Organisations have been using and adopting Unified Communications platforms for a number of years now. Over time, the range and depth of functionality available has broadened to the point where platforms like Skype for Business have become an integral part of day to day business.

When something like telephony becomes part of the overall solution, the ability for an individual to view this as a ‘nice to have’ goes out the window and user adoption becomes key.

The move to UC can either be driven by a desire or a need.

A desire may come about to improve the way an organisation communicates and collaborates within itself, but also with its relationships with partner and vendor organisations. There maybe also be a need to improve conditions for employees, their work/ life balance, reduce travel time and overall happiness at work. The desire may simply come about as a way to control and reduce travel costs and the costs of providing multiple or alternative solutions.

A need may exist, and I reference Local Government here, because buildings are being rationalised in town centres and there is a requirement to introduce mobile and flexible working. The need for Public Sector organisations to start to work closer together to share information and services is also a major driver, as is needing to replace old and expensive traditional PBX’s.

Whether the implementation is driven by a desire or a need, there is one constant here in that users need to be supported and encouraged in their adoption and use of the technology. Without this any return on investment case will fail.

At risual we look at user adoption from an organisational level, a departmental level and  an individual level.

At an organisational level, it must be made clear that this direction of travel is one that is fully supported by the top level of management. A change in the ways people work, and a change in culture, has to become ingrained in the way people are managed. Allowing people to work from home or conduct meetings online should not be frowned upon, but encouraged. As a result, the ability of managers to manage must change to match this.

At a departmental level, understanding how to measure people and what they need to achieve is key. Work becomes a thing you do and not a place you go to, so setting out clearly what an individual needs to achieve, monitoring progress and providing feedback and continuous check in points are invaluable. Regular face to face catch ups between manager and employee may be vital to continue to develop a relationship of trust.

At the individual’s level, we need to make sure that firstly there is an awareness that the technology has been deployed and create excitement around its use. We need to back this up with end user training to ensure that the everyone knows how to use the technology. Training needs will vary from person to person, so it may be useful to conduct some form of user profiling, as we would do with devices, to ensure individual needs are met.

End user training can be conducted through cheat sheets, face to face training, online training, posters etc. Backing this up further with a recognised and easy path to resolve issues, and provide guidance, allows for the differences in proficiency with technology.

Overall, the benefits of a Unified Communications solution, like Skype for Business, are well documented, but if the end users don’t know how to use the technology, or the organisation fails to adjust to a new way of working, then the benefits of the technology will not be realised no matter how well it is deployed .  That’s why organisations choose to partner with risual to ensure that the technical deployment and the change management piece both align to turn theoretical benefits into real benefits.