Unified communications is not just an IT project

Unified communications is not just an IT project

Many organisations are implementing unified communications (UC) as a replacement to aging PABXs however implementing UC is not just an IT project. To get full value from the benefits of a UC project it needs to be embraced by the whole organisation. This means support and encouragement from executive and management teams.

UC can help enable a number of workplace initiatives such as activity based working, hot-desking, collaboration, remote working and conferencing. Understanding how these initiatives provide benefits is critical to understanding how UC will deliver value to your business.

As a project, IT could go to RFP, select a product and implement it. This may for instance be adding functionality to their standard Microsoft desktop. But unless the entire business is behind the benefits of instant messaging, presence and collaboration, then these tools can remain unused by many.

The marketing by UC vendors, including impressive demonstrations, can make the benefits appear obvious. UC application vendors all tend to believe their tools are intuitive and simply putting them in front of users will result in their adoption. Some UC applications are more intuitive than others. One thing is sure though – if users have a bad experience when initially rolled out it can put them off very quickly and take some time to get them back on board.

Without widespread adoption the investment may be wasted. User adoption may not happen for a number of reasons:

  • Users continue to work the way they are used to and ignore the tools
  • The tools may be used but only to do what they did before
  • Some users may not be of a generation that is totally immersed in the digital world
  • Not being applicable or useful for users – not all users use a computer or phone to do their work
  • Technical issues made a poor first impression
  • The application is not intuitive and no training is given – too hard, so users are put off
  • The tools are used but do not provide real business benefit; i.e. presence in a relatively small open plan office has limited benefit whereas presence in an organisation across multiple locations, possibly in multiple time zones, can add considerable value

Partial adoption of UC can dramatically reduce the benefits to the business. This results in your business investing in technology that is wasted and missing an opportunity to improve the way your workforce really operates.

If your business is looking at UC make sure:

  • You look at the way your business operates and understand how UC will benefit it
  • You understand your staff and what it will take to help them adopt UC. Some may need more help than others
  • It is something the business wants to implement, not just IT replacing a PABX

Replacing a telephony platform (PABX) and phones is a project that replaces like with like. Implementing UC is a transformation. It starts with a vision, is implemented as a project and needs ongoing waves of encouragement and support.

TeleConsultants is working with a number of clients to help them recognise the value of UC. It is different for each one. We are helping businesses justify the investment and identify and then realise the benefits. If you are considering UC we are keen to be part of the conversation.

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