or completely new – people may be more reluctant to try what they don’t know for the first time when they view their existing communications as “fine the way it is.” Considering the likelihood of them already using consumer-grade applications and their own personal devices to fill gaps between legacy systems and current needs, what incentive do they have to try it out? The challenge is real, and it’s up to IT leaders to show users the potential of what’s on the other side.

People are creatures of habit. It’s only natural to resort to processes and behaviors that we deem comfortable, familiar and predictable. Breaking old habits in favor of better collaboration and workflows for the modern, mobile age requires IT leaders to break out of their comfort zones and raise awareness about new tools in ways that engage users and nurture widespread adoption.

How can IT leaders share the message of UC innovation so that everyone can experience its benefits firsthand? Let’s start here:

  • Identify internal champions. IT leaders must be their own best marketers. Wearing a CMO cap, remember that word-of-mouth matters and that people make decisions based on the influence of others they trust. Find unit heads and well-respected middle managers who can help communicate why the platform supports them in their role: their firsthand testimonies will get you closer to widespread adoption sooner than any other strategy.
  • Get real input from real people. At Fuze, we call this our “Day in the Life” analysis, bringing in representatives from across the organization – marketing, sales, finance, HR – to walk through their typical experiences with communications tools. As immersive as possible, we observe their activity and try to understand moments where they “go rogue” on personal devices and over-the-top applications. This process has a twofold benefit: it helps personalize the deployment toward real-life user experiences and inform product development. This feedback is essential to building workflows that are rooted in reality, so that IT teams can address barriers to adoption head-on.
  • Make it “a thing.” It’s time to start thinking about deployment like a company’s own product launch. Make it a fun activation to celebrate the Future of Work more broadly. Invite those internal champions to connect with teams at a panel or roundtable. Share resources so that HR can celebrate the new technology as part of a milestone toward more flexible work policies, employee engagement, and greater connectivity between teams regardless of where they’re based. From billboard and big screen demos to onsite invitations that encourage the app download, think of a rollout as an opportunity to rally the troops. Whatever you do, work with your provider to have a comprehensive communications strategy in place, from emails and explainer videos to starter guides, pamphlets, and hands-on training. IT leaders have the power to make sure all avenues have been explored to share the news in a way that makes adoption – and the reasons driving the transition – crystal clear from the bottom up.

Being a cloud champion is more important than ever for IT leaders. Adopting unified communications provides tremendous value by showing your organization how the priorities of IT can impact the entire enterprise. Make sure to clearly communicate value and actively support the rise of IT as strategic agenda-setters in the future.


Attending Enterprise Connect next week? I’ve got a lot more to say on this topic. Join me and other industry experts to discuss UC adoption on Monday, March 27 at 9 a.m., ET. Get the panel details here.

Michael Affronti
Michael Affronti
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