Unified Communication as a System (UCaaS) enables a more collaborative and interconnected organization, both internally between organization members and externally to clients, partners and remote agents. Many companies are already working hard to adapt or convert their existing communication systems to a unified platform. If you are looking to transition to a UCaaS system, you're going to want to effectively navigate the twists and turns on the road ahead.
We've compiled a list of common pitfalls to avoid for organizations looking to make the switch:1. Accepting Underdeveloped and Ungoverned SLAs
UCaaS is a complex beast. Its scope will span across all operating functions of an organization and can involve multiple service provider affiliations. For these reasons, it's difficult to develop a comprehensive service-level agreement (SLA) for UC solutions. SLAs can also lack the governance to encourage adherence to agreed service levels and performance objectives. In order to actually receive the services agreed upon, you will need to guarantee your SLA covers all UCaaS functionality and services and ensure you have the power to enforce the SLA properly.
2. Overestimating Existing Platforms and Support Systems
UC delivers a cohesive service of voice, video and data but without significant network improvements, UC can lead to poor voice quality and network performance. Some organizations' infrastructures, especially those with legacy or non IP-PBX platforms are not equipped to effectively deal with these voice and video applications. Additionally, adjusting these existing infrastructures to support UC may also impact data traffic, which may impede mission critical applications with longer downloads and slower response times. You will need to ensure that your infrastructure is capable and ready to handle the new stresses of a UC system.
Your existing support teams are likely unprepared for managing, troubleshooting and diagnosing varied issues with regards to emerging UC services. Troubleshooting alone involves a complex merger of vendor-derived, end-user, protocol- and packet-based data sources for real-time understanding and diagnosis of issues. Make sure your teams are comprehensively prepared for far-reaching and complex systems and technical issues before they are expected to provide support.
3. Choosing the Wrong UC Provider for your Organization
Another challenge many organizations face while transitioning to UCaaS is selecting the right UC provider. Most providers (especially the larger multi-regional or global providers) tend to focus only on one or two categories of UC standards and do not consider all managed service options. UC providers struggle to serve all aspects of UCaaS equally and will focus on categories that have proved effective in their space. This lack of comprehensive focus is attributed to the fact that UCaaS' definition is often ambiguous and poorly represented in UC markets. There are no industry-wide standardized measurements for evaluating a UC offering's delivery and performance capabilities. As a consumer, you will need to identify which needs are most critical to your organization and find a UC provider that directly address all of your needs.
4. Ineffective Training and Practice
Unified Communications consist of several major parts, and each of these parts require training and practice in your organization's environment. This starts with members of the IT department and Internal UC Administrators, who will start training on the overall solution, expectations of the solution and then the intricacies to manage the UC solution. End users may have different levels of training needs. If a UC solution includes integrations, like CRM, Contact Center or UC Recording, then each user will need to be trained on the UC solution as well as any other tools from the solution that they will utilize. Unfortunately, training for all these elements is usually conducted in one day (without workshops or follow-up); this approach notably ineffective.
Effective training should separate the various elements so that users first understand the solution in its entirety and how it will improve communications and collaboration. Each user should be hands on, learning the ins and outs of their UC solution. It is also important to make information about the solution easily accessible. Access to quick start guides are essential. It is also important to provide follow-up training. Proper teaching leverages oral instruction, question and answer, practice and reinforcement. This is a critical component of a UC transition; if the initial user expectations are not met, the organization will not enjoy the expected ROI. When discussing your new system internally and during training, focus on those features that are most desired or needed by users, will generate the fastest adoption rate, and will deliver the greatest productivity improvements.
5. Failing to Assign UC Evangelists for your Organization
During and after UCaaS implementation, a number of evangelists should be selected and assigned within the organization. The evangelists should promote the new tools delivered by your new UCaaS solution. They would manage ongoing training as required by the various departments and embody your organization's UC vision with their promotion and use of the UC features and functions. The position is best served by a mid-level manager with the support of their entire team rather than a CEO or other executive.
Avoiding these pitfalls and following the recommended steps will help you get the most out of your new UC system. You'll be maximizing your ROI and increasing collaboration and effectiveness across your entire organization. UCaaS, properly utilized, is the future of communication technology and you need to utilize it to stay ahead of the curve.
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