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Managing Mishaps

Best practices and upfront alignment prove pivotal in sidestepping UC deployment issues

If there is one reality in the world of IT, it’s that an alarming number of projects either fail completely or are unable to hit the mark that classifies them as a success -- especially from the eyes of the user base. According to the well-known CHAOS Manifesto there have been consistently low success rates for years. For instance, the 2012 report shows that IT project success hit a high point with rates that year at just 39 percent overall. At the same time, challenged or off-target success rates hovered around 43 percent.

Understandably, these numbers take into account all types of projects from full-scale software developments to seemingly simpler deployments of pre-built software solutions. And, naturally, there are quite a few reasons why projects fail… whether it’s lack of buy-in or a noticeable incongruence between what the user base desires/needs and what’s ultimately delivered.

Fortunately, with a little forethought, it’s possible for most organizations to sidestep failure. Consider, for instance, the typical unified communications deployment. While overall failure rate isn’t as common as with wide scale software developments projects, most IT leaders and business users alike would probably agree that their organization’s UC deployments fall within the challenged category.

This conundrum occurs for a number of reasons, many of which are avoidable with some legwork upfront. Organizations need to better understand the pros and cons of a system before making a commitment. This is most evident when an organization embraces a cloud-based UC solution thinking it will help avoid traditional SIP-trunk based pitfalls. While some significant benefits exist when moving to the cloud, not all cloud solutions are the same. In fact, there are huge differences between deploying a hybrid UC systems and one that is 100 percent cloud-based like Broadview Networks’ OfficeSuite® offering.

For example, with a hybrid system, programming is still within the handset – essentially stripping away some of the key flexibility and scalability benefits of a cloud deployment. However, with a completely cloud-based system, an organization does not need to worry about going into an office when an emergency arises. Nor does it need to be concerned with how it will handle re-routing calls during a long-term power outage. Instead, any employee can simply reroute with a few keystrokes after signing in to the online portal from anywhere – even their smartphones.

Another common mishap capable of derailing project success occurs when organizations get enamored with touted high-tech features, and ultimately fail to focus on ease of use when making a selection. The ability to effectively and seamlessly communicate should be second nature – not just for IT – but also for every non-IT employee. What is the point of having tons of features if people can’t figure out how to use them? Your adoption will be low and your project will fail. Unfortunately, with many systems, this means learning how to use a handset and being able to figure out all of the programming issues. And, while most providers stress customer-service, in reality it’s often underwhelming, which results in organizations getting stuck only partially leveraging less than intuitive systems.

This is not an issue when going with a system that is designed from a user perspective. For instance, OfficeSuite®’s online management portal has drag and drop capabilities, as well as video tutorials allowing any user to leverage any of its features (presence, forwarding to mobile, voicemail, hotdesking, etc.) rather than only using what they know how to program on their desk phone. And, let’s face it, most of us only have the voicemail programmed on our desk phones.

My advice: before signing on the dotted line, take off the rose colored glasses, and make sure the system truly fits your organizational needs. And, remember all the features in the world cannot make it a great deal if the UC solution isn’t easy to use.

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