Embarking on the Unified Communications Journey (Part 2)


January 26, 2016

In part one of this four-part series on the UC journey, we looked at the Planning Stage, which includes creating a vision, ensuring ROI, and eliminating extraneous expenses.  Today, we look at The Deploy Stage—when your new UC system is actually being rolled out.

During the deployment stage, you want to make sure your team is on the right track, everything’s aligned with corporate goals, and all your people and technologies are working well together. The problem is the organization often spends so much time on the planning stage, by the time they’re ready to pull the trigger, they rush through the deployment stage. This is a good way to bring a project in over time and over budget. To ensure your deployment is a successful one, it’s essential that you:

Conduct a Proper Pilot: 

As with any large scale deployment that often ties together pre-existing PBX, collaboration, and other legacy systems, tools and equipment, it’s important to take the time to run a proper pilot to determine how all your components will tie together and impact end users. Be sure to outline all success criteria, involve workers from different areas of the business (so as to incorporate all use cases), and allow time for proper feedback to flow from the pilot and be fed into the final configuration.

Conduct Proper Training:

Once you turn on your system, it’s important to remember that your technology won’t work without your people. Establishing an effective training program ensures your Skype for Business vision is firmly aligned with actual usage across the organization.

Properly Plan around Change Control:

Not aligning technical dependencies to the change management process can bring a deployment to its knees if you don’t plan around change control. During the process you might need to add firewall rules, make internal/external DNS changes, extend your Active Directory, or make network layer modifications. If you have to put a change in control at the last minute, it can delay your project for weeks, even months.

Consider Your End Point Devices:

Just as you wouldn’t put cheap tires on a Bentley, you don’t want to skimp when it comes to your end point devices. Consider your office environment. Is it loud? Are noise cancelling headsets needed? Every work environment has its own specific case with its own user needs. For a deployment to work, these needs must be considered to ensure proper end point device selection, and then you need to make sure you’ve worked out the proper timing of distribution and training for each device.

Other deployment must-haves include:

  • Proper business sponsorship: If this is a global deployment, are all your geographies on board?
  • Project management that understands timing of component rollouts: When and how will you distribute client software to the desktop?
  • Preparing your network: Can it handle real-time media traffic?

But perhaps most of all, you need to evangelize. It’s important to remember that while the organization may “know” why this critical change is being made, many of its people may not. This is a time to make sure all employees understand the value the new system brings not only to the enterprise, but to their own professional success.


Next: The Run Stage

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