New and advanced unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) technologies offer the enterprise ways to improve business processes and save money. However, many enterprises fail to experience these returns on investment (ROI) due to difficulties integrating the various technologies across multiple platforms and architectures and generating widespread user adoption. Before embarking on such a journey, there are a number of elements enterprises should carefully consider to successfully deploy a UC&C solution.
This slideshow highlights best practices identified by Dimension Data that you should apply to any UC&C implementation project.
Click through for seven best practices you should consider when embarking on a unified communication and collaboration solution deployment, as identified by Dimension Data.
Before any deployment, organizations should create a comprehensive roadmap to outline their goals and rationale. The roadmap should outline key questions, such as:
- Where do we start and how do we measure our progress?
- How will this solution align with our business strategy?
- Is the UC&C team well integrated and ready for the project?
- Will this solution deliver the expected ROI?
The network is the foundation of UC&C solutions. Organizations must make sure their network and software, can handle today’s voice, video and collaborative requirements. Additionally, the enterprise directory should be properly formatted with all names, phone numbers and other attributes that are required for these types of solutions.
Organizations deploying UC&C solutions should design the architecture with scalability and redundancy in mind. From a staffing and systems perspective, we need to make sure that the solution is equipped to support a centralized or distributed architecture. Additionally, in order to maintain a high level of success, organizations should establish a quality of service (QOS) strategy to ensure that adequate bandwidth allocation, QOS classification and policing is enforced at the ingress and egress of the network.
Security and UC&C should be planned for together. It is critical to evaluate the security capabilities that exist within network equipment or native security /encryption designed into the communications devices themselves to make new solutions more secure. Organizations must address the key issues of archiving, federation of IM, suitable use policies and overall system security. With archiving, enterprises should know if communications sessions — especially IM — will be archived and stored. If so, will it occur centrally or at distributed locations? What impact will this have on data storage systems (NAS, SANs, etc.)? Further, many organizations will wish to federate/XMPP their IM with other companies or with public IM platforms. Doing this can make the enterprise network more vulnerable. To protect against the vulnerabilities, organizations should implement corporate use policies and tighten systems security.
To expedite the successful deployment of new solutions, organizations should create a program to elicit greater employee adoption. Generate excitement around the new solution, effectively communicate pertinent information and create a sense of community around the new technologies.
When Dimension Data deployed their internal adoption management program (AMP) for new UC&C solutions, they rolled out the new solutions to everyone across the organization at the same time instead of first deploying to a test group. They found this methodology to be much more effective for generating widespread user adoption. When everyone was able to share tips and tricks for the new solutions and learn how to use it together, they were eager to keep using the tools and integrate them into their daily work.
Check back with employees one month after the initial rollout. See if they have any new questions or if they’re experiencing any difficulties with the solutions. Collect the feedback and deliver it to IT, management and others involved with IT decisions to increase the service of the solutions.