Innovation

Mapping the journey to a successful UC strategy

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Unified Communications

Employees are increasingly looking for new and innovative ways to communicate with their colleagues and work more effectively and efficiently. At the heart of enabling this is having a solid Unified Communications strategy, which allows the IT department and HR teams to work together to successfully roll out the right technology to suit the right people.

The IT department has a bad rep with employees, who all too often see it as blocking them from using the services or technology they want to use. Anyone not using systems or services how IT wants them to will be hunted down and their individual technological needs are often disregarded. It is repeatedly seen as the bearer of bad news and is far too frequently guilty of putting up the walls and saying ‘no,’ which is not an option for the increasingly tech-savvy employee.

As a result, they increasingly go behind IT’s back to get the tools they want. A recent NTT Communications survey found that four in five workers across Europe (81%) consume services that aren’t approved by the IT department without their knowledge – a process more commonly known as ‘shadow IT’.

This staggering fact is compounded by the vast majority of users freely admitting that they are aware these actions put the company at risk. Nearly three quarters of respondents to the survey (72%) stated that they know they are breaking security policies and 84% recognise shadow IT as a security risk.

It’s therefore clear that shadow IT is here to stay, so rather than turning a blind eye to it or viewing it as a threat, businesses need to see it as an opportunity for IT and departments across the business to work together.

With that in mind, here is our guide to the nine key milestones and points for consideration on the journey to an impactful UC deployment:

  • Vision: Where the people driving the business strategy of the business want to end up
  • Compelling reason: Why do it? Without this it’s a dream and something has to drive it. This is typically an office move or consolidation
  • Assessment: The vision is where you want to be, but how do you get there from where you are? Look at your systems and how people are using technology, and analyse the gaps
  • Allies: People across the business representing various departments need to be on-board with the business vision
  • Guides: External organisations, system integrators and providers won’t tell you what to do but will advise you of the things you need to be focused on
  • Launch: Pressing the go button and spending the money is where the pitfalls and challenges tend to come in, such as cultural change and affecting the line of business
  • Integration: Getting businesses to adopt your service
  • Transformation: The end point should be aligned with your initial vision and also look very different to what you had to begin with
  • Adoption, adoption, adoption: If users or customers don’t see this as the mantra, then you won’t succeed in getting value from your implementation

These key steps will help you map out your journey to implementing a successful Unified Communications strategy.

By Andy Pearce, VP Northern Europe, Arkadin