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UC User Adoption: A Guide to Conducting a Successful Pilot

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Running a successful pilot can be the key to ensuring user uptake when deploying your unified communications (UC) service. User uptake is important for the following reasons:
 
  • It prevents your users from ‘making do’ with their own, disparate means of communication (such as texting or WhatsApp messages, for example) and keeps everything centralized, secure, and searchable.
  • It reduces the chances of human error if your users have a good understanding of your chosen system and feel confident using it.
  • User uptake ensures that this endeavor is worthwhile if you’ve invested time, effort, and money into a new system.
  • In a climate where many workers continue to operate remotely, solid user uptake of your UC solution ensures that your workforce continues to work, communicate, and collaborate effectively with each other from their respective, separate locations.
 
What can you, as an organization, do to give yourself the best possible chance at user uptake? In this article, I’ll address what goes into running a successful pilot in order to ensure user uptakes. Before diving into that, however, it’s wise to say a few things about ensuring your environment is ready before running a pilot.
 
Readying Your Environment
Before beginning a pilot, take time to prepare and optimize. Conduct a network readiness assessment, focus on network performance and planning, and other aspects of networking, such as ports and protocols.
 
Once you complete a network readiness assessment, your next step is planning. You must plan out finalizing your objectives and deciding how to measure the pilot’s success, communicate with users, and your ultimate migration plan for rolling the system out in full.
 
Before commencing with your pilot, consider appointing a dedicated person or group to act as the organization’s quality champion. This individual or group would essentially be responsible for managing the pilot, clearly defining the relevant approaches, monitoring usage and quality, and assessing where the action is required. It’s also essential that this person or people maintain good relationships with the supplier of the new system as their input will (likely) be valuable. This final step will also reduce the scope for what’s known as a ‘budget creep.’ I have undertaken or participated in this role for many clients over the years.
 
Execute Your Pilot: How to Ensure Success
Once you achieve environmental readiness, the organization will begin piloting the chosen UC solution, most likely alongside its current deployment. The more successful an organization’s pilot is, the more successful the subsequent migration to the platform will ultimately be. A successful pilot will, primarily, benefit from maximum user adoption within the organization. The key will be helping users adjust to the new range of features while ensuring that the adoption isn’t too fast or overwhelming.
 
Piloting the platform before completing migration depends on the level of the existing deployment. For professionals familiar with working with their current deployment and perhaps have been doing so for a good few years, a migration to a new platform isn’t just a matter of ‘trying something new’; it’s a complete change to the fundamental way in which these individuals work. Because of this, a successful pilot will implement aspects of new functionality into everyday workplace collaboration while continuing to grant users the freedom to enjoy their favorite features in the current deployment as not to overwhelm them.
 
A successful pilot also relies on training resources to help with adoption by overcoming the relevant learning curve. These resources will equip your employees to embrace the new platform as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
 
Lastly, take a successful pilot as an opportunity to enhance overall collaboration within the workplace. Employees may perceive adoption as less of a chore if the pilot is interactive and fun, and you emphasize the benefits of collaborating through the new platform. The pilot can be a chance to take overall workplace engagement and collaboration to the next level, which is especially important in a world where many workers continue to operate remotely.
 
One Final Point
It’s worth noting that the advice laid out in this article is not entirely prescriptive. The pilot of, and subsequent migration to, a new UC platform will by no means function on a one-size-fits-all basis. Instead, any organization’s approach to migration will be dictated by how the organization currently deploys its UC.

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