If you’ve made the decision to move to a unified communications solution, then you’ll have a clear understanding of the wide range of benefits UC can bring your organisation…
as we outlined in our previous blog, 6 Ways Unified Communications Can Benefit Your Business.
However, making the decision is just the first step. How you deploy and roll out your UC solution is critical to its success. Follow these steps to make sure your UC implementation delivers the improved collaboration, mobility, and productivity that your organisation is looking to achieve:
First, assess your infrastructure
The performance of your UC solution will only be as good as the weakest point in your network. If, for example, your organisation will make extensive use of videoconferencing (or other high bandwidth UC applications), you’ll need to make sure your network is capable of handling the data volumes involved, without adversely affecting business-critical systems.
Traditional phone lines are costly and limiting, so consider SIP trunking to support your UC roll-out. SIP offers the scalability and interoperability to create a vastly improved experience, enabling voice, video, and other data traffic to run across your network with high levels of performance.
You’ll also need to consider you existing infrastructure and how – or if – you make appropriate reuse of legacy assets, including network equipment, handsets, etc. Examine whether any equipment will need upgrading or replacing in order to integrate with your new UC system or if you can remove your reliance entirely, for example by switching desk phones to softphones or moving servers to the cloud.
Next, plan your deployment
The first and final rule of any UC deployment should be to spend time doing up-front planning. The result will be a finely-tuned roll out that takes days rather than weeks, resulting in minimum disruption to the business and your users, with a seamless switchover to UC.
Consider, for example, how your business is structured and which departments must be treated as the priority for any rollout. Examine how the various departments are interrelated and ask yourself what order of installation will allow you to best maintain business continuity.
You’ll also need to identify the skills needed to deploy successfully. Ideally, your UC system supplier will provide all of the expertise required, so you won’t need to engage third parties to manage the roll-out and integration with your existing systems.
UC deployments won’t always go 100% according to plan. But by investing a bit of time in up-front planning, you’ll set yourself in better stead for any challenges that come along.
Finally, ‘PR’ the solution to ensure buy-in from staff and the business
The saying ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink’ rings true with any UC deployment. You can introduce any number of UC features and applications into the business, but if no one uses them, your time, budget, and effort will be wasted.
Make sure the wider business is aware of the benefits your new system will bring. At the upper level, it is sensible to ‘PR’ your implementation and the decision-to-buy to management whose departments may be affected by the installation but who may not been involved in the purchasing decision. Outline the benefits to the business in terms of profitability and productivity, and indicate how you will measure the success of both the implementation and the system.
The same applies to general users. It is important that you promote the system both as it is implemented and periodically thereafter. Illustrate the business scenarios it will improve and how the new system will make a tangible difference to their day-to-day roles in terms of saved time, improved performance, etc. And ensure staff feel well supported, with a comprehensive training and support programme and, ideally, a face-to-face support figure and champion within your business.
Of course, nothing will benefit your UC implementation as much as a carefully selected UC partner. Node4’s consultation services can help you achieve all of the above.
To understand exactly how Node4 can help you to choose and deploy the right solution to meet your UC needs, and help you through the implementation process, get in touch.