Unified communications has already proven itself to be an invaluable tool for the business community at large. Company leaders widely understand that they can benefit from the technology. But "can" is not the same as "will." And as valuable as UC solutions are, firms can only see these benefits if they follow best practices when implementing these tools.
Recently Art Schoeller, principal analyst at Forrester Research, spoke to Processor Magazine and highlighted a few of the most common problems companies run into when leveraging UC solutions, and the best strategies for avoiding these issues.
As the name suggests, UC represents the melding together of several different communication channels into a single platform. Naturally, this means any UC solution will inevitably involve multiple aspects of a given IT department, as Schoeller told the news source. This also means that teamwork and collaboration within the IT department is essential for UC success.
This teamwork should begin before the UC platform is even in place. The source emphasized the importance of ensuring that a company's telecom voice group, desktop team, and networking team all agree on a particular UC suite before the company implements these solutions. If everyone isn't on-board with the UC tools from this early stage, then the rollout and use of the technology will likely be plagued by miscommunication and dissatisfaction. According to Schoeller, the lack of IT team buy-in can lead to a "UC civil war."
Business leaders can encourage agreement in this area by specifically seeking out a flexible, comprehensive UC platform. In most cases, a cloud-based UC system will be the best option. Cloud telephony offerings will typically be adaptable, scalable, and offered as-a-service, which makes them ideal for meeting diverse needs.
Another key issue is employee adoption. If workers don't actually embrace the UC solutions made available to them, then the technology can't possibly deliver a significant ROI. But as Schoeller explained, many companies' IT teams overlook or ignore this need.
"Driving adoption is sort of a sticky problem because a lot of IT organizations don't view their role as being the one that really gets out there to track utilization and train users," he said, Processor Magazine reported.
Company leaders can overcome this problem by ensuring that the UC solutions selected specifically address actual issues that employees face on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, the source recommended the designation of "collaboration champions" - employees who effectively demonstrate the hard-and-fast benefits of UC usage among personnel. Once these advantages are plainly on display, many other employees will appreciate the value of embracing UC themselves.