EC 2016: Focusing on User Adoption, the Cloud, and More
Join me for my conference sessions and get tips and best-practices advice on two of the hottest enterprise communications topics.
What are two of the most important topics in the area of business or enterprise communications? In my humble opinion, the answer is cloud and user adoption of UCC technologies. And it just so happens I'll be moderating two panels on those topics at the upcoming Enterprise Connect, March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla.
Clearing Up the Cloud
The cloud will be getting a great deal of attention at Enterprise Connect, with the main stage Cloud Summit plus seven sessions in the Cloud Communications track, including the cloud case study panel I'll be moderating for the third year. This session, "Cloud Case Studies: Experiences With Hybrid, Public, and Private," aims to provide insights from the mouths of users, rather than from vendors or analysts. Participating in this year's session are:
- Paul Patti, VP of IT, RPM Performance Coating Group
- Roger Bruszewski, Vice President for Finance and Administration, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
- Glen Rappaport, VP of IT for Sport & Health
- And, in a return visit from 2015, Allan Feeney, Manager, IT Communications, Fuji Film
The panelists will discuss the reasons they moved to the cloud, how they determined which cloud model worked best for them, the benefits they've attained, and, most importantly, challenges they've overcome and lessons learned. In addition, they'll discuss how they've addressed security and privacy issues. The goal is to provide insights that will help attendees move forward on their own cloud journeys.
The panelists all run geographically dispersed operations, using cloud services to help tie together multiple locations and sites. They use cloud services from 8x8, Cisco, NEC, and Vonage Business.
During a briefing call with the panelists, it became apparent that they all have different experiences and are taking different approaches to the cloud. For example, Fuji Film uses its own MPLS network and keeps everything on net, while RPM found that it was better to use the public network and its MPLS network as a backup. All of the panelists agree that scalability and the ability to be more nimble are key, and the fact that they don't have to "babysit" everything themselves is a huge benefit.
Optimizing UCC Use
As I mentioned, the other hot topic is user adoption of UCC tools. Last year I moderated a panel on day one of Enterprise Connect focusing on driving UC adoption, and thanks to the popularity of that session and the standing room-only crowd, that session will now be held at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 9 (as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished).
The main thesis of focusing on user adoption is that organizations need to find ways to solve end-users' problems, not just provide shiny new objects. If businesses don't provide tools users will readily want to use, those users will go around IT and bring in their own devices and solutions -- as we know, a business reality that sparked the BYOD trend.
Some of the concrete suggestions provided last year include: involving evangelists and power users in the process, creating internal videos and marketing programs to build excitement about the introduction of a UCC solution, and providing end-user training. Among my key tenets are that user adoption be taken into account while designing UCC solutions, and that companies focus on user adoption well before deploying the solution or service.
Involving end users in the process, including line of business leaders, is critical. When giving a presentation about user adoption in Los Angeles last week to an audience that included several attendees from large entertainment companies, I discussed the importance of surveying end users to identify what features and capabilities are critical to them. One of the audience members from a well-known film studio suggested surveying and involving "VIP" users to ensure that the service or solution has the functionality that they need. Without buy-in from these VIP users, the solution may fail.
Every industry has its own VIPs, and they can make or break a UCC deployment. I'm sure you'll walk away from this session with lots of creative and innovative ideas on how to ensure user adoption of your UCC solution.
Enterprise Connect is always a whirlwind of an event -- with keynotes, conference sessions, exhibit booths, and of course receptions and parties. As the UCStrategies team discussed in a recent podcast previewing Enterprise Connect 2016, we have a lot to look forward to. I hope to see you there!