Oiling the cogs of the new norm
Unified communications and UC products are the technology solutions that have kept the wheels turning for businesses over recent months.
As a supplier of UC solutions, to a range of customers across most industry sectors, our role is to ensure that the recommendations we make are fit for purpose beyond recent events - that they are what the customer actually needs. There should never be ‘a one size fits all’ approach, but rather a consultation with the customer to design and implement something that works for the business and that staff not ‘just’ use but actually want to use. It’s definitely safe to say that 'All UC isn’t created equal’.
Whilst all UC products generically make sense to use, the critical point is that they have to make sense for the client. They need to equate to something the client truly needs, will use and adds real business value.
There are of course some commonalities we see across the board, such as the perception that the workforce should be mobile and contactable across devices. The reality is very different - and most certainly will be even more so, now that most of us have become much more accustomed to using features such as video conferencing. Just because a feature is available, it doesn’t mean a customer will always be able to see how it’s relevant or necessary for them.
For example, I’ve talked through the “chat” feature with customers who’ve been relatively dismissive of it as being worthwhile for them. Even after explaining how it can help avoid staff receiving hundreds of internal emails every day, many just couldn’t envisage how much of a difference it would make on a practical level (until of course as we’ve seen recently, the situation where staff are no longer physically together in the same place means it’s become incredibly useful).
From baby boomers to generation z - and everything in between
Not everyone is at the same point in their technology journey but being able to bring everyone with you on your business technology journey is key to its success.
Getting people to step outside their comfort zone and embrace change is essential for a successful UC rollout. From explaining the benefits of a softphone to the baby boomer who cannot contemplate the idea of not having a physical phone on their desk, to millenials who expect to be able to communicate and operate via smartphones and apps, to receptionists who are reluctant to change their legacy products - they all need to be catered for.
You need to have enough flexibility in the end product that allows those people who want to work in a more traditional way to continue to do so, while still embracing the technology such as softphones, apps and mobile applications for others so the business continues to move forward. Surpass your organisation’s generational differences so nobody's left out and it’s a win-win situation.
From owning to leasing: change the mindset
Buying into UC solutions isn’t about saving you money.
They may not.
You’re moving from ownership of multiple products into a solution that brings them all into one cloud-based annuity product that is paid for on an ongoing basis.
You need to think of moving to UC within the context of all the benefits you’ll get by changing from an ownership model to a leased one. I tend to use the analogy of moving from owning a car to leasing one: when you buy a car outright, you physically own it and your only subsequent costs are the ones associated with running it (fuel, insurance and servicing). Leasing a car means you never own it, you pay a monthly fee to be able to use it. But the most important factor is that when you own a car, from the minute you drive it off the forecourt the value of the car depreciates and after time, its features start to become outdated. With a leased car, you may be paying for it each month but you’ll be able to enjoy an upgrade and brand new features when they’re available. It’s all about changing your mindset.
Apply this to the UC model. While you may not own your system outright, your business will be able to enjoy an upgraded solution and all its benefits at various intervals without a large cap-ex spend. Your cost of ownership per user may be higher but the benefits of upgrades and enhancements in a fast-moving technological world far outweigh the cost.
It’s time to talk
Charterhouse is here to work with you on your transition from perhaps using UC tools recently for your business as dictated by the situation, to a more permanent one for the future, taking all the collaboration and communication successes for your business forward.
Forget one size fits all - think “made to order” for the exact needs of your business.