Unified Communications systems integrate modern communication tools and resources in a single, user-friendly interface, enabling employees to communicate effectively and effortlessly. With Call, Unified Messaging, Desktop Sharing, Video Conferencing and many other functions always a couple of clicks away, UC solutions are fast becoming an obvious choice for companies looking to better workforce collaboration and improve productivity. But, as tempting as it may be to begin as soon as possible, it’s best to take your time and accurately identify your company’s priorities when it comes to communication and the resources needed to reach this particular set of goals.
Thorough preparation is the key to a frictionless transition to Unified Communications. That’s why, in this article, we will focus on the five steps you, as a change-maker, need to follow in order to navigate this process successfully.
1. Start with IT
Improved communication and productivity are great arguments in favour of switching to a United Communications system, but there are also technical aspects and costs to be considered before beginning this journey. In other words, if you are to build a solid strategy for UC implementation, you need to have a firm grasp of all the resources available. When evaluating your current IT resources, start by taking a good look at your current configuration and the baseline costs.
- What is the current configuration and what processes does it facilitate?
- How much does your monthly phone system cost?
- Do you have extra costs for service and maintenance?
- How much time does your IT department spend administrating the current system?
- What are your security needs?
- Are you satisfied with the state of your current IT components?
After answering these questions, you will be better equipped to define appropriate goals for your Unified Communications system. So, make sure you grant them your undivided attention before moving on to the next step.
2. Choose the right objectives
With a technology that promises to deliver spectacular results, it’s easy to shoot for the moon. But the moon might just be out of your company’s budget, so it’s probably best to choose more realistic objectives. Goals need to help you build excitement within the team, but they should also help you manage expectations. That’s why when building a UC implementation strategy, you should always aim for measurable improvements.
- Will a new UC solution help the company cut costs on its monthly phone bill? By how much?
- Are your customer service agents going to be more productive? By how much?
- Is process automation going to improve overall employee performance? By how much?
Is repeating by how much becoming increasingly annoying? By how much? Hopefully, these questions help drive home our initial point. In order for objectives to be relevant and achievable, they need to be measurable. Take your time when considering the multiple advantages Unified Communications systems bring to the table and translate them into numbers and percentages that make them meaningful for your company.
3. Create a clear migration plan
A company does not simply switch to using a UC system. The transition happens gradually, and companies need to be prepared to support employees throughout the process.
Make sure you allocate resources for training employees, because, without knowledgeable employees, even the best Unified Communications solution will fail to meet expectations.
A solid migration plan takes into account the needs of employees in every department, while also considering the future development of the company. Starting small with a 3-6 test that only involves a small number of teams can make a huge difference when it comes to optimization, but it’s equally important to create a migration plan that maps out all the steps necessary for long-term deployment and success.
4. Find the right UC services provider
At this stage of your research, you probably know what the company’s current capabilities are, what goals you need to reach, and how much time the transition to a new UC system should take. With all this information in mind, it’s probably time to find a vendor. However, there are some additional topics you should consider if you want to make sure your company signs up for the right package of technology and services.
- Does your company require full implementation and support for the system, or do you have some network basics already?
- Do you need extensive training for your employees and what budget can you set aside for it?
- Will your company require constant support after implementation? Does your vendor offer support? What type of support: telephone, chat, email, and when will it be available: 24/7, during office hours?
- Does the UC provider offer constant upgrades in order to keep up with the evolution of the market?
5. Long-term sustainability
Once your company decides on a solution and a vendor, the company can finally begin implementation. However, implementation is just a stepping-stone towards a truly successful UC system. In order to reap the benefits of Unified Communications, such as increased productivity, better collaboration and enhanced mobility, companies need to prepare for long-term usage and factor in all the resources required for maintaining the system, from hardware to personnel.
Of course, one cannot anticipate all future challenges, but the good news is that UC systems provide great flexibility and can be easily scaled up or down as needed. These systems are built to adapt to the evolving needs of companies and employees. So, with a minimal amount of planning, any company can successfully navigate the transition process and implement a Unified Communications system that supports future growth.