When Deploying UC:

The Best Way to Develop a Device Strategy

When Deploying UC, What’s the Best Way to Develop a Device Strategy?

  • 29 April 2020
  • 7.5 minutes to read

Given the importance of future-proofing your workplace to secure a spot in the 21st century marketplace, it comes as no surprise that the demand to keep up with technological enhancements has continued to grow. Today’s employees have high expectations for being connected at work – voice alone will not suffice. They want messaging, video, creative conferencing options, flexibility, and of course, mobility.

As a result, the software and hardware purchases that enable communications and collaboration should not be left as an afterthought. When defining requirements for the modern workforce, start with the technology that your employees prefer to use and build toward reaching those capabilities. Look to the needs of your employees as a starting point and build out your media hubs so they have flexible options that allow them to do their best work. Greater flexibility will allow users to stay productive no matter the manner in which they prefer to get their work done. At the end of the day, it’s crucial that your strategy starts with your user’s needs so that it doesn’t become an afterthought.

This is where employee personas come in. Personas are semi-fictional characters created – using data and other research – to represent different groups of employees with similar characteristics, behaviors, and user experiences. Everyone works differently, and your endpoint strategy needs to encompass every persona your organization has. This is why it is important to develop a plan that will satisfy the needs of everyone in your modern workforce, and grow as your company becomes even more digitally mature. Here is how to plan your technology around all the new ways people communicate and collaborate in today’s connected world.

Know Your Tools

Despite their age, voice and email communications are still quite popular. However, new technology has broadened the endpoint options to the point that today’s office and meeting spaces look and act nothing like what we knew ten, or even five years ago.

5G is ushering in a new world of connectivity and mobility. This doesn’t just enable a mobile workforce, it enables immersive interactions with the latest technology like video conferencing, as well as VR and AR. Enterprises are still on the cusp of adopting virtual reality and augmented reality but it will not be long before these technologies are considered fundamental to work and meetings.

Let’s step back for a moment and consider the tools that are already in widespread enterprise use:

  • Multi-Media Phones: According to Gartner, only a quarter of meetings will take place in person by 2024. Instead, dispersed workforces will use video technology to hold meetings, which frees up valuable resources, saving time and money. Employee-to-employee conversations, B2B, and customer conversations are all enhanced by multi-media phones that allow everyone to choose the medium that is best for them in any given situation. Multi-media endpoints can handle everything from instant messaging to voice calls to video conferencing.
  • ATA Adapters: If you work in an enterprise environment, you know the IP phone. They leverage VoIP technology to allow cost-effective global calling at scale. Any phone can be converted from analog to digital via an ATA adapter, which means digital transformation can take place even when it is not yet time to replace legacy phone systems.
  • Conference Phones: These are IP endpoints that connect multiple parties who dial into the conversation. Some are capable of multi-media communications, with video streaming and content-sharing in real time.
  • Wi-Fi Phones: Outfitting the mobile worker with appropriate endpoints is driving evolution faster than any other factor. Wireless phones enable open-plan offices where employees do not want to be tethered to a single spot for their communications. Wireless communications can take place with Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) which are more reliable and secure and perform better than Wi-Fi phones. Wi-Fi phones, on the other hand, are cost-effective and the technology is highly scalable.
  • Headsets: Headsets are IP endpoints, too, and come with features like wireless capability, noise cancellation, ability to mute, and availability lights to let others know an employee is on a call. When choosing headsets, look for those that can connect to your UC platform.
  • Room Systems – Conference Rooms and Huddle Rooms: Conference and huddle room systems have become an integral tool in any UC strategy. Huddle rooms are small rooms designed to hold about three to six people and are equipped with the necessary teleconferencing technologies. Conference rooms are designed to hold a larger group of people and will also have the proper communication technologies. These rooms allow team members to connect and collaborate no matter if they’re sitting right next to each other, or halfway around the globe.

Know Your Users

Knowing what your users need now is one way to create an informed device strategy. But how about what they will want or need in two years? To build a device strategy that will truly serve your users now but also grow with them, you will need to know what they will need in the future. Again, this is why building out employee personas is an important part of this process. By getting a more granular understanding of one type of user, you can predict what that one type of user may be doing in a few years. This is why we encourage organizations to build an endpoint strategy around their team’s work styles and needs, and not just what is on trend in the technology world.

Find out how they best do their jobs, where their personal pain points lie, what their aspirations entail, and where the future of their work will take them. After all, what works for one user won’t always work for another. By truly listening to the different personalities at your organization, you will better understand what elements are crucial to include. Then, you will have a vision that informs your device purchasing decisions – in other words, a working device strategy that works for your enterprise.

Know Your Platforms

Once upon a time, devices were considered accessories that had little bearing on whether a project succeeded or failed, or whether teams were productive and efficient. But today, effective communication is far more integral to businesses. Enterprises who do not devote time and resources to careful endpoint selection and management are impairing their own ability to compete in the digital age. One of the most basic steps to take is understanding how devices are affected by the platforms you use in your enterprise.

Whether you use Microsoft, IBM, or another provider, each platform impacts devices in different ways. Here at SoftwareONE, for instance, we understand that a full UC transformation entails the right people, technology, and overall process. When it comes to Microsoft 365, we’ve developed our 365Simple offering to ensure you a) understand how to use the platform to its fullest and b) you’re supported every step of the way.

Some of your preferred devices may be perfectly compatible, while others may be less functional on certain platforms. If users don’t understand endpoint compatibility, they may select a default communication device that provides limited functionality, ultimately harming their efficiency. Therefore, it is important to understand how your endpoints fit into your overall UC strategy and the way it is configured.

Final Thoughts

Your device strategy should not stand alone. Ideally, it is part of a solid Unified Communications plan that can grow with the modern workforce, helping users connect with other enterprise users and their partners, vendors, customers, and clients. With the right device strategy, every user can enjoy increased productivity and more effective communications, while adding value to the enterprise as a whole.

Ready to Start Building Your Device Strategy?

We are here to support your organization’s UC strategy. Discover how the right Unified Communications solution can increase productivity, improve communications, and save you money - all built on your terms.

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  • Unified Communications, User Productivity, Future Workplace, Remote Workplace Solutions
  • Strategy, 365Simple, Microsoft 365

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