Real-World Unified Communications: Beware of College Hoops and Other Tips

Rollouts are full of surprises. Smart organizations do what they can to anticipate what will work in the real world and what won’t. That process starts with paying attention to case studies and other words of wisdom from those who have gone through the process. The key is to not reinvent the wheel.At some point, the theoretical gives way to the real, and organizations that have decided to take the unified communications plunge actually begin deploying services and rolling out equipment.

The old saying that the best battle plan doesn’t survive the first contact with the enemy is nowhere truer than with UC, which affects an organization’s technology, systems, processes and users in basic and fundamental ways.

Companies either considering UC or those committed to rollouts and nearing the starting line should read this post from Michael Browne, Sprint’s Director of IT Client Services. Browne offers some lessons from the company’s UC deployment.

Read the post to get the full flavor. We will offer one tidbit: Browne reports that the network slowed during the NCAA college basketball tournament because so many employees stream games in addition to doing their work.

Beyond that, Browne mentions the ample challenges on both the technical and human levels. All seem to have been predictable — indeed, Sprint probably knew they were going to occur, and the sense from the post is that each situation was handled as it came up.

Companies on the cusp of a rollout should take advantage of the experience of those who have gone through the process – other firms as well as Sprint – to avoid reinventing the wheel.

Case studies are available on the Web. Cisco and Microsoft are good places to start. This case study from CXOtoday also is interesting. The key is to study how organizations that are successful made the transition from conceptual planning to the rollouts, and to learn from those who struggled.

A complete recipe on how to do this can’t be garnered from the case studies, but a general sense of the challenges ahead – and the best way to approach what will be a large task – certainly is.

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