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Training and Change Management: Crucial to UC ROI
In our consulting engagements, we continue to see great Unified Communications applications with hard-dollar, nearly immediate paybacks and excellent ROI. But, in almost every case, the savings will not be realized unless users are supported in changing to the new UC solutions and methods. The point, often overlooked in project plans and budgeting, is to insist on this crucial training and change management.Here are some of the immediate payback opportunities we are seeing, from relatively simple to more complex, with suggestions for training and change management:
* Use conferencing to avoid travel to internal enterprise meetings. Fairly simple, but train users on how to set up the conferences, including web sharing and/or video content when appropriate. Often this simply starts with how to schedule the meeting, including calendar and list shortcuts and recurring meeting settings.
* Invite customers or partners into web meetings to accelerate and enrich information delivery and collaboration without driving or flying to their offices. Builds on the same training as for internal meetings, but there are often tips and tricks, perhaps packaged into a video message, to help the customer or partner have a positive, service-differentiating experience.
* Learn to use presence to find the best available resource rather than making repeated phone calls or leaving multiple email or voicemail messages. When someone is available, use instant messaging (IM) rather than calls or email for short communications. While presence and IM seem easy, training is required to set expectations on to how to use these new tools. When users block their presence so as not to be disrupted for trivial reasons, it's an indication that the team was not trained on best practices.
* Use a PC-based softphone or mobile device client when out of the office to avoid wasted billable cell-phone minutes or international calling-card charges. This training might best be delivered just before the user travels, perhaps as part of the travel email messages or a travel kit, so the knowledge is fresh in their minds.
* Use collaborative workspaces for project teams, rather than multiple calls, messages or meetings, with the result of faster project completion with fewer resources. This is a big change for many users, requiring training that the start of any collaboration is to check into the workspace and then communicate in and from that work area.
* Use communications tools embedded in business applications to streamline the processes, to improve record-keeping and compliance, and to reduce the wasted time and expense of calls, messages or meetings. Often this training is easiest, since it is in context of the application and a good interface or portal design will just show the needed "buttons" that will make the right communications happen.
All this is not hard; it just takes attention. Many companies have a training department that can help with this. Training tools continue to improve, offering easy recording of a successful UC user session in the context of their specific job. Note: I'm not referring to canned vendor product training, it should be job-specific; and, if your UC strategy is built on Use Cases, then train to those. It is also easy to record a training webinar for later reuse (think: enterprise YouTube) or to narrate onto PowerPoint slides with tools such as Articulate.
For the change management elements, project managers or HR team members are likely resources. Also, the tools used in call centers are often applicable, as are methods described in the book "AKDAR," by Jeffrey M. Hiatt. Setting up recognition, rewards and metrics are all part of managing change, too.
So, please, invest in training and change management to assure UC success. The immediate and significant paybacks from your UC investments depend on it. As to what UC applications to invest in, we hope to see you at VoiceCon in just two weeks, where the best of UC will be on display.