How to Untangle: Fear of Technology Change for End-Users

    This is another entry in our ‘How to Untangle’ series that highlights how eliminating complexity from unified communications solutions can help your business.

    Unified communications, mobile communications, Web meetings, video conferencing … all great productivity tools created for today’s busy professionals.

    There's just one problem. Some manufacturers of these tools are so focused on the wow-factor of the new features and so immersed in the technology underpinnings of their solutions, that they ignore the needs of the end user.

    They’ve completely forgotten (or maybe they never knew!) what it’s like to be that busy professional who just wants to finish up the latest task without puzzling over a confusing interface, navigating through a complex help screen, or calling IT for support.

    If you’re thinking about upgrading your communications system so you can help your organization boost productivity and become more efficient, or if you just need to replace aging, disparate phone systems with a single system that unifies all locations, then you must consider usability:

    • How long will it take for users to get comfortable with the system?
    • How much training will it take?
    • Will some of the best features never be used because they are too difficult to learn and too cumbersome to work with?
    • Is the system flexible enough to work with both phone-centric and computer-savvy users?
    • Can the system be easily managed without extensive training or highly specialized skills?
    • Will the features and capabilities appeal to workers of all ages?
    • How easy it is to turn an instant messaging into a phone call or video session?
    • How easy it is to turn an phone call into a desktop collaboration session?


    When evaluating a new communications system, ask the following questions:

    • Is the system designed from the ground up to be easy to use?
    • Are all features accessible from a single interface—and easy to spot within that interface?
    • Can each feature be launched with just a couple of mouse clicks?
    • Will your least technically minded team members be able to use the system?
    • What is the vendor’s stated approach to ease-of-use, is it the number one concern?
    • Is the stated approach validated by existing customer sentiment in the form of customer satisfaction awards?
    • How popular is the desktop application?
    • Will the vendor give you a demonstration system and let you do your own evaluation?
    • Is there specialized applications for attendant stations and contact center professionals?

    If It Isn’t Easy to Use, Then It Won’t Be Used


    It isn’t important that every employee use every feature of a new communications system. But it is important that every employee who wants to use a particular feature can do so without wasting time figuring out how it works or giving up in frustration. The three basic tenets are:

    • A single interface for the system
    • Easy access to features with minimal mouse clicks
    • No need to remember complex steps in order to get work done


    If you’d like to learn more about how ShoreTel can help untangle technophobia in your workplace, contact a ShoreTel reseller today.

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