In regard to unified communication and collaboration, many companies think only of the technology. While the hardware and software is an important consideration, this only forms part of the total UCC equation. In a recent No Jitter article, Melanie Turek, vice president of research at Frost & Sullivan, noted that the “what” of an implementation matters far less than the “how” and “why” elements of the adoption process.
“[W]hen it comes to deploying a hosted solution, finding the best provider is only half the battle,” Turek wrote. “From an end-user and IT point of view, who ranks where in a quartered box [developed by Gartner] matters less than how to ensure a successful implementation that meets everyone’s business needs and delivers a strong return on investment.”
In order to make sure that the adoption of UCC yields tangible benefits, companies should answer the following four questions during the implementation process:
1) How will the solution help the overall business?
Writing in March for UCStrategies, unified communications consultant Marty Parker noted that defining a tangible business benefit to a solution prior to adoption is perhaps one of the most important steps an enterprise can take when looking into UCC solutions. Businesses should first look to solve a specific concern before ever considering the technological aspect of the equation. This way, the organization will be more likely to realize the transformative effects of their chosen system, whether it’s UCC, a cloud computing solution or anything else.
2) Will staff members be able to use it well?
Even if a quality UCC solution is implemented, it will not yield a quality return on investment if staff members are unsure about how to use it or refuse to turn away from legacy offerings, Turek wrote. For example, while younger workers may demand instant messaging capabilities, such features could turn off older staff members. Furthermore, businesses need to properly train their IT teams on how to maintain and oversee the new offering so that they can keep it running in top condition for many years down the road.
3) Does it mesh well with legacy applications?
While a quality UCC system can replace most of the communications technology already in place, chances are that some legacy applications will remain in use. Some companies may opt to completely revamp their IT infrastructure design before implementing UCC, but most firms will likely find it much more effective to keep some solutions in place. As such, businesses should make sure that a chosen UCC provider can integrate a new system in with existing apps, Turek wrote.
4) Is the solution futureproof?
Although no one can determine with complete certainty that a given technology will still be relevant in the future, companies should still try to think ahead as much as possible before adopting a given solution. For example, Parker noted that while an IP PBX configuration can still be useful today, this technology will likely be irrelevant five to 10 years from now.
In order to make sure a UCC solution is properly implemented, companies should turn to a managed IT services provider like FlexITy. As one of the largest IT consulting services firms in Canada, FlexITy can make sure that all of these questions are adequately answered before any technology is put into place.