When it comes to unified communications (UC), the best way to save your team from a mountainous backlog of glitches to troubleshoot is making sure your system is deployed right. That sounds simple enough. But if it were really that easy, business leaders wouldn’t be facing so many problems getting new digital initiatives off the ground.
UC and UCaaS Deployments are Increasing
But alas, they are — and yet adoption of UC and unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) technologies continues to skyrocket. Companies of all sizes are consolidating their communication solutions in order to reduce costs, simplify budgets and increase flexibility and scale to keep pace with workforce trends like telecommuting and bring your own device (BYOD).
No matter what’s driving your UC or UCaaS investments, achieving your goals hinges on a smart, holistic implementation strategy that addresses all possible points of failure. Terry Slattery, Principal Architect at NetCraftsmen, boiled the UC implementation process down to six tips published on TechTarget. Keep these tips in mind when deploying UC technology at your business.
1. Align Your UC System with Your Operations
If your unified communications technology isn’t enabling your people to work faster, smarter and at less overhead cost, then something’s off. Oftentimes misalignments between UC and business operations can be attributed to poor implementation. One idea to always fall back on about new UC deployments: Your frequently used tools (video, chat, web conferencing, etc.) should be the easiest for your people to use.
2. Create a Unified Dial Plan
A key enabler of business operations can be a unified dial plan. This facilitates smooth transitions whenever you need to add, remove or change users of your UC suite. Turnover happens, roles change and organizations grow, so you’ll want your UC technology to be as flexible as your business is.
3. 9-1-1 Tracking
Emergencies happen. It would be a nightmare scenario to know that the only thing preventing a sick or hurt employee from getting the help they needed was a limited communication infrastructure. In today’s age of remote workforces and mobile employees, this is a valid concern.
When deploying UC, make sure you have tools in place to track and route 9-1-1 calls so if one of your people does have an emergency, their call goes through to the nearest first-responder — not one thousands of miles away where your corporate headquarters is located.
4. Understand Your UC System
Large organizations likely have teams dedicated to UC implementation processes like testing, QA and troubleshooting. If you’re a smaller company, this may not be the case. In these instances, it’s up to whoever is overseeing implementation to simply understand the technology and how it’s supposed to function. To augment UC implementation with expert resources, many small- and mid-sized companies work with third parties that can guide the deployment, advise on testing and QA and even work with manufacturers.
5. Keep a Tight Grip on User Licensing
License sprawl can bloat UC costs and weigh down your overall investment. For this reason, it’s important to keep a close eye on who’s using and not using your technology. Perform regular check-ins to gauge which licenses are getting used and reallocate licenses with no usage over a period of time. Many businesses also integrate their licensing into their employee onboarding and offboarding processes. This way they have one gate where licenses can be assigned and reallocated.
6. Make Sure Your Network Can Handle UC
A UC system is only going to perform as well as its underlying network infrastructure. Your platform might be the perfect fit for your organization and every component of implementation may have been performed correctly, but if, at the end of the day, you have a sub-par network architecture, you risk your system going down. Here are some good questions to ask about your network before deploying UC:
- Do we have enough bandwidth?
- Does my mobile workforce have the ability to access the systems they need?
- Do we have redundancies and failover processes in place in the event of an outage?
- What happens in the event of a natural disaster?
Still Considering Unified Communications as a Solution?
There are a variety of pitfalls that can plague any UC deployment, but if you do the right planning (and partner with the right experts) early in the process, there’s no reason why your implementation can’t be a success. However, there is the possibility that a UC or UCaaS solution simply isn’t the right fit for your organization. In that case, a successful deployment will do little to help you achieve your collaboration and efficiency goals.
If unified communications is on your radar but you’re still not ready to pull the trigger on an investment, these articles may help you gauge whether a UC investment is right for your business: