Whether you run a small company or a global juggernaut with offices scattered far and wide, unified communications and collaboration (UCC) delivers a toolkit to productivity your teams need. If you make purchasing decisions for UCC platforms, you may feel beset from all sides. Employees want the latest and greatest tech with every feature under the sun, as long as it's easy to use. Customers want the same thing, but tailored to their individual needs. And executives would like you to not break your budget doing it. That's a lot of constituencies to keep happy.
You also don't get to make decisions in a vacuum. Many are made by committee, with members of each of the aforementioned groups often having a say. IT buyers not only need to align the people on these committees, they also need to be the cognizant of their end user needs. IT leaders face challenges when getting everyone aligned using the same comms and collaboration tools. Let's look at some ways to get these constituencies aligned.
Establish a Feedback Loop
It's obvious that no two users' needs are exactly the same, but there are often commonalities and trends to identify. Too often, users are not treated as stakeholders in the decision making process for buying software, but they should be, especially when it comes to UCC software that will be implemented company-wide. Knowing workers' needs up front will avoid the costly disaster of funds being spent on software that isn't used.
While not all decisions in business should be made by committee, in the case of purchasing UCC software, making the decision using a purchasing committee has advantages. A committee encourages input from all affected groups. So, much like a political operative in the field, you can get the grass-roots feelings from your constituents on the software you're considering so the best decision can be made for all affected groups. Buy-in from all parties also avoids the extremes of a purchasing decision that meets the needs of one group at the expense of another.
Encourage Correct Usage
So you've purchased the software. You've got your candidate in office, and now it's time for it to serve the constituents you successfully campaigned to. The usability of the software and correct usage of the software by people it's being deployed to serve is very important at this stage of the game. Make sure team members are properly trained so they use the software efficiently across the organization. Correct usage of the software should also reduce the load on whatever tool was being (mis)used prior to your new UCC software's implementation… your email server for example.
Run Performance Check-Ins
Asking users about how the software is performing for them is critical. Think of this as the software's “job approval rating.” You want to make sure that the software you caucused so hard for is delivering on what it promised. If it's performing as advertised, fantastic. You get to watch the benefits come to fruition. If it isn't, finding out your users' pain points and getting them corrected will not only reinforce users' confidence in the software, but also in your ability to make their lives easier and more productive.
The Measure of Success
To measure success, do what a political operative would do… conduct a poll. Sure you could run reporting numbers, but surveying the landscape where your UCC software was deployed and soliciting feedback from the folks it's designed to serve is a great way to determine if your solution is meeting their needs. If you have put the necessary time and effort into the purchasing process, you can have greater confidence in the positiveness of that feedback.