Want UC Adoption? Deliver the Applications!
UC should be integrated with workflows in ways that will optimize the specific business process.
Last week Fred Knight wrote a great article on the "Fate and State of UC" which clearly showed that UC functionality is now "baked in" and, "will, by default, be included in whatever they [enterprises] buy."
But Fred also says that "in terms of actual deployments, UC appears only in pockets" and that there are many "desktops that are license-ready, but...haven't been turned on." Yes, that's right.
We at UniComm Consulting, along with our associates at UC Strategies, have been predicting since 2007 that UC would be deployed in 'pockets,' as shown by the article, "UC Applications Are Now Apparent."
Also, we have emphasized that UC should be deployed based on use cases. Enterprise communication occurs for specific reasons, most of which are tied to a transaction or to a specific collaborative goal. Use cases will identify where the legacy elements of those communications can be improved or optimized by new technologies, i.e. one or more of the dozen new technologies included in Unified Communications. The communication patterns are different between the various use cases (usually between 5 and 7 major use cases in an enterprise), which is why UC deployment based on optimized use case communications will occur in pockets within the enterprise.
Of course, it is possible to roll UC out to every employee desktop and then let the employees figure out how UC might improve their communications. We call this UC-U or UC-User Productivity. But there is much more to be gained through specifically changing the communications steps within business processes, since the results will be repeatable and measurable. This approach has worked in call centers and contact centers for two decades, so we can build on that success.
Here's a short list of both UC-U and UC-B applications which drive UC adoption:
* UC integrated to knowledge worker applications (e.g. email, document tools, workspaces)
* UC integrated to or built into business applications (e.g. Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, Oracle, and many vertical industry applications, such as McKesson Health Care, Blackboard Learning Management System, and many more).
* UC packaged into mobile applications. But this needs to be more than just making a cell phone call from the corporate directory--BlackBerry has been delivering that since 2001. UC should seek to emulate consumer models where the application is a button which does what the user needs, including any required communication functions; definitely not just a mobile desk phone.
* UC as part of a bundle that transforms some business process or function; remote worker enablement is an example of this, but that is not complete without social tools including video and profiles, software workspaces including document sharing, and perhaps tools to manage the process.
Clearly, all of these examples show that UC is being integrated with the use case workflows in ways that will optimize the specific business process.
Thus, applications to optimize use cases are key to the growth of UC and Collaboration adoption. Three compelling actions for vendors and for enterprise communication managers are:
* Identify the use cases in your business. Much has already been written on this, so you're not starting from scratch. Vendors, system integrators or consultants can assist in this, via a professional service engagement to define the use cases with specificity for each enterprise.
* Focus on deploying UC&C applications to capture the potential use case improvements. Often, this will produce business unit sponsorship for the investment and the successful deployment.
* Where possible, vendors and system integrators can accelerate adoption by packaging UC & C applications so that customers do not have to define and develop the solution from scratch.
Vendors and System Integrators can also accelerate adoption by documenting the successes with case studies, since most customers want to know which applications are producing the best results.
New UC technologies are transforming enterprise (and personal and consumer) communication. Applications are a key to success for enterprises, for vendors, and for system integrators. What do you think of this? Let us know via a Comment below. The conversation will continue at Enterprise Connect 2013.