How To Succeed With Unified Communications

    Possessing powerful technology is not as important as knowing how to use it. Some people believe the first and last step of a new IT initiative is flipping the "on" switch. This could not be further from the truth. While deployment itself is a crucial part of the process, enterprise decision-makers must make some serious long-term transitions very early on in the procurement process.

    Successful IP communications technology deployments typically involve some major changes around the office, and the changes won't all be directly related to the change in the delivery of telecom assets. While a great deal of companies have found success using solutions like voice over IP (VoIP) and unified communications (UC), there are still many that are not aware of what it means to get the most out of these tools. Treating these platforms the same way as one would handle landline phone service and siloed email clients is missing the point of what it means to have UC in place.

    Incredible advantages await those companies that choose to invest in UC -- but only if they are able to realize what has to change in the organization itself. There will have to be a shift in an enterprise's culture and attitudes if it wishes to take advantage of all that UC has to offer.

    Relevance Is Essential

    Keeping up on trends may sound like what a teenager does with his or her spare time on the Internet, but this action has a special importance in the business world -- namely when it comes to telecommunications. The consumerization of IT has shown a new level of possibility to professionals all over the world, and they expect the companies that they work for to be similarly relevant. According to No Jitter contributor Andrew Prokop, "staying relevant" should be a key concern for any organization pursuing a UC deployment. This may seem stressful to some decision-makers, so maintaining a comfortable pace is essential.


    "Every single day brings a new set of opportunities," Prokop wrote. "You don't have to know it all. Let's be real. You can't know it all. I do all of the above and there is much I still don't know. Thankfully, this isn't a game of winner take all. Your goal should be to become the best that you can be given the amount of time you can devote to staying relevant. Trust me. It will be good for you, your company, the industry and your career."

    It will be critical to understand not only that a business needs UC, but also why it is important for its operations. Much of this can be accomplished by bringing in the opinions of the people who will actually be using the new network. Employees from all over the organization have to be considered when rolling out telecom systems, and ensuring that their voices are heard will be the difference between success and failure.



    Needs Of Employees Will Inform UC Decisions

    Modern technology provides an incredible number of options -- some of which can be valuable productivity tools. It takes many different types of people to keep a business moving, and chances are that very few of them have the same working style. Some people prefer to be social and engage with their co-workers while others need silence or their favorite music to concentrate. According to No Jitter contributor Eric Krapf, this can be a problem and inhibit everyone from being as efficient as possible, especially when it comes to open-office floor plans.



    In an environment where everyone works in one communal area, disconnects can emerge between certain kinds of employees. Krapf pointed out that it is common for some professionals to IM someone that is sitting at the adjacent desk because headphones are required to drown out the distractions going on in within direct earshot. The open-office floor plan has been touted by many managers as a modern solution to a disconnected staff, but it can end up alienating some workers even more than a cubicle would.

    "Throw [employees] in a big room together if that's what real estate costs demand, then recognize that for every great spontaneous discussion you prompt with this arrangement, you'll have several instances of people needing to shut themselves out of the group long enough to actually get something accomplished," Krapf wrote. "And then make it possible for them to get the privacy they need, whether virtually, or by stepping into a side room for a few minutes -- or by heading home and telecommuting for awhile."

    UC helps those that do not always work well in an open floor office. Even if there is no official "work from home" program, people can still roam the building freely in order to find spaces that suit them best. So long as they have their laptops and smartphones on them while they seek a corner of the office that feels productive, they will remain connected to their peers via cloud UC solutions. This is just one of the many ways that companies can achieve a serious return on investment in their telecom initiatives.


    Understanding How UC Changes Business

    It can be easy to get swept up in the hype of new technologies. Even when modern tools are important for an enterprise to obtain, overeagerness can put a brick wall right in the pathway of progress. Companies simply have to understand what they are investing in and why. This is especially true for UC.



    There is a change in culture that comes with UC planning. According to Business 2 Community contributor Cem Ahmet, the key is to put employees at the center of the equation. Enterprises are investing in these systems without understanding their significance and relevance, which is the biggest obstacle of all to overcome if it is not considered ahead of time. As a greater number of companies recognize the true potential of UC systems and the exact reasons why they must be implemented, competing organizations must take a look at what is working and apply it within their own offices.

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