The appeal of unified communications (UC) in the workplace is undeniable, and its benefits are widely acknowledged: greater mobility for employees, higher productivity rates, increased collaboration among groups, and a simplicity and reliability unrivaled by traditional communication tools. However, these perks are not automatic: businesses that reap the greatest rewards from their UC investment support implementation of the new system every step of the way.
Much of that support is needed after deployment. Case in point, an often-cited reason for the perceived failure of UC is that not enough employees use the tools. Yet, employee reluctance to embrace them is usually through no fault of the tools themselves; rather, adoption of the tools is stymied by gaps in enterprise deployment.
According to Dimension Data’s 2016 Connected Enterprise Report, one out of every four IT departments measures the success of its UC solutions by how well they’ve implemented the technology, with no mention of what comes after. That is, not enough businesses focus on how the technology is used and adopted by employees. In addition, 17 percent of organizations haven’t implemented training programs for their UC technology, and 16 percent haven’t altered their travel policies to encourage the use of new collaboration tools, such as video conferencing.
To gain the maximum benefit from UC tools, business leaders need to place equal emphasis on implementation and adoption.
Following are three strategies that, used together, will ensure that the reality of your UC solution lives up to the dream:
- Communicate with various user groups before designing and deploying UC. Keep in mind that the end goal is to make your employees more productive, so involve them in the purchase process. Solicit opinions on their needs and wants, and take time to understand their pain points. What is their daily workflow like? What tools do they currently use the most? What tools do they have but don’t use? Why? Insights gained from analyzing the answers to these questions will help you design an attractive UC solution that people will want to use. Star2Star’s local resellers work closely with our customers to design a solution that is right for all employees.
- Provide end-user training programs. Some UC features may be very intuitive, but be wary of assuming that all tools are easy to use for all people. Rather than providing training on the entire system at once, start with the basics, and then add new features in additional sessions. Webinars, brown-bag lunches, video tutorials or formal training sessions are all good options for reviewing past training and learning something new. Since not every group uses the same features, identify the top two or three for each department and tailor the training to their needs. Star2Star’s extensive network of partners routinely conducts training sessions. Let us know when you’re ready.
- Promote the solution from within. Just as an organization markets its products to outside customers, leaders within the business should make it a priority to market the UC solution to employees for maximum interest and engagement. Get the word out with newsletters, digital billboards, intranet postings and emails. Highlight company use cases, pointing out employees who used it to their advantage and in what instances. Encourage employees to spread the word of their successes. Anything leaders can do to show support and enthusiasm for the newly adopted system will go a long way toward fostering an interest among the rest of the company.
At Star2Star we pride ourselves on our 99.85 percent customer retention rate. Our customers are happy with their decision, and would make it again. To find out more about our solutions and our commitment to our customers’ success: