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Five Must-Haves on Your Unified Communications Checklist

ThinkGig

So you’ve moved from being “interested” in Unified Communications (UC) to actively considering UC. Here are a few UC best practices to think about before you implement. Together, they may save you hours of headaches, not to mention significant amounts of time and money.

  1. Define UC – Define terms and requirements. Vendors use “unified communications” to describe strategies that vary widely: on-premise, in the cloud or both; centered on email, telephony or a media server; single vendor or partnership. The benefit: Being clear on specific business and technology needs will save a lot of time during the proposal stage.
  2. Stay grounded – Validate key business drivers. Listen to your internal customers to make sure requirements for UC map back to business needs. Some users may not need – and will never use – all the cool functionality you want them to have. Others will envision possibilities the experts may not have thought of. The benefit: Creating a UC program that solves real problems for end users will speed adoption and create faster cost.
  3. Plan, plan, plan – Then plan some more. In our experience, implementations consist of 80 percent planning and 20 percent installation. Because UC is complex and touches so many parts of an infrastructure, it is critical to decide if you are going to deploy UC piecemeal or do a wholesale upgrade of your communication system. Once you have your vision defined, evaluate your needs and cross reference them with the roadmaps of your strategic partners and vendors to uncover synergies and roadblocks. The benefit: Care taken on the front end reaps rewards on the back end. A poorly executed deployment will disrupt your business, stall future enhancements, and result in lost confidence in the value of UC.
  4. Take stock – So often, we find that IT departments, particularly those in larger organizations, don’t have a complete view of their IT infrastructure. This includes not only documenting your equipment and contracts but also your telephone numbers and dial plans. The benefit: A snapshot of the network in all its complexity can help quantify the potential cost savings of a UC solution.
  5. Team up – Build a cross-functional team that engages end users to set expectations and gain buy-in. The benefit: With upfront buy-in and a holistic view of end user needs, you will have increased adoption of the new tools and a faster ROI.

Are you thinking about UC for your business? Have you implemented a UC solution? Any tips or pitfalls to watch out for?