Adopting Unified Communications (UC) in the cloud requires a roadmap to guide everybody to the ultimate destination. After implementing UC solutions for companies large and small in every industry, CBTS has learned that a UC roadmap must be boiled down to three foundational elements: technology, processes, and people.
Here’s a concise look at all three:
The technology component of your UC roadmap starts with a thorough audit of all the devices you use today. Even if you’re replacing obsolete gear, you need to document each item and the work it does to avoid neglecting vital processes. Make sure you document the location of each device, create an inventory, and establish priorities for the hardware that require the most attention and resources (check out “3 steps to preparing for cloud communications” to learn more).
Your technology audit also needs to address:
- All the services, features, and functionalities people use including who uses them, how often they use them, and why they use them.
- Applications and productivity suites people use every day—especially the ones that plug gaps in existing systems.
- How people collaborate now and any hurdles to effective collaboration.
- Non-approved apps and devices people use.
The prime goal of the technology phase is figuring out how people communicate now and identifying the tools that can streamline or accelerate collaboration opportunities.
Make sure to document and assess the power and capacity of your underlying network. Adding UC features can require more bandwidth. Scrimping at the network level can degrade the user experience for everybody. Consider migrating to UC in phases so you can iron out as many wrinkles as possible before going live with your entire customer base.
Your UC roadmap must document how people communicate and collaborate with current technology and establish processes to elevate these experiences with UC tools.
Current processes: You may find these processes evolved in an ad-hoc fashion that barely makes sense. However, they have an underlying logic tied to a specific business need. Carefully map and document processes like:
- Handling of inbound customer calls across multiple scenarios. For instance, how do calls vary at different times of day, and how do you handle calls if a service rep is unavailable?
- Teams’ methodologies for sharing information, collaborating, and managing projects both internally and with external partners and suppliers.
Future processes: Start digging deep into the high-powered features of UC. You’ll want to consider:
- How new capabilities like instant messaging and screen-sharing improve collaboration between customer service and back-office teams, speeding their responses to customer questions.
- How to use the cloud to remove geographic hurdles in your call-handling processes. For instance, you can configure UC to route calls to multiple locations to make sure all customers get through to a service representative.
- How to analyze call volumes to help determine staffing needs for call centers.
One of the challenges is establishing processes for things you haven’t done before. Expect to lean heavily on your UC technology provider for guidance.
The whole point of UC is giving people the best digital tools to communicate with colleagues, customers, and suppliers. Neglecting the people component undermines your entire investment.
The people portion of your UC roadmap should include:
- Getting stakeholder buy-in from the executive suite and top managers. When the senior leadership shows a strong commitment to the transition, it’s easier for everybody else to adapt.
- Figuring out how people communicate now and mapping out how you’ll improve things in the new UC system.
- Providing formal training that’s relevant to the work people do. Customer service representatives need to understand UC intricacies that elevate the customer experience, while the staff in the warehouse might need to know only the basics of voice services. Make sure your UCaaS provider offers white glove installs to accommodate this level of training. Your customer’s experience will depend on how well your employees know the system.
- Creating thorough documentation of the installation and access to training materials people can reference after the migration. These documents need to be easy to understand and should provide concise, step-by-step guidance.
- Documenting changes to people’s work practices. Your staff can have always-on access via their smartphones, laptops, and home PCs. Moreover, they’ll be accessible in any location at any time. You should also consider formulating policies to help people maintain work-life balance.
- Ask about support for your employees, and make sure your UCaaS provider has the necessary resources to help educate employees starting Day 1.
- Consulting with vendors, suppliers, and partners. Many UC features can be configured to communicate with other companies’ UC systems.
Finally, never forget the impact on the people who matter most: the ones purchasing your goods and services. If your new system requires customers to adjust their habits and practices, you need to make the transition as painless as possible.
The right partner for your UCaaS journey
CBTS has the skills, experience, and commitment to create the cloud-based UC solution that fits your people and your marketplace. We cover all phases of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) transitions, from design to implementation to 24/7/365 monitoring, management, and support.
Download our free eGuide to start your journey today.
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