Unified Communications Failing Due to Low Employee UsageUnified communications (UC) is changing the world of communication and benefiting businesses in many ways. Yet, in many organizations, employees are reluctant to embrace changes made to workflows or processes as a result of deploying UC. Why is that?

According to a recent Nemertes Research report, most companies that have adopted UC are struggling to get them off the ground in their workplaces, especially if their employees lack adequate training or are unaware of the presence of such advanced technologies.

Fifty senior-level IT leaders representing 45 companies (with a workforce of 2,500 employees or more) were interviewed by Nemertes for its recent 2015-16 benchmark on UC and collaboration report. The report found the success rate of UC has dropped considerably over the past few years; compared to the 61 percent success rate last year, this year it stands at roughly 43 percent. The primary reason for this drop, according to Nemertes Research VP Irwin Lazar, is “lack of use,” followed by other reasons like tight budgets, interoperability concerns, and lack of business case.

Employee Ignorance—UC’s Biggest Barrier to Enterprise Adoption

Most companies involve their employees after a UC system has been purchased, or after it is installed. This approach often fails because end-users consider it an imposition rather than a benefit. Rolling out UC or any new technology means a 3600 change in the way people execute their daily tasks. This affects the overall quality of work and productivity; when you introduce UC in your workplace without considering the people who will use it on a daily basis, adoption lags.

During the specification stage, the IT department and experts stress cost savings and improved ROI, but after the actual roll out, these metrics seldom improve. This is due to lack-of-use by end users, who usually prefer to stick to the traditional systems they’re accustomed to. End users, employees in this case, are the key ROI drivers for UC, so if they fail to embrace its many advantages, the financial return is lost.

To avoid the lack of adoption of UC, careful thinking and employee preparation is essential before considering technological changes within an organization.

Train Your Employees to Harness the Powers of UC

For today’s organizations with remote and distributed workforces, traditional face-to-face meetings are being replaced by virtual meetings. According to a Siemens Newsletter, virtual businesses or businesses without a brick-and-mortar office claim up to 50 percent savings in operations and infrastructure costs, along with the added bonus of increased flexibility. UC improves effective collaboration and productivity by helping these businesses seamlessly overcome the physical barriers of remote work.

However, when UC is introduced abruptly, without familiarizing employees to the new technology, the promises of UC are lost due to lack of enterprise-wide adoption. It’s important to measure the user uptake before bringing in new technologies, since users will eventually drive UC’s ROI and not the technology itself. Businesses must train users appropriately in order to increase awareness and overall comfort with the new systems. And distributing a PDF user manual is not enough; a proper training program that familiarizes the users with features like the new conferencing facility, data access techniques via mobile devices, video chat, etc., must be part of the implementation process.

A few ways you can encourage your employees to embrace the change are:

  • Make sure they understand the reason for undergoing these changes.
  • Provide training that focuses mainly on the core functionality of the technologies, and help them understand the immediate and positive impact on their daily working lives.
  • Launch a program to motivate and encourage users to embrace the new toolset rather than ignore it.

Successful deployment of a UC system requires more than investing in high-end equipment. End-users must be trained and encouraged to adopt new tech tools. To prevent rejection and lags in UC adoption, employees need to be involved in the initial stages and polled for their opinions before making decisions. A thorough training and incentive program to help them grow accustomed to, and understand the need for, UC is essential. Like most organizational changes, planning is key to adoption, and it is unlikely UC will work without it.

At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.

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