The Culture Of Unified Communications
For as many benefits as unified communications have provided, there are just as many misconceptions surrounding the technology and its use. UC systems are becoming the new status quo for organizations all over the world and a greater number of enterprise workers are more likely to have useful IT skills. But with that comes a wrongful assumption that UC is an answer rather than a means to an end.
It is important to remember that while unified communications is an essential asset to the modern business, these systems will not be of any use if they are not leveraged correctly. According to Forbes contributor Joanna Belbey, this may require a change in workplace culture. Collaboration can be accomplished like never before with these systems, but it is going to require a slight shift that embraces both modern and traditional working styles.
"UC has the potential to reach almost every department and role, changing the way people make phone calls, collaborate and use mobile devices for work," wrote Computing contributor John Leonard. "Done right, therefore, UC can support big changes in working practice, but it will live up to its full potential only if people are brought on board at an early stage."
Unified communications are in high demand from enterprise workers across many demographics. It will be important when seeking out these networks to help foster a cohesive environment by making sure everyone is on the same page - no matter what position they hold.
Getting Management On Board
The employees that are most frequently demanding unified communications are generally not the leaders of the company. Staffers in sales, marketing and other data-intensive jobs tend to be the ones that make the push for UC because they are confident in their ability to fulfill their obligations outside of the office. As a growing number of organizations are enabling these workers in the ways they desire, deploying cloud unified communications is going to be an essential means of retaining top talent and maximizing employee satisfaction.
But this does not necessarily mean that all members of a company are going to be quick studies throughout this process or be actively excited about the transition. According to Belbey, this is where senior executives are going to have to lead by example.
"Adoption is a well-known challenge for firms," she wrote. "Organizations are struggling to convince employees that they should log on, blog, comment, post and get involved on collaboration tools. The solution? As with all things, senior leadership needs to lead the way in order to encourage adoption. However, I have been surprised to learn that just the opposite is happening."
This is due to a preconceived notion that making the top brass instantly available over these networks will "open the floodgates," as Belbey put. With these channels suddenly open, CEOs could be subject to all sorts of grievances that they should not be expected to handle. People may wrongly believe they can go all the way to the top with something that they should be directing to HR or their actual supervisor.
Companies are finding ways around these scenarios, however. "Ethical walls," which prevent two specific groups of employees from contacting each other directly, are actually a requirement for financial services to prevent conflicts of interest from occurring between traders and research analysts. This methodology could help to get upper level managers onto these systems without breaking down essential divisions within an enterprise.
More CIOs Taking Initiative
The business as a whole has to be connected by modernized UC systems, but the responsibility for making these changes happen is going to fall on the shoulders of the CIO. According to InformationWeek contributor Varun Haran, this is something that many people who hold the position are starting to realize. It is their level of expertise that is going to help get these systems launched in a way that allows true potential to be unlocked. This is an occurrence that is happening all over the world, but Haran specifically focuses on what is going on in Indian enterprises.
"Indeed CIOs across the industry bear out the fact that unification of enterprise communications platforms and collaboration initiatives around presence, IP telephony, instant messaging etc; driven by recent revolutions like cloud, social and mobility, are on their agendas," Haran wrote. "Businesses are evolving and growing at a tremendous pace with many Indian companies having established extensive interests globally in the last half a decade."
UC Stands For Unified Culture
Cloud UC is not just an alternative delivery method, it is indicative of major changes in the enterprise. But like all great migrations, there are going to have to be some big considerations taken into account. Those at the top have to lead by example to make sure that everyone in the office is on the same page.