Selecting a Unified Communications solution can be tough. Once you’ve cracked which type of solution you require, the next step is how to implement it. Potentially more important than the technology you have purchased, the implementation can be the make or break point for an organisation.
Recognising this, we have put together some key tips for implementing Unified Communications. Why listen to us? We do this every day. We’ve witnessed organisations experience major success and spectacular failures. To coin the old phrase, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Typically, Unified Communications is deployed in the cloud or on-premises. The cloud variety is usually referred to as Unified Communications as-a-Service. With the popularity and cost advantages of Unified Comms as-a-Service, this model is proving the go-to option for most small and medium-sized businesses. The ability to consume and pay for as many users as you need, rather than buying in bulk and paying for unused phones and licences, is favourable for all businesses.
The main reason we see enterprises opting for on-premises deployments is due to their existing infrastructure. Sometimes, leveraging your existing investment is a key requirement when implementing Unified Comms. If you have already purchased expensive on-premises network equipment or are running a high number of devices that can be reused, it’s a no-brainer. You don’t need to replace everything every time.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been making its case in businesses for years. The benefit of a user’s personal device has been drummed into IT strategies for some time now. For millennials, it is a completely alien concept to be offered a secondary device when you have a perfectly good one in your back pocket. For other generations of users,the comfort of a desk phone or headset will be preferred.
User experience is crucial for adoption of Unified Communications. If a user doesn’t like the look and feel of their device, they are going to resist using it. When this happens, we see shadow IT in the workplace. This means unregulated, unsecure devices sharing confidential company information. Treat your users as you would a customer. Ask them what they want.
Once a decision is made on the devices everybody is using – mobiles, desk phones, soft phones on laptops etc – you must reach a consensus on what apps are going to be used. If your users are using a desk phone, what do they do when they are on the road or working from home? Does messaging and collaboration need to fit into your Unified Comms strategy or is it covered elsewhere? Apps like Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are great for internal comms but may need administration from IT. It’s no good a user working from home but not being able to install their app to reach everyone in the office.
You may want to select a unified messaging app like Microsoft Teams to sit on top of your Unified Comms solution. You could also opt for the native solution that links into your telephony platform like UC-One for Broadsoft deployments.
A great exercise to conduct is to audit all software and hardware your users use on a day-to-day basis. Once complete, identify the key systems that the Unified Communications solution needs to integrate with. Often, the best experience is the “single pane of glass” approach. This is embedding your comms tool into the most used application for each user. A good example of this is your CRM, like Salesforce. Sales teams live and breathe Salesforce. The idea of having to click out of the application to make a call or send a message is long gone. Think of the time and effort you could save if you never had to leave the page.
These are the core principles for consideration before you even think about rolling out your new Unified Comms solution. Sometimes the unknown can throw up surprises and users will change their minds. The key to reaching the end goal is the glue. In any Unified Comms implementation, people will always be the glue. If you’re ready to start talking about your Unified Comms implementation, get in touch with our great people here.