My last two posts have begun exploring the idea of end users as subscribers in your organization, and when it comes to deploying UC, I think there’s a lot to consider in terms of innovation. Ultimately, IT must get buy-in from two audiences with UC – management and end users – and because the technology is still new, innovation can play a valuable role in getting everyone to focus on the benefits rather than the complexities behind it. In this regard, innovation is really about meeting needs – in a better way, a new way or a different way. That’s where I’ll take things as this thread continues.
Innovation path #5, continued – think of end users as subscribers
You can’t really innovate without a frame of reference, and that’s where the thinking part comes in. If IT thinks of end users and subscribers, there is a distinct set of needs that can be addressed with innovative approaches. The better IT can address those needs, the more valuable your relationship becomes with them, and that’s really the basis for having success with UC. You can’t just leave it for them to discover and adopt. If they see IT coming to them with new ideas, this adds value and increases your ability to influence their behavior.
Of course this is harder to do when no money is changing hands, but consider the following example as a way to think like an innovator when rolling out UC. A core subscriber need is to understand what they’re buying – or in this case, using. Their concept of value is directly related to this, regardless of whether they’re paying or not. Value certainly is based on price, but also utility. By thinking of end users as subscribers, you need to focus first on educating them about UC. You also need to educate them as end users, but that really doesn’t tell you about their needs. When viewed as subscribers, it becomes much easier to identify their pain points, and it’s very much in your interest to do so.
The term “subscriber” implies they have made a choice, whereas an end user is simply a passive consumer of IT’s services. You’ll never be able to innovate until you think along these lines. By thinking about the need to educate them about UC, you have a clear task at hand that benefits both parties. If you do a good job here, they will adopt UC faster, more completely and with better results. Not only does that make life easier for IT, but bolsters your rationale for going with UC in the first place. You simply can’t get that outcome by thinking about this audience as end users.
Your ability to innovate here really lies in how you address these needs. If you choose conventional paths such as an online tutorial, a user forum or lunch and learn sessions, the results can be effective, but not really distinctive. I wouldn’t steer you away from these, but you could also layer in approaches that use the very tools found within a UC solution, such as:
- Live video tutorials that include file sharing and screen sharing
- Mobile apps to show them how to UC-enable their smart devices
- Create a UC knowledge center based on internal lessons learned and external best practices, and make it searchable with either text or voice
- Develop an internal, company-branded app store where employees can learn how to customize and personalize their UC environment
These are just a few ways you can educate with a twist, and I’ll leave the rest for you to take to the next level. The key to innovating lies in understanding the needs of your audience, and then delivering solutions that speak their language. You can’t do that by thinking of them as end users, so switch up your focus and find a more meaningful way for them to see value in UC.