How the use of unified communications will evolve in 2016
Unified communications (UC) saw widespread deployment in 2015, but will 2016 be a watershed year in achieving value and ROI through adoption?
Short of time?
A recent report by West Unified Communications showed 68% of companies already have UC tools beyond just email and voice, and ABI Research expects the UC market to increase $2.3 billion in 2016.
These findings indicate companies will step beyond their use of traditional tools this year. With UC now encompassing a broader umbrella, organisations have the opportunity to combine a variety of technologies to create a more synchronized enterprise.
As executives implement a smarter communication pipeline, UC will become the true connective tissue for organisations’ collaboration.
>See also: The future of unified communications
This will only happen, however, if organisations treat UC as an integral component of their overarching IT strategies. Here are four key themes that organisations need to tackle in 2016 to built their UC strategy’s foundation.
It’s clear that security remains at centre stage for most organisations, and safeguarding content and intellectual property will continue to be a major priority for CIOs this year.
In the search for the ideal security blanket, organisations should consider (if they haven’t already) migrating to the cloud to align connection and security of their UC tools. A solid, connected UC platform must be supported by a reliable and secure network.
Many companies have been procuring UC elements for years but haven’t extracted optimal value from it. In 2016, organisations need to focus on getting the right UC tools in the hands of the right people. To encourage full deployment, CIOs must reassess their UC investments and how their end users are benefiting from it.
3. Value and ROI
A successful UC strategy needs buy-in from top executives, so CIOs need to act as the driving force behind the technology and its capabilities. To ensure UC is worth the investment, companies should identify new ways to determine value by quantifying metrics and data for adoption measurement purposes.
4. Migrate in-house vs. outsourcing
Do you want to outsource migration or perform IT support in-house? This is another important question for organisations to address in 2016.
The UC Adoption Report from West UC found that 40% of IT executives prefer to use the same vendor compared to just 24% who do not find it important to engage consistent providers. Ultimately, productivity and timeliness are the most important factors to consider when making this decision.
New year, new strategy
Once an organisation has sorted through the four priorities outlined above, it’s time to put together a deployment plan for a fresh UC strategy capable of meeting its communication needs.
No matter an organisation’s IT requirements or the types of UC solutions it plans to implement, it’ll want to adopt a number of best practices to ensure a smooth transition.
As with any IT implementation, it’s critical to keep the end goal top of mind when preparing to launch a new or updated UC program. For example, a your company’s main objective is bridging the communication gap between remote workers, defining this before installing the software can propel the process forward and keep it on target through implementation.
Companies often inaccurately choose who gets certain tools based on their job title. They can steer away from this habit when it comes to UC by realising that there isn’t a single solution for everyone, regardless of shared role. True collaboration sparks when organisations use the right, user-friendly technology at the appropriate time. When spearheaded by a supportive and involved CIO, organisations can successfully execute their UC programs and ensure adoption.
Unified communications would stand still without proper training at each stage of deployment. Web meetings are beneficial for organisations to demonstrate how to use the technology while also explaining how it’ll positively impact company-wide communication.
Simply installing software doesn’t guarantee the user will get any value out of it. If a company doesn’t have the bandwidth or in-house talent to resolve technical issues, it should consider vendors that can take on this responsibility.
End-user adoption and satisfaction are the best sources when measuring the success of UC deployment. Once you’ve applied measurement standards, it’s important to communicate the results with employees who actively use the technology so they understand its impact.
In 2015, UC was implemented at the employee level. In 2016, organisations should use it to improve ROI.
Powered by the momentum it gained in 2015, UC is geared up to be the connecting link in today’s increasingly mobile workplace. With the right training and measurement strategies in place, organisations will unlock the value behind the investment in UC-enabled tools in 2016.
Sourced from Mike Nessler, EVP, West Unified Communications Services