Unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) tools have the potential to help companies dramatically rethink and improve their business processes, but they cannot drive much innovation or positive change unless employees make full use of them. The range of communication options UC&C tools offer can sometimes intimidate workers, who prefer to stick to familiar channels rather than move to technology that has not been explained to them or that they don’t see as an improvement.
Working with a managed IT services provider, organizations can strengthen the role of UC&C solutions in business processes and take full advantage of the technology. While certain business IT purchases, such as an ERP system or analytics platform, have clearly defined purposes and appeal to specific segments of the organization, a UC&C solution permeates a wide range of processes but is not the central element of most employees’ tool sets. A recent Internet Evolution column by cloud executive Mark Slaga noted that UC&C tools add onto existing solutions rather than replacing them. As a result, employees may simply stick to the same core functions they were already using, and the technology will fail to deliver on its promise.
While having a broad feature set is generally seen as a strength of UC&C applications, this can discourage adoption, particularly with mobile UC&C tools, UCStrategies contributor Michael F. Finneran wrote. He noted that adoption rates for these tools have been held back by the fact that they generally function as multiple apps that address specific features. Rather than bothering with switching to more innovative tools, users prefer to use core features.
“Users prefer their business communications to be as simple and unencumbered as the personal communications capabilities of their smartphones, and use those native capabilities for both business and personal communications,” Finneran wrote.
Improving employee buy-in
Organizations can increase adoption of these various features by taking the time to educate their employees on their use. The more confident workers are in their ability to use advanced collaboration functions, the more likely they will be to incorporate them into business processes. As the complexity of tools rises, the risk that employees will be scared off by them does as well, Slaga noted.
By enlisting IT consulting services, businesses can determine how to best fit UC&C functions into their operations and implement the appropriate supporting infrastructure. With a carefully planned approach that considers not only which tools should be deployed but also ways to implement them across the business, companies can ensure employee adoption occurs and take advantage of the full range of UC&C benefits.