Arguably, there are three certainties in life – death, taxes and unfulfilled unified communications projects.
The third doesn’t have to turn out that way, representatives of four UC vendors told conference for telecom managers Monday in Toronto. But it will take determination, planning and not making basic mistakes.
The first mistake, according to Ian Wineberg, associate director of marketing for network solutions at Bell Business Markets, is relying too much on making plans for software and hardware.
“We see too much emphasis on technology,” he told the group. Having a roadmap for the organization’s communications should come first, he said, and unfortunately few have one. There will be a roadmap for voice, for data, maybe for collaboration tools, but not one for how they all should work together.
As part of that roadmap, the organization needs to categorize staff by how they communicate into what he called the “personas” – a fancy word for groups – which will have different communications needs. They will likely have different needs, although these might be satisfied by the same software as others get but with a little customization. By and large, he said, most organizations will have no more than six groups.
You also need to factor in the needs of new young hires, who are likely more experienced with the latest technology, he added, and will leave the company abruptly if they can’t use it.
Then the organization has to measure the productivity of staff with key performance indicators so the improvements with UC can be measured.
After all that, he said, you’re ready to make technology decisions.
Making the business case for UC around information technology cost saving won’t be enough, Wineberg warned. You can build infrastructure, but you still need to build (communications) apps on top of that. “IT cost saving is only going to get you the big boxes, It’s not going to get you the rest of the work you need to do.”
Perhaps surprisingly, he urged the group to find those who are unfriendly to new technology to conduct pilot tests. “Create addicts out of luddites,” he said. Give a useful tool to an executive and you won’t be able to pry it out of his hands.