This is the second in a series of posts about solving work-from-home challenges from the IT-leader perspective. The first one was about business continuity.

Last April, UC Expo, a European UCaaS conference, polled IT teams about their top unified communications challenges “they are facing in the current climate.” Respondents said their number one challenge related to helping users adopt UC tools and helping them get that most value from them.

This is consistent with what we see with 8x8 customers. They have invested resources to help their business improve service and generate more revenue through communications and collaboration. No one wants to buy an ironing board to find out it is only being used as a coat rack.

Proper onboarding leads to user adoption and success

Delivering a bad onboarding experience always leads to bad outcomes like increased support tickets, use of rogue tools and reduced productivity and ultimately poor user satisfaction. No IT leader wants that. So how do you get your teams to take full advantage of solutions such as Virtual Office?

We find that the most successful implementations result from good planning and engagement with vendors, technology partners and your users.

A good plan prioritizes the problems your internal customers are trying to solve and works to build momentum and excitement among them because you are making them more effective in their jobs. You also need to be clear to employees what it is you are giving them and how it benefits them. Plus, they need to be able to easily access the UC tools and get training and assistance when they need it.

Good onboarding plans include:

  • Provide clarity about key adoption goals and how they align with business goals.
  • Establish metrics to track adoption rates.
  • Detail support processes and training resources.
  • Include promotional tactics to build awareness and excitement about your new UC tools and how it benefits employees and the organization.

Top action items before you distribute the software to all employees

Even if you have a support contract, it is critical that you familiarize yourself with product documentation and support resources with a particular lens of your employees’ top use cases. For example, if your employees use video conferencing to meet individually with clients, make sure you know how to set up secure meetings. You know your organization. What types of questions would you anticipate being common? Get those answers ahead of time.

Like for most corporate initiatives, it is vital to develop project champions across your organization especially in different office locations. Give a select group of users pre access and get their feedback and use that information in your communication plans. If users see senior executives using the new UC tools, they will follow. Devote time to ensure that leaders especially those who authorized funding for your UCaaS solution are educated on what it can and cannot do and how the company can reap the most benefits from it.

Three additional tips from the most successful implementations:

  • Create a page on your intranet or a document in a shared folder that aggregates links to online training and how-to resources...Keeping all educational materials in one place and promoting that place will attract users before they contact support or initiate a ticket.
  • Don’t forget about the administrators — it is normal for focus on setting up regular users for success. Make sure to take good care of front-line administrators because they have major influence over users and adoption. One way to do this is to ensure that administrators receive priority support when they have questions or concerns.
  • Consider 3rd-party integrations in your support plan — Many customers like to integrate apps such from Salesforce, ServiceNow, Google and Microsoft among others into their UCaaS solution. This is another support layer you need to take into account to minimize hassles and headaches.

Once you develop your plans with your clear goals and have everything in place, you can unleash the software into your users’ hands and execute those plans. We find that those who do their homework and put in the efforts upfront generally get the best results (just as in sports or in the arts). Those who do not think through all the issues like security, upgrades, required features etc. tend to have buyers’ remorse. No one wants that. So lean into your technology partners. Not finding a tutorial you need, ask them for it. The best IT partners invest in your success just as much as you have invested in their products.

What are other tips and tricks you have learned about getting employees to use the IT tools your organization has provided to them? Let me know, and I will share them.