This is a guest post written by Thomas V. Pind who is CEO of Futurecom Business Solutions, a Plantronics Strategic Consulting partner, specialized in helping customers improve communication and collaboration.

We see a lot of great successes, where companies save money and get significant value from Unified Communications solutions. It is with good reason. Unified Communications is a unique communication tool with great potential for both large and small organizations. I do, however see many companies, which have found that their investment in UC did not have the expected impact. From my experience there are 7 common reasons UC adoption typical fails, which is illustrated in the figure below.


1. Wrong Communications
Quite often the communication is sent from the IT department and is very technical, e.g. “New version of Microsoft OCS deployed”. If the users do not know they have a need for the solution, the e-mail will drown in the huge amount of other e-mails and the overload of other communication.
-> Write in a language that interest the end user – start with why they get new possibilities

2. Not looking from the users perspective
When the communication and training is technical it does not look at it from the user perspective, but from a function and feature perspectives.
-> Focus on what the users get out of the new possibilities throughout the communication, motivation and education, e.g. better communication, more flexibility, etc.

3. One size does not fit all
It is quite obvious, that different users have different needs. This means that the different users will have different benefits from the UC solutions, e.g. sales can benefit from online meetings with clients and R&D can benefit from easier connecting team members located in other buildings or countries.
-> Differentiate communication, motivation and training for different user groups.

4. Bad timing
Why is it most IT projects stop when the solution is put into production? If you want to change the user habits and you want them to adapt new ways of working it is an ongoing process.
-> Make a plan for the organizational implementation that continues after the solution has been put into production.

5. Invisible management
We all know that management support is very important for organizational changes. Effective adoption of UC is about smarter working and requires an organizational change. It is important that the management gets involved. It is not an IT project.
-> Involve management. Both as users of UC, but also motivators and the ones that need to follow up on the adoption.

6. No focus on the vision
Very often I find that UC implementations are run as a technical IT project with no focus on the vision. No one has considered why the company is doing this, and how this project fits with the business strategy.
-> Identify how the UC implementation and smarter working aligns with the business strategy, and make an organizational implementation plan that focuses on this.

7. Bad first time experience
We all know that a good first time experience is important to create a positive impression and motivation, and that a bad first time experience can be really damaging for the motivation. What is often overlooked is that the first time experience is not only depending on the technical solution. The first time experience also depends very much on the user attitude and perceptions.
-> If you have avoided the above mistakes and made an effective communication, motivation and education you user has a much better chance of a good first time experience.