Organizations looking to replace their PBX voices systems with more robust Unified Communications are drawn to Microsoft’s Skype for Business solution for the enticing ROI that is expected. Clients look to consolidate a number for platforms under the single UC solution (IM/Presence, Voice, Video, Conferencing, etc.), reducing management complexity, decreased operational licensing costs, and enabling their users to work seamlessly from anywhere. The solution also encourages seamless communication and collaboration with geographically diverse teams, which decreases the need for travel, in doing so creating savings.
While all of these are desirable from a leadership standpoint, the extent of the ROI depends on the adoption of the organization’s users, across all levels. Transitioning from a traditional PBX system to a Unified Communication solution requires a major culture shift in how everyone performs their duties, and leadership must encourage training and adoption, across their teams as well as themselves. Seburn Wilson of Rackspace has written an article looking deeper into how organizations should approach the shift in culture, as well as driving the highest level of End-User adoption. Below are some of the points that Seburn covers in his article:
If you deploy Skype for Business Server without training, and your company continues on a business-as-usual path, you won’t see an ROI. I’ve heard companies say that they tried to deploy business telephony solutions such as LCS, OCS, Lync and Skype, but nobody used them. Often, the lack of adoption results from not providing adequate training or clarifying savings opportunities.
For example, the tangible benefit of reduced travel costs may require both culture change and strict policy enforcement. Though you can’t avoid all travel, you can leverage collaboration tools to reduce it. You can also offload a ton of minutes from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) by leveraging the corporate WAN or your Internet connection to carry voice traffic. So, if you deploy Skype to all your users, and they adopt it, you should see a measurable decrease in travel and PSTN voice usage.
Intangible benefits include an intuitive user interface and a single client for audio, video and web conferencing to help drive end-user adoption instead of multiple applications or devices for different collaboration scenarios. An example of the latter would be using a desk phone for voice calls and audio conferencing, Webex™ for online meetings/web conferencing and Lifesize® ClearSea™ for video conferencing. Having multiple tools for collaboration adds to IT complexity and lowers user adoption. By migrating from multiple web conferencing providers to Skype for Business, you start to see improvements in productivity and adoption that lead to increased ROI.
There are ways to drive end-user adoption. Use these high-level approaches to support success:
Internal Marketing Campaign
Put together an internal marketing plan to help sell the value of Skype for Business. Create an email campaign to educate users. Generate flyers to promote training and showcase Skype’s capabilities. Get people excited about all the different ways they can communicate. Traditional users can still use voice calls, more progressive users can use instant messaging while everyone has access to the same set of tools for voice, video, instant messaging and web conferencing.
If you provide training and demonstrate real-world use cases for leveraging Skype for Business, users will become more comfortable with the technology and start to see the value. Here are some suggestions:
- On the cheap — Microsoft provides a lot of end-user training videos, but this makes it more challenging to track overall progress.
- On a budget — Train the trainer. Have department heads identify designated team members that have the aptitude and technical savvy to teach the rest of the team. Train them to use Skype for Business Server and then start scheduling sessions within the teams. Use a sign-off sheet to track progress.
- Learning management system (LMS) — Develop recorded videos with use cases that leverage Skype for Business and show real scenarios pertinent to your business to better collaborate. Use LMS to track training progress.
Monitoring Usage and Adoption
Skype for Business Server and Lync allow you to enable monitoring that you can use to track adoption and usage via server reports. The reports show you how many user logins occur on a daily basis, number of IM conversations, audio usage, conferencing usage and more. This will allow you to see if the training is driving adoption.”
To see Seburn’s article in its entirety, please visit #.
For organizations that would like assistance from a Microsoft partner for driving adoption and training, PEI offers a “Launch Kit”, which provides companies with customized onboarding plans. These kits can include a number of services, including custom on-site end user training sessions, remote training sessions, training packets for end users, customized training videos with end user branding, train-the-trainer sessions for training and management of the systems, and more. If you’re interested in learning about the different onboarding plans that PEI provides, please send an email to email@example.com and we will reach out to you shortly.
Martin Feehan, PEI