Two words that drive the Unified Communications (UC) market today are mobility and collaboration. However, it’s not that simple. Today’s highly mobile workforce wants to collaborate on whatever device they are using, and that’s not necessarily with or on the devices the company provides.
These business conditions have forced the enterprise to comply and be more flexible with their communications solutions to appease employees and also to drive adoption to get results in the end. Unifying communications unifies co-workers and successful collaboration supports greater productivity. Every enterprise today has to take adoption metrics into account when implementing collaboration solutions within the network.
Communication has evolved beyond voice to include video, instant message, screen sharing, and file transfer. Solutions are driven by the idea that a single unified platform will be the most advantageous approach to collaboration and in many cases this is true. The monkey wrench is mobility. Simply stated, some platforms are not as easily portable as others and some systems are not as interoperable with some devices as others. Finding the best UC solution to combine all the necessary features your employees need can be a daunting process. To make this process easier companies need to know more about their employees’ habits and workflows.
The tools a company chooses to invest in for UC should be vetted with the people that will be using them, but this is not always the case. Often vendors solicit the IT department and a decision is made based on a perceived need or theory that may or may not be practical in use. Sometimes this happens and no one uses the UC tools the company has invested so much in. To avoid falling victim to this, think of SWITCH.
S – Survey your employees to find out what they like most about the tools they have, what they wish they could have, and most importantly, get a good sense of their everyday workflows. It’s important to understand how they use what they use and why.
W – Wait for the results of your surveys before you make any decisions on what UC applications to invest in or deploy.
I – Investigate thoroughly any solutions you may be thinking of based on your now thoroughly researched employees’ needs and wants. Identify and source applications that encourage user adoption based on these results. Does the vendor have everything you require on one platform? Is the software scalable? Is it flexible enough to fulfill the varying uses by different business units within the company? Can your network support the traffic that you will experince once your new communication platform is deployed? An easy way to find out is to conduct a Voice Network Traffic Analysis to ensure that you have the appropriate bandwidth requirements. Once you make your purchase, there’s no going back without incurring lost resources in time and money.
T – Training your employees on the new platform is crucial for seeing increased adoption of the new UC features. Organizations that implement UC training tend to see better adoption.
C – Calculate technology adoption of your Cisco UC devices by validating end-user usage patterns found within a Technology Adoption Report, which shows the devices (desk phone, softphone, or mobile) your end-users choose to use in their every day communications.
H – Help Desk can be a wealth of information when it comes to understanding users' UC pain points. Address these issues with additional training in order to improve the user experience and increase the adoption rates.
Then don’t forget to high five yourselves! You devised a plan and executed with confidence.
When you want to ensure user adoption of your well-invested UC platform, measure what matters the most to the overall productivity of the enterprise. Happy employees work faster and longer when given the tools they like using the best. The benefits to the company can be measured and user-adoption is the only way to see into your purchase, its effectiveness, and to know if your workforce has become more collaborative and more productive.