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More bang for your UC buck

The benefits that your organisation should expect to get out of its unified communications (UC) solution and measuring the success, must be looked at before installing any UC technology.

A recent analysis we undertook for a customer raised many questions surrounding the benefits of UC to the organisations. Our customer was confident their several thousand bright and technically savvy staff, working across highly multiple geographies would have no issue in grasping the benefit of UC.

However they soon realised they couldn't be sure that their assumption was true? Why had they invested in UC? How were they going to measure the results?

Our engagement brought some clarity to those questions and our subsequent deep dive analysis proved their original assumptions were very distant from reality.

Is it enough to believe in change because it seems that the benefits are obvious? Can you migrate the old telephone system costs in to a new UC environment? Is it possible to invest in additional capabilities such as desktop video, mobility and multi-media conferencing and hope for the best? For many, this is just the way it's been done. But the question remains about what your organisation is really getting out of a UC environment.

Engagements with our customers have told us the only point from which you can measure the benefit of a UC solution is how it changes the behaviour and work pattern of the end user. Delivering and sustaining improvement in how end users collaborate is fundamentally more important than delivering the technology in itself.

For this particular customer, their headline analytics indicated a phenomenal take up in the number of new conversations occurring over their new collaboration solution. There were lots of instant message sessions, video calls and multi-party conferences. However, the reality was that the environment was not consistently used at all.

So why look at consistency usage patterns rather than just summing up the number of communications over all? For our client, in the first three months of deployment, their staff connected over 42,000 times to multi-media conferences (a stat which looks great on paper). However only 34 per cent of staff was involved in all in those conferences, and when we looked at what percentage used the service more than twice, that dropped to below one in four people.

Diving in to understand the root causes demonstrated some common challenges. While the end users were technically savvy, if they weren't aware that new services exist; didn't know how to use them; or more often don't see why those services are relevant to them; then they were missing the opportunity for change.

Does that mean these statistics show 66 percent of people simply didn't use multi-media conferencing at all? Probably not, but they certainly aren't using them to drive benefit for the organisation. It also appears they weren't challenging the existing way that they work, in order drive a better and more collaborative outcome.

What about desktop video -particularly where you've provisioned a costly new quality of service enabled Wi-Fi network to support the experience? Again more disappointment for this customer. About 27 per cent of people used it , , and when we looked at the percentage that used it more than twice, the figure was less than ten per cent.

This customer successfully deployed a collaboration solution from a technical perspective. Unfortunately they had missed the opportunity to drive change in how they collaborate and improve their business from an end user perspective.

The good news is these early adopters of technology were also keen not to give-up. The ability to understand the potential benefits from UC and then create a sustainable program to drive and measure the change, are now being shaped with the help of these customers and their vision.

The ability to understand the potential benefits from UC comes from creating a sustainable program to drive and measure change.

Its customers and their vision that help drive a sophisticated and sustained change program and not technology.

Make sure your internal customers are being communicated to about the technology being used so your organisation doesn't miss out on the opportunity for change.

Read more on collaboration in Business without Borders. Are you ready?

Go to Telstra Exchange for more information on unified communications.