Dimension Data > Collaboration > If you build it, will they come? User adoption of video communications

If you build it, will they come? User adoption of video communications

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Craig Levieux | General Manager, Converged Communications | Dimension Data

Every day, we speak to companies that feel disillusioned with the outcomes of their unified communications projects. And while they sometimes cite reasons like unrealistic ROI at the onset or a lack of integration with other technologies, one reason comes up more often than any other: a lack of adoption by users.

And this seems to be the case everywhere. A survey* of 1,000 IT decision makers across the U.S. found that while 70% of companies had deployed video conferencing, only 41% actually use it. These organisations have spent massive amounts of money on video, but are not seeing the potential cost savings and ROI.

Unified communications technologies are different to those in other parts of the infrastructure. Whether its video, telephony or collaboration, they directly touch the user and must be adopted and used to be of value. In the same survey, we saw that 51% of the organisations interviewed had no plan to drive adoption within their end users.

Assuming that if you build it, they will come is likely to end in disappointment.

Unless the technologies are easy to use and the end user is taught how to make the most of them, we’re unlikely to see the benefits they offer. A change management programme is key to driving adoption as cultural issue may also be at play.

In addition to user awareness and education, measurement is key. Typically, we measure network performance, bandwidth, server availability and more, but we hardly ever measure adoption or user experience. And while the user is not exposed to many IT technologies, this is where the rubber hits the road with unified communications. Without an understanding of utilisation, user experience and satisfaction, ROI measurement becomes impossible.

So where to start?

  1. Segment your users and understand which technologies would deliver the best value to each audience. Don’t make it available if they inherently won’t need it or use it.
  2. Drive user training as part of the deployment. Ensure super-users like personal assistants  and knowledge workers know how to use the tools from the onset.
  3. Get senior management on board at the outset – where they lead, others will follow. Identify champions to help you drive excitement and enthusiasm around the water cooler.
  4. Get your organisation’s marketing/internal communications or human resources team involved to drive awareness and measurement programmes.
  5. If they start using it, make sure they continue. If the infrastructure isn’t maintained and available at all times, the enthusiasm will wane quickly.

To learn more about driving usage and adoption within your organisations, email me at craig.levieux@dimensiondata.com.

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* Survey Details
Some of the key findings from the survey – which included companies from industry verticals such as education, healthcare, financial services and manufacturing – included:

* 72% of respondents reported using IM tools regularly (19% of which are not corporate sanctioned), yet 34% admitted their IM is not integrated with other communications systems- revealing a large untapped opportunity for UC.

* 89% of organizations have employees that work remotely; however, 74% of video is room-based, leaving the distributed workforce needing collaboration tools the most without access to important UC tools.

* Although nearly 70% of organizations have video conferencing abilities, 70% of business leaders still travel at least 1-2 times per month and nearly 25% travel as much as 3-5 times per week. Through the use of video, a reduction in travel of just 10% could have a significant impact on the bottom linefor these organizations.

* 51% of survey respondents had no roadmap or strategic plan for video adoption, revealing that it is still in the early adoption phase.