The Top Five Reasons Why Unified Communications Fail

If you are planning to deploy a UC platform, keep the following pitfalls in mind to keep your implementation process as smooth as possible.

1. Shiny Object Syndrome
Don’t put the cart before the horse. Rather than choosing from all of the fancy features available or just going with what your IT department decides, take a close look at how your business really operates and how the users will be interfacing with the system. If you choose a UC system that is too complicated or cumbersome to use because it is the “newest shiny object” available on the market, your users will most likely avoid the system. Once you figure out what your users’ needs are, it will be much easier to select a UC platform that will work seamlessly with your existing methods of doing business.

2. Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
It is important to only buy as much system as you need. Unified Communications are designed to help your business operate more efficiently by allowing people to communicate and/or exchange information across various devices. You can always implement a UC system in phases or add on more components as they are needed in the future. It usually takes 1 – 2 years to roll out a successful implementation. Be patient and give your users time to adapt to the system as well as giving yourself time to start seeing the return on your initial investment.

3. Determining Cost of Ownership
Although it may be difficult to determine the total costs associated with buying, owning and operating a unified communications platform until it goes live, be sure to factor in time that the IT department may need to spend answering questions and teaching people how to use the system. Another consideration is long-term costs. For example, a UC platform designed for a midsize enterprise with 1,000 users will require 10 servers in a Microsoft environment, five servers with Cisco and two with Avaya-an 80 percent cost difference in hardware alone. That doesn’t include the cost of hardware maintenance and system administrators.

Beware of paying licensing costs for features that you don’t use because of the way the software licensing is sometimes bundled as an “all or none” deal, which may not end up being such a good deal in the long run. Knowing the front-end costs (hardware, software, licensing) as well as the back-end costs (administration, maintenance, service delivery) upfront can go a long way toward understanding the bottom-line costs of a UC implementation.

Here are some ways to measure your return on investment:
– Internet Protocol transport savings
– Reduced mobile phone costs
– Increased employee efficiency
– Savings in upgrading to a more modern communications platform

4. Communication
It is important for the management and IT department to provide clear direction, guidance and expectations for the implementation of a new system. An effective change management program begins with a clear plan for when each stage of the deployment will take place and setting expectations about what types of changes users should make and see as a result. Providing ample training opportunities is also key to a successful implementation.

5. Vendor and Partner Selection
Luckily, there are a few unified communications vendors that offer complete enterprise-wide solutions as well as expert help in assessing your company’s needs and customizing a solution for you. You need to consider your partner choice carefully and should plan to evaluate at least four vendors before making your final selection.

According to the Info-Tech Research Group, “The fact is that for most enterprises, the selection of the product itself should be secondary to the strength and vision of the vendor, and the knowledge and expertise of the integrator.” Because a unified communications implementation is one of the most important decisions your company will make, be sure to shop around for the best solution for your specific needs, your budget, and the most supportive partner to help you create a solid strategy and plan for success. Change happens slowly at times but it often turns out to be exactly the kind of change an organization needs to improve operations, reduce costs and remain competitive.

Author Bio: Ronco Communications and Electronics, Inc. was founded in 1965 and is an Avaya Platinum Business Partner. We offer a wide range of technology solutions and over forty years of expertise to give your business an edge over the competition. To learn more about what we offer, our current Avaya promotions or to contact one of our unified communications specialists in your area, please visit us at: http://ronco.net

Category: Computers and Technology
Keywords: unified communications, network architecture, data network, enterprise communications

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