6 Steps to Take Now for a Future Unified Communications Program

Maybe you’ve only started thinking aboutthe value unified communications can add to your organisation. Even if the actual implementation is months or perhaps years aways, you can never plan enough. Like any venture that touches so many aspects of back-end and employee-facing technology, starting a unified communications (UC) programme will demand extensive evaluation and planning.

From the beginning phases of envisaging your solution to specifying the down-and-dirty requirements for individual pieces of technology, UC is a large investment of your organisation’s time and money. Following a logical and adaptable plan will help ensure your UC programme is designed to improve end-users’ productivity and achieve ROI for your organisation.

While each organisation will have its own variations, partnering with a UC solution provider willing to address and provide insight into the various stages of UC planning is your best bet for a successful implementation.

1.  Determine which UC solutions complement your strategic initiatives. Make sure the providers you’re considering can not only offer the technical services but also build the organisation case to ensure success. See what upfront insights the UC provider can provide on your IT strategy for this project and the entire department.

Ideally, your provider will take the time to supply costs and risks as well as identify key metrics and demonstrate the time required to achieve ROI. When you can quantify productivity and measure customer service improvements, you’ll have a much easier time gaining approval for your UC project.

2.  Evaluate current processes and technology. Of course you’ll want assistance with the strategy, planning and organisation case. But like any IT leader, you’ll need a provider that’s willing to help with the inventory and assessment. Your provider should be ready and willing to help evaluate the communications processes and technology currently in use throughout your organisation.

3.  Conduct architecture validation. How will your design hold up to real-world implementation? Can it scale to the growing needs of your organisation? An IT outsourcing provider like Datacom will validate your design against the solution requirements and design objectives before diving too far into the implementation process. This step will prove invaluable if your organisation includes a particularly complex communications environment such as a call centre.

4.  Discover ways to optimise your UC solution. At this juncture, the amount of time dedicated to strategy and documentation as well as validation should reveal problems never forecasted and opportunities never considered. And your provider should present you with a plan to optimise your UC programme that doesn’t break the bank.

5.  Test network readiness. Eventually, the rubber has to hit the network road. Can your network — especially networks for satellite offices—handle your UC programme? Your vendor should test your network readiness to determine if the current infrastructure is up to the task. From hardware to capacity through quality of service and security, the vendor should notify you of any network gaps that must be filled.

6.  Devise and implement your tactics and calendar. Your UC provider should be as eager as you are to launch this initiative. But make sure they’re projecting realistic deadlines and a laundry list of tactics needed before your UC programme goes live.

What steps are you taking to plan a unified communications programme at your organisation?

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