Simple steps

Simple steps

Paul Clark
Paul Clark

Paul Clark, Plantronics Director for the UK and Ireland, says that Unified Communications (UC) deployments require careful consideration and planning before implementation. If not done properly businesses can suffer. He offers readers five simple steps to successful UC deployment.

All too often, companies get caught up in the excitement and expectation of what UC will deliver and can overlook crucial elements which are key to the technologies’ success.

User training is an example of this and often overlooked by some companies planning their UC deployment. Ineffective training has the potential to severely impact a company’s productivity because users lack an understanding of how the new technology works. Considering companies commit significant amounts of resource to implementing the back-end UC system, a lack of staff training can significantly undermine the initiatives as end-users struggle to incorporate it into their day-to-day activities. Below are five key steps businesses can take when implementing UC to truly capitalise on its benefits:

User buy-in is essential

Getting a team enthusiastic about the deployment is vital. Companies need to ensure employees are fully briefed throughout the implementation process and make certain they are able to use it when it is completed. Training sessions are often mistakenly undertaken after an implementation; however it is actually more effective to have them before hand. This ensures that end-users are fully prepared for the changes and already well versed in how to use the products instead of having to learn how they operate in a work environment.

 

Get the user involved

In any business, there will always be those that are more receptive to change, and it is vital that companies get these enthusiasts on board. By creating ‘UC evangelists’ businesses will be able to get their own employees to both reassure and educate their colleagues about the technology. It is worth businesses investing additional time training these product leaders and getting them up to speed with the entire feature set in advance of the deployment. The overall aim here is to ensure each team has a few well placed ‘power-users’ who colleagues will feel comfortable approaching with questions, they might not want to approach the helpdesk about.

 

Make it engaging

While a business may be able to engage with a few enthusiasts, not everyone is going to be excited about being trained to use new technology. Businesses should make a concerted effort to connect with these users by putting together shorter, snappier training sessions, which will keep them engaged. Similarly businesses should try to make them less formal and conduct bite-size training sessions, which break down the big issues into more focused topics.

 

Take it step by step

No matter how well prepared a business is, no amount of training will guarantee success as unforeseen issues will always occur. However, it is how a company deals with these issues that make the difference. During the pilot trial it is a good idea to train the helpdesk on all new products, so that they are suitably equipped to answer any user questions. This has to be done before the mass roll out to ensure that any issues which do arise during the implementation are handled quickly and professionally.
 

Make user engagement a long-term plan

While the right technology and training are crucial to a successful deployment, simply setting everything up and walking away is a good way to make certain the project fails. To guard against this, companies should make sure that there are regular user check-ins to gauge how each team is coping with the new system. Collecting ongoing feedback is an invaluable way to identify issues and make improvements on a constant basis. Today, many products come with built-in monitoring tools for call-detail records or quality issues, so companies can proactively run reports to make sure they stay on top of any issues.

Every business that deploys UC technology is going to experience challenges and successes. By following the tips above, they can ensure staff feel not only, included in the process, but also sufficiently equipped to tackle this new technology in their ever-evolving work environments.

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