- Deployment of a UC&C solution does not automatically increase employee productivity, training is key to a successful implementation.
- Changing communications practices and processes will be more challenging for some employees than others. Enterprises and their service provider partners need to identify these groups and work together to ensure that users and the enterprise are getting the most from their UC implementation.
Two of the main value propositions driving the unified communications bandwagon are the cost savings and increased productivity promised by purveyors of these solutions. Carriers are promising enterprises cost savings through reduced communications equipment needs and reduced operational expenses through on-demand applications and features. Employee productivity is increased by enhanced collaboration tools such as document sharing, video and Web conferencing, enterprise-wide instant messaging and presence, integrated wireless and wireline voice services. Sounds simple, right? Deploy a UC solution and you’ll save money and your employees will be more effective.
Like many things, this looks good on paper, but in practice can be a different matter. As complicated as a UC migration can be from a technical perspective, the human aspect must be factored in as well. Deploying UC features will not translate into the desired productivity gains unless employees understand and embrace the technology. Carriers have developed various packages for different types of workers, which helps to manage costs and ensure that employees have the features required by their role in the enterprise. But in addition to identifying features that a particular job type will require, enterprises must ensure that employees actually use the services. While this exercise is largely the domain of the enterprise, it is in the carrier’s interest to follow up on this angle as well. If an initial rollout does not go smoothly with end-users, or if users are not using the features, carriers can expect to see future migrations stalled. Carriers have already come around to this perspective; AT&T and Verizon have both created professional services options specifically for VoIP and unified communications and collaboration implementations from strategy and readiness assessments through to operational integration. Enterprises need to press their service partners to ensure that part of these engagements roll beyond the IT staff all the way to the end user to ensure that users, and the enterprise, are getting the most out of their investment in their UC solution.
Here are just a few things enterprises should bear in mind during a UC implementation to increase employee acceptance and usage:
- Make sure the technology does what it is supposed to. If the technology fails end users, they will want to revert back to the old way of doing things.
- Don’t underestimate training – services are not useful if they aren’t being used, or are not being used to their maximum potential.
- When rolling out UC applications, consider the users that are eager to have these tools as well as those that may not be as eager or interested in communications alternatives to determine the appropriate applications and type of training required. Employees that are new to the work force will expect, and use, a wide variety of UC tools, whereas other workers may be more passive or even reluctant to adopt these new features.