Six Considerations for Enterprises Adopting a UC&C Strategy
The role of enterprise IT teams has evolved dramatically in recent years, and now includes workforce effectiveness, security, compliance and productivity. As a result, enterprises have new challenges in addressing Unified Communication & Collaboration (UC&C) strategies.
Uptake of collaboration tools continues to grow as companies using this technology report higher productivity. Those with effective internal communications achieve 47% higher returns for shareholders, which makes effective communication and collaboration technology highly prized, while failure to promote effective communication and collaboration can be expensive - $37 billion is lost annually due to employee misunderstandings and poor communication. According to IDG Enterprise, enterprises on average are investing approximately $8.1 million in these services and technologies.
Others highlight that such technology creates greater complexity for the IT department, ensuring that users have the optimal experience. Business collaboration combines traditional PSTN calling and e-mail to cloud telephony, web and IM/presence. Enterprise CIOs, now faced with an overwhelming choice of technology options, often have a mixed understanding of the best collaboration technology fit for their organizations.
The pressure to provide more than basic collaboration services, such as conference calling, comes from senior management as well as tech-savvy employees demanding voice, video, chat or audio. To provide the best UC&C experience, enterprises must find the right communications platform that can easily sync with the existing technology infrastructure. Ultimately, the strategic IT choices need to improve ROI, while accounting for the diversified nature of the more sophisticated workforce of the future.
Below are the top six considerations for enterprises in adopting a UC&C strategy.
Goal Setting and Strategy:
Planning, including clear objectives and success measurements are essential. The first step is to look at what the organization requires. IT leaders need to consider what critical business technology is lacking, and then assess the organization’s unique collaboration mix and how that will impact your choices. Consider the right measurement system to put in place. Metrics need to be bespoke, and should cover issues relating to network downtime or reliability.
Ensure that selected strategic technology can seamlessly integrate into existing infrastructure, tools and workflows and doesn’t overcomplicate the lives of IT teams and employees. It is vital to plan the deployment and implementation of the IT roll-out, to save money, time and pain later. Prioritising quality audio is a necessity as poor audio quality can make or break a meeting, so the right integration and technology choice is important. It’s also crucial that a company can scale, so consider technology that is able to support business growth, and not compromise on quality.
Your UC&C tools must be secure and resilient. A study conducted by Frost & Sullivan division Stratecast, found that more than 80 percent of respondents confessed to using non-approved SaaS based applications in the workplace. This means a growing number of employees are communicating and collaborating across multiple, non-secure devices and applications, in addition to company-provided software. Employees disclose confidential company information on their conference calls daily, making these channels targets for cyber theft. Consider which tools can provide enterprise-grade security and encryption, ensuring valuable company data is protected. Company policies should also be reevaluated and re-communicated to ensure optimal security.
Training and Adoption:
Training programs are paramount to driving usage and adoption. Enterprises should ask employees to provide feedback on the new technology. Having an early adopter or pilot group can help discover any problems upfront and offer support before the system is rolled out company-wide. Ensure employees are informed about why you are choosing the technology. Failure to communicate the benefits, as well as the features of a UC system, and how it fits into the overall company vision can hinder uptake. Failure to provide training for employees can often be a barrier to successful adoption.
It’s important to have access to multiple support channels, including in-meeting support, live chat, phone support and customer communities globally. Is there an in-house IT team equipped with the resources to support and train users? Or do you need a UC partner or third party to do this? Do you need 24/7 support? Have you considered all elements including ensuring your network is analysed before deployment, and optimised?
It’s important to remain educated and up to date, so that you can ask the right questions. Implementing a stable and high-quality technology strategy that fits all the minimum standards of employees today and anticipates needs in the future is paramount to success. Having an informed market understanding and a best practice toolkit will help your decision-making.
To empower modern business collaboration, enterprises must consider how their technology works within the context of their own business strategy, people, processes and culture. Businesses need a flexible approach that solves a multitude of unique communication needs to maximise their IT investment, motivate employees and drive business productivity.
Edited by Maurice Nagle