We have lived in the Unified Communications world for so long that we have gone from believing the UC world was anything but “unified” to being part of what makes it so. For decades technology lived in silos, and platforms didn’t play nice together. The world was largely an “either-or” proposition, i.e., Mitel OR ShoreTel OR RingCentral.
Those days are in the rearview mirror, and for good reason. The new world is about integration, having all communication points working together both internally and externally. The CRM that works best for your organization can and will work with your other platforms.
Although access to UC solutions and education has made amazing progress, preparation will save you and your entire team a lot of unnecessary perspiration later. In this article, we share five of the best practices we have gathered over the years that make implementation easier and help you know what to expect.
1) Clearly Define Your Unified Communications Needs and Goals
If you don’t fully understand what your goals are, and what you are trying to accomplish then it makes having a scorecard obsolete. At a minimum, you should define what communication channels are most important internally and externally, what features your organization needs & what goals you are looking to reach by implementing a unified communications solution.
Define Communication Channels: What does your organization need to communicate effectively internally and externally? Make a list of both, and it’s ok if some are on both lists. For starters, this should include social media, chat, email, messenger platforms, and of course phone. Keep hybrid and remote working considerations top of mind as well.
Features To Consider: What is nice to have and need to have? Having a solution that is versatile and allows for remote work and traveling is a must for most organizations. Internally do you need to have work groups and project management integrations? The features that accompany the current generation of Unified Communications solutions are robust. This may seem like there are so many options, keep your workflow and customer experience top of mind.
Goals & Desired Outcomes: Clearly you are looking for a better way to communicate internally and externally. Think about what that looks like. Is there more accountability, increased productivity, or fewer touches to get tasks completed? Remember, this is not an either/or scenario, if it is all the above and more efficiency that you are looking for, define it. The more specific your goals, the better for everyone.
2) Involve All Stakeholders
Change is easier when you people feel involved, and when choosing a Unified Communications solution this couldn’t be truer. At InflowCX, we can attest that the success rate of any change at an organization is much higher when you involve the proper stakeholders in the process. Involve all the relevant departments, IT teams, and end-users in the planning and implementation process. This ensures that everyone’s needs are considered and helps to ensure buy-in from all parties.
If you can lean on any customers for their feedback this can be very valuable so you can understand how they prefer to be communicated with as well. Unified Communications solutions are versatile and flexible, generally, there is a way to make sure all needs are met. However, if someone is left out of the conversations that lead up to implementation, then you have missed an opportunity for advocacy, and you can never have too many advocates when change is coming.
3) Understand Your Needs for Unified Communications Technology
Choosing a Unified Communications solution that meets your organization’s needs starts with…. your organization’s needs! We have never started with a solution and tried to reverse engineer that to a customer’s needs, and neither should you. Before you start looking at technology, consider these 4 areas with your existing IT infrastructure:
Reliability: How reliable do you need the solution to be, ask about uptime, downtime, scheduled maintenance, and how much support you will need from the platform’s team.
Security: This is a major concern for all, and knowing how secure your infrastructure and network are a contributing factor. Yes, all platforms should be secure, and they are, however knowing how well your infrastructure and the platforms you are considering will mesh should be thought of beforehand.
Scalability: How easy is it for your company to grow with the platform? As your company grows and evolves in our work from anywhere or in hybrid environments, think about what that means for how you communicate and use technology.
Ease Of Use: This is for our IT Directors, our heart collectively goes out to you! Consider the user-friendliness of the platform, your capacity for training, integration, migration, and more. Bring in advocates for each user group to create buy-in on the ease of use in their world.
4) Provide Exceptional Training & Support
Once you have decided on a UC solution that fits your needs, the journey has just started. Making sure everyone understands how this will help them the big picture is a great place to start. Designing training that caters to individual teams to help them understand how they can utilize this as a tool is a good second step.
People generally fear change, and this can cause anxiety which is not good for a productive workplace. That is why training and support are so critical to the successful onboarding of the platform. Having on-demand training and support is a must, and the platforms available today have great resources to guide you.
5) Monitor & Measure Success
What gets measured gets managed. This is why creating goals & objectives to measure success is a great first step. Once you have implemented your chosen Unified Communications solution, you should continuously monitor and measure against those goals.
This is certainly not a “Set it & Forget It” solution. Rarely is the first release perfect, you will identify areas for improvement. This ensures that it is meeting your organization’s communication needs and goals, which we all know can change over time. The flexibility of today’s UC solutions gives you ample options to meet the challenges of an ever-changing landscape.
Bonus Tip: Work with a Brand Agnostic Unified Communications Provider
If your team is considering the options for a more robust, streamlined, and efficient communication solution a call to our team of experts should be first on your list. We never start with a brand or platform; our process starts with a conversation about your business. With our award-winning team, decades of experience, and customer-centric process, we have guided thousands of customers through this journey. We would love the opportunity to do the same for you.