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Five tips to deploying a unified communications solution

Michael Mason, Channel Chat Blogger

When you’re deploying a unified communications solution, setting up the right network to support the solution is only half the task – and quite honestly, it’s the easy part.  The other equally important

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and more complicated half of the project is ensuring that folks connecting to the network know how to use the new technologies.    

With the growing adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) and a continued push for greater mobility in the workforce, a technician’s success really rests with the end user. If the everyday Joe doesn’t know how to leverage the technology and realize that productivity promise – both inside and outside of the office – our efforts are futile. 

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As one of the resident techies in the Ingram Micro Solution Center, responsible for vendors such as Cisco, VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, EMC, BMC and APC, I’ve learned a number of ways to help our resellers ensure success when it comes to deploying more complex solutions such as UC. Here are a handful of tips to take into consideration around deploying a UC solution in particular.  

  • Go into the project understanding you will likely have many classes of users, from the savvy enthusiast to the technology challenged. Identify your different user types and prepare to deploy the right features to the right users. Then have either one-on-one discussions or small group, how-to classes to ensure those end users are comfortable with the technology.
  • Try to personalize the IT experience as much as possible. Give users the option of customizing their environment. This could be as simple as adding their own speed dial numbers or posting their own photos.
  • Assist with integration as much as possible. This is key. Integrating initially with popular applications is important. This may be a simple click-to-call from that spreadsheet of phone numbers or enabling a presence status within documents. Again, the point is to make it easy for users to gain productivity and use the technology as it’s meant to be used.
  • Set up an ongoing training schedule and help-line. New technology can be challenging, so give the end users a lifeline or two to make them feel more comfortable as they learn to embrace the new solution.
  • Find champions to help you along the way. The best way to do this is to find people who are early adopters of technology or are technical enthusiasts. Empower them to help their colleagues and encourage them to talk about their success with the new systems.

The end user experience is driving innovation and technology investments, so to truly delivery on your promise of better, faster and easier systems, keep your eye on that end user and the prize of their active utilization of tech tools. That means taking a few simple but essential steps to ensure they are not just aware of upgrades such as UC, but enthusiastic and comfortable using those tools.

About the author: Michael Mason is a Solution Center Engineer who has expertise in Data Centers and collaboration technologies, as well as routers, switches, firewalls and VPN. He is a CCIE in routing and switching and holds a VMware VCP among other certifications. He works for Ingram Micro Inc., the world’s largest technology distributor at the Ingram Micro Experience Center. mike.mason@IngramMicro.com, www.ingrammicro.com