As the business benefits of unified communications become increasingly well-known, more companies are finally embracing the technology. UC can vastly increase employees' productivity and efficiency, improving workforce morale in the process.
However, it is critical for business leaders to recognize that not every UC deployment yields these results. Only a well-considered, strategic approach to UC can deliver positive outcomes for a company.
For any decision-maker eager to deploy UC within his or her company, several factors must be taken into consideration. Probably the single most important of these is the user experience. Failure to account for the actual ways that employees want and need to communicate will lead to a subpar UC solution, one which will lead to disappointing results.
What they need
There is a lot of diversity among UC solutions. While they all share a number of features – most notably, bringing together a variety of communication channels into a single medium – the specifics can vary quite a bit. A UC system that's a perfect fit for one company may be less than ideal for another.
To determine and deploy the right UC solution, company leaders should first engage directly with those employees who will actually use this technology. Far too often, companies look at the available tools first and employee needs second, resulting in an ineffective mismatch. UC technology will likely have a major impact on numerous employees' daily lives, and most people tend to resist change. They won't fully embrace the available UC tools unless they can clearly see why these options are beneficial.
The advantages will be obvious if the solution was specifically chosen to address users' day-to-day needs. For example, say a company's customer service department offers support via phone, email or SMS. A UC solution that unites these three channels would presumably be useful. However, it may be the case that agents are eager to take advantage of live chat. By selecting a UC deployment that fully incorporates a high-grade live chat option, decision makers can deliver a solution that actively improves performance. And that's only possible if employees are brought in to the planning stage.
Ultimately, the value of UC lies in its ability to upgrade employee performance. Those companies that make assumptions about the best way to accomplish this goal will be frustrated, while those that engage users early will be more than satisfied.