“If it’s not broken, it’s not worth fixing” is a risky mantra, especially when it comes to UCaaS. Swiftly deployed, pandemic-inspired remote communication solutions may be adequate right now, but additional sophistication is required to prevent major UCaaS system failures down the line.
Data from the most recent AVANT Analytics 6-12 Report shows interest in UCaaS rose 86% during the COVID-19 pandemic, as organisations scrambled to support remote work with cloud-based communications solutions. However, UCaaS solutions are not a temporary measure. Organisations are unlikely to revert back to outdated technologies once employees are back in the office, and others plan to transition to cloud-based communications solutions in the near future.
The pandemic accelerated digital transformation, pressuring enterprises to implement planned solutions in weeks rather than months or years. But here’s the catch: This rapid implementation of complex digital transformation projects is troubling. In fact, there is concern about the longer-term impact of rushing through digital transformation projects during the crisis. IT professionals are now tasked with maintaining these hastily implemented systems, and identifying the best strategies and Trusted Advisors for long-term success.
Three steps to ensuring long-term UCaaS success
At this point, you’ve launched initial UCaaS solutions that have carried you through the pandemic with surface-level communication needs satisfied. However, lurking below the surface of your UCaaS solution could be hastily assembled components that won’t work indefinitely across your entire communications environment. These capabilities require continued maintenance to serve as successful, long-term solutions:
Step 1: Assess your current needs and performance
Determine where you are experiencing performance issues with your current UCaaS solution to pinpoint where the need for an upgrade or fix is most pressing. For many, the issue is bandwidth. And since the pandemic, bandwidth issues have only increased, mostly due to variable connectivity in home environments. While there is no easy way to control or streamline internet connectivity across employee homes, you can have employees conduct speed tests. At-home speed tests help determine the performance of UCaaS voice and video applications on employee internet connections. If the internet connection is not adequate for the applications used, reassess communication needs and seek alternative solutions.
Step 2: Consult a Trusted Advisor
Collaborating with Trusted Advisors and leaders in the space can help you truly understand the processes involved in fine tuning your UCaaS system. For example, network infrastructure underpins the entire UCaaS system and is necessary to maintain performance in a cloud environment. But there are several routes you can take with UCaaS network infrastructure. SD-WAN has seen an uptick in use over the past several years among SMBs, but MPLS infrastructure is still popular in certain markets.There is also a use case for LTE to support mobile applications or at-home internet connections. Lean on Trusted Advisors and managed security service providers (MSSPs) to ensure you choose the route best suited to your individual needs.
Step 3: Set your employees up for success
Before making any decisions on a solution, perform a proof-of-concept (PoC) evaluation to determine how the system performs in your unique enterprise environment. Establish a task force to clearly define UCaaS success, such as creating scorecards to track collaboration functionality, ease-of-use, effectiveness of mobile applications, etc. Engage end users from different departments to complete scorecards and identify areas of strength and weakness — this group will also serve as evangelists of the system once the technology is deployed. Finally, ensure user adoption by supplying accessible, ongoing training as well as education about the benefits of the new UCaaS solution.
Accelerated UCaaS implementation was necessary in the midst of the pandemic, but now it’s time to ensure its long-term success. By focusing on the infrastructure that lies below the surface, you can build more permanent unified communication structures that you can count on for years to come.
Guest Blog by Ken Presti, VP of research and analytics, AVANT
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