Projects have a way of putting people behind in the workplace. There are some tasks that require a lot of time and effort to get done, and sometimes this can push people away from wanting to handle them.
According to InformationWeek contributor Erika Van Noort, this is how unified communications projects can fail in the long run. Taking on these sorts of transitions can be a taxing endeavor, but Van Noort suggests that maybe the problem isn't in the work itself, but how it is referred to. Sometimes, all it takes is a jargon adjustment to boost the importance of UC deployments in the collective mind of those in charge of making them happen.
Van Noort specifically suggests replacing the word "project" - which can have loaded connotations - with "initiative." This helps drive home the fact that the push for unified communications is for the good of the company. She also believes that maybe "communications" ought to go in favor of "collaboration." Since people are increasingly working remotely on their mobile devices, they won't be using these networks just to chat, but rather to meet their goals and work alongside their colleagues. This is a free, easy way to keep those involved pointed in the right direction.
It will be important for enterprises to turn to this kind of thinking as they deploy single source communications applications. Mobility is more critical for professionals to have than ever, and nothing is worse than a botched launch. Thinking of a "unified communications projects" as "unified communications initiatives," like Van Noort does, can go a long way.
Mobile UC deployments on the rise
It shouldn't come as a surprise that enterprise professionals are constantly using their smartphones. As such, many companies have realized that it makes the most sense to push their telecom networks into the cloud, where they can be accessed in a software-defined environment from anywhere with an Internet connection. This is the move that an increasing number of industries are taking. According to a recent study from Nemertes Research, 51.6 percent of businesses have at least partial mobile UC integration in place. Currently, only 9.7 percent of organizations have full mobile UC integration, but that figure will rapidly climb to 59.7 percent within the next four years. Of the companies that participated in the Nemertes survey, not one of them expected to be lacking mobile UC integration by 2018.
According to Nemertes executive VP Robin Gareiss, these findings are linked to the growing importance of smartphones in the workplace. Professionals are eager to use their personal devices because they understand how to use them to navigate the course of daily activity.
"IT organizations have spent significant time establishing mobility strategies, connecting devices and outlining governance policies," Gareiss wrote for No Jitter. "At the same time, they continue to upgrade TDM to IP (yep, there is still a lot of that going on) and integrate UC with other collaboration tools. As employees become more reliant on their mobile devices to communicate, it only makes sense they would want to see call logs, work from common contact lists, and switch seamlessly between office and mobile devices. IT staffs finally are beginning to have the time to deal with UC clients - and the clients themselves are improving."
But getting to this place with UC deployments takes a lot of consideration - especially when it comes to on-site vs. hosted strategies. While it is common to see organizations abandon their legacy circuits in favor of outsourced, cloud-based systems, this is not the best course of action for every company out there. Existing networks can, however, be upgraded through the use of SIP trunking. A SIP trunk takes landline signals and makes them available over the Internet, where they can in turn be placed into the cloud and accessed remotely.
Walk the walk, talk the talk
The move into cloud-based, remote connectivity is the goal that a majority of businesses have in mind these days, but sometimes it takes more than desire. As Van Noort points out, how you talk about unified communications projects is just as important as the conversation itself. Choosing the right words is just as vital as picking the right deployment strategy.
"I am not saying you can guarantee the success of your UC investment by calling it 'our collaboration initiative," Van Noort wrote. "I will say that the people working on it will have a much greater sense of the outcome and will see far beyond the rollout to how people are using the tools they can access. It also means there may be greater ownership for user impact, which in turn translates into user adoption. It's not often that you can improve the odds of success for an investment so cost-effectively. After all, what's the cost of a word?"
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