Focus on power users for UC quick wins

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Organisations that embark on unified communications (UC) implementations can score faster returns on their investments by focusing first on their power users and knowledge workers, before broadening roll-out to the rest of their end-user populations.

That's according to Mitel South Africa CEO Andy Bull, who says a focus on the high-end IT users in an enterprise can simplify deployment as well as reduce training costs. One of the big questions companies need to be asking themselves before they embark on an organisation-wide UC project is whether their lower-end IT users are ready for the technology, he adds.

"It really comes down to training," says Bull. End-users who only use their phones for dial-tone and who are not particularly IT-literate might be intimidated if they're suddenly asked to use advanced applications such as video, telepresence or collaboration applications without extensive change management and training.

"It makes more sense to start off with managers, executive secretaries and other employees who already use relatively sophisticated tools to manage other people and stay on top of their work," Bull suggests. "This is where the quick wins are. As this gets bedded down, you can proliferate the technology through the wider organisation."

Quickest wins

This approach can break the complex tasks for deploying UC for hundreds or thousands of users into more manageable chunks. In addition, organisations can also ease UC roll-outs by focusing first on those applications that offer the quickest possible wins, rather than trying to deploy an entire solution at once.

For distributed organisations, for example, presence awareness and management might boost customer service and responsiveness dramatically, making it a good place to start, says Bull. Organisations with large mobile workforces, meanwhile, might benefit from rolling out applications that make it easy for workers to collaborate and communicate with consumer mobile devices.

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