How to Improve Your UC Experience

A decade ago, unified communications wasn't a feature-rich technology field. Remember the flip phone? UC was kind of like that -- no interactive video calling, real-time chat, or even enterprise VoIP. About the only thing organizations had to manage relative to communications was dial tone, to ensure employees could make phone calls over the PSTN.

Today, of course, UC is much more advanced, and that's great. Trouble is, at many organizations complexity has tipped into chaos and UC teams find themselves constantly operating in reactive mode.

They fight fire after fire, as videoconferences freeze, audio cuts out, and the guy in conference room B calls in to complain that the woman he's talking with sounds like she's six feet underwater. Connecting to a conferencing session takes five minutes when it should take five seconds. Meanwhile, network glitches are wreaking havoc on employee productivity, not to mention the enterprise as a whole.

One result is that UC teams are working extremely long hours, including weekends, simply to restore service and keep phones ringing on time. This drags down morale as UC teams work weekends while employees all the way up to the C-suite grumble about the unwieldy UC system.

But wait, the problem gets worse. The damage done by a chaotic UC environment can extend outside the office and put a dent in the opinion of partners and customers. What if one of your salespeople is on a video call with a customer and the connection is jittery? The customer, who's looking to purchase your product, is getting frustrated and wondering if this is how you always do business -- shakily. At that point, all the money you've invested in your system is going for naught.

UC doesn't have to be this way. You can turn your UC bucket brigade into a team of invigorated, proactive leaders who are successfully driving digital transformation forward. Here are important tips for doing UC the right way -- and energizing your whole organization.

  • Get executive buy-in -- Technology enables every UC rollout, of course, but people -- specifically, the organization's leadership team -- drive success. That's why having key stakeholders, such as the CEO and CIO, onboard with the plan is essential. Leadership needs to articulate -- or at least agree on -- a vision for how the UC initiative is going to bring innovation and what the business will look like when the implementation is complete. Even more important is that these leaders understand that UC is not about cost minimization or squeezing more from less. Rather, a successful UC rollout is about helping users benefit from this transformative technology and maximizing your organization's ability to connect and collaborate effectively.

  • Gather the right resources and expertise -- The British army follows the axiom of the seven Ps: "Proper planning and preparation prevents piss-poor performance." The same goes for UC. Many UC initiatives stumble because of improper planning. You really need experts from the outset to guide you through the process and avoid critical mistakes. These experts can be in-house or third-party service providers, people who understand industry best practices and can take your organization through the complex UC ecosystem. These experts can also assist with proper user training to ensure that workers are comfortable with your new technologies, and that these technologies are delivering on their promises.
  • Be vigilant -- Finally, you need the ability to measure the impact new UC tools are having on your organization. Ongoing monitoring of technology infrastructure health is obviously important if you expect to continue delivering a positive user experience long after initial implementation. To do this, you should consider deploying experience-management solutions on top of your UC tools. With ongoing testing, comprehensive reports, and helpful analytics, your organization can gain a 24/7 holistic view of your network, with insight into what issues need to be addressed and how your team can fix them. An experience-management solution also provides an end-to-end view of your networks and systems, helping you successfully navigate those chaotic UC waters.

Follow these steps and you'll have a UC team that's no longer putting out fires but proactively advancing your business. Team members will be happier because they'll be resolving issues before users even know that something is wrong. And they can sleep soundly at night, safe in the knowledge they have alerts in place and that, usually, problems are fixing themselves -- or not happening at all.

What's more, your UC team gets to spend more time on strategic projects that are truly transforming your business and less time in the trenches dealing with the same issues over and over again. This kind of seamless UC experience is what enables organizations to be more productive and compete better in the digital era.