4 tips for a trouble-free unified communications deployment

  • Bringing communications modes into a single cohesive environment must be flawless.

  • If your subsystems aren't compatible, consider a vendor and product line that offers a cohesive systems approach.

  • The vendors and components you choose determine the configuration and connectivity required for successful implementation.

The path to unified communications (UC) and collaboration is a journey through the typical networking life cycle. The difference is that bringing all the most important communications modes into a single cohesive environment must be absolutely flawless.

The stakes are high because failure could interrupt operations, but success means higher efficiency and overall cost savings. To get those benefits, you need to assess and plan these four areas for a trouble-free UC implementation.

1. Assessment and planning. Because unified communications means incorporating all of your messaging systems, the assessment phase must be comprehensive in its scope. Some of your existing messaging systems will lend themselves to convergence but you might have to update or replace others. Investigate the specifics of each platform and evaluate each vendor’s existing and planned product road maps. This first pass should result in a high-level list of which systems will be part of the final configuration.

2. Procurement and configuration. Evaluate your list of vendors and systems that are compatible with your plans, and work with those vendors to establish a configuration that matches your overall goals. If your existing subsystems aren’t compatible with each other, consider finding a new vendor and product line that offers a cohesive systems approach.

3. Installation and testing. Determine what components to implement, connect, and replace, then begin the process of installing and configuring each. Your choice of vendors and components makes the difference in how much configuration and connectivity tuning needs to be done to make the initial implementation successful. But once each component is installed and operational, you must fine-tune it to deliver on the promise of unified communications.

4. Ongoing support. Users are likely to need guidance on getting the most benefit from the new configurations. Be sure the vendors you choose can support your needs in this area so you can deliver the best experience.

Remember that users often are ahead of the enterprise in terms of knowing about new communications developments and ways to make the connections they need to advance business goals. It behooves IT to get buy-in from users and tap their knowledge to get the best outcomes.

IT needs to be able to rely on vendors to help guide the conversations about available technology options and how to incorporate them into the new unified communications environment. Tight coordination between systems is the hallmark of successful unified communications systems but user acceptance is the mark of success.

Read more about AT&T Unified Communications Solutions.

Scott Koegler is an independent business writer and the author of this blog. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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