Unified Communications Featured Article

Survey: Staff Communication, Training are Bottlenecks in UC Adoption

October 15, 2014

A recent survey by Softchoice Corp., a Toronto-based reseller and IT consulting firm, suggests managers are not talking enough to staff before deploying solutions made up of a variety of communication tools.

According to Howard Solomon, editor of ITWorldCanada.com – a site that covers Canadian IT News – a survey of 250 IT managers and 750 line-of-business employees in the U.S. showed “there are a large number of organizations that talk about listening to employees but don’t always carry through.” In fact, the findings reveal that:

• 77 percent of employees surveyed say their organization does not consult with them before selecting a new office communications tool and when applying cutting-edge technologies like integrated voice, video and data to real-world business situations;

• Employees who are not consulted – i.e., have no clear understanding of the path forward in the implementation and management of the Unified Communication (UC) systems in the organization – are three times as likely to not see themselves staying with their current employer long-term;

• 72 percent of employees who are consulted feel their communications tools make them more productive (by enhancing collaboration between employees, partners and suppliers -- regardless of location); this is compared to 54 percent of those who are not consulted. These employees believe these tools are essential and are needed to support immediate and long-term business goals.

The survey was commissioned in part due to Softchoice’s belief that one of the reasons why IT managers are hesitant to invest in new collaboration technology is that what is already implemented is not being used, noted a “Failure to Communicate” post on the ITWorldCanada website.

Apparently, some are still reluctant to utilize new communication tools — i.e., to examine whether or not the current structure can support them, despite unified communications being considered the answer to a number of business communication issues to run all their communications through one platform. It is important for managers to understand the reasons for the lack of use of these important business tools.

Of course, some employees take longer to grow accustomed to technology over time and are reluctant in adoption of tools like video conferencing, Web conferencing and IM. The survey, in fact, shows that 70 percent of those surveyed have access to video conferencing, but only five per cent use it; similarly, 69 percent have access to teleconferencing, but only 12 percent use it; 40 percent have access to social collaboration tools (aside from email), but only 10 percent use them.

Despite the many telepresence options available to mobile and desktop clients, 74 percent of employees surveyed still prefer face-to-face communications at work; 30 percent say they spend five hours a day or more meeting with others in person.

The respondents’ lack of training was also identified as an issue. One third of those surveyed said they do not get training to use the UC system that will function as the hub for all their interactions. Of those that did receive training, half said the training was minimal.

With over 70 percent of employees affirming they use only half of the communication tools at their disposal to collaborate during the working day, managers should try to understand if lack of training is at fault, or if the systems offer too many unnecessary features, Solomon points out in the post.

Overcoming many of the challenges of UC can be accomplished if workers receive adequate and complete training. Then, “implementing and using the technology is the easy part,” says Softchoice, which sells a wide range of software and consulting services to enterprises.

Involving employees when deploying new communication tools as well as investing on training are important strategies for today’s businesses. Many organizations — and their employees – need unified communications (UC) to step up; digital workplace solutions that integrate real-time and non-real-time communications with business processes and requirements across multiple devices and media types are essential to remain competitive.

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