Following my last post – and the broader themes in previous posts leading up to that – how do you get end users to see IT in the most favorable light, especially when it comes to deploying UC? By this point, you should have a pretty good idea about what not to say, as well as the need for end users to understand things on two levels – what UC is/is not, and IT’s role in making UC valuable to them. In this post, I’m going to focus on the latter, with two distinct examples.
Need to know #1: IT needs end user support for UC
This can be tricky territory, much like a parent telling a child how much they need them. There is a lot at stake here, and IT must strike a balance between being strong but not vulnerable. While this is very much about your relationship with end users, it’s also about the technology. If end users don’t get the sense that IT understands the technical underpinnings of UC, they may not want to use it, and this would diminish its perceived value.
Conversely, they need to see that UC isn’t just about making IT’s job easier – it’s about making their work environment better. To do this, however, end user support is needed. IT may know that UC is a work in progress, but chances are that end users don’t know that. They’re more likely to view UC as fully formed, just as they would with a new phone system – otherwise, why bring it to market? Fair enough, but so long as they can get some utility out of UC right away this shouldn’t be an issue.
As such, you don’t want them to think of UC as being half-baked. The features they get today are fully baked, but the range of valuable add-ons is almost endless – and that in itself is a key aspect of UC’s value. In that regard, they need them to know that the UC you give today is perfectly good, but the broader communications landscape is constantly evolving, and UC will evolve alongside it. This means that you’re on the UC journey together, and to get full value, you need their input.
Need to know #2: UC is good for both of you
Building on this idea, end users need to understand there’s a mutual benefit with UC. You are not the seller and they are not the buyer. UC is an enabling platform for each person to apply in the manner that best works for them. IT is fairly agnostic about which modes they use, and management isn’t evaluating them on how they use these applications. All that really matters is the overall result and desired impact on productivity. Each employee will likely find just the right mix that works best for them.
Looking at things from their perspective, you want them to hear this message and understand that UC isn’t just for your benefit. There is certainly no harm in explaining how UC is good for IT and how well it aligns with management’s needs to keep costs down and improve business processes. However, they need to understand this is only half the story, and their half is just as important. This may be very different from the past where legacy technology was simply foisted on everyone without any consultation or engagement, and if that’s part of your company’s DNA, UC presents a great opportunity to move on and get end users on the same page with IT.
Do these ideas sound familiar? Hopefully, the notion of getting end users to better understand IT is resonating as part of the UC deployment process, and I’ll continue this thread with a few more need-to-knows in my next post.