Nowadays many companies shift from a traditional PBX telephone system to Skype for Business. It’s time to say goodbye to desk phones and take workplace collaboration to the next level. But as with any software acquisitions, there are a few factors that have to be taken into account when implementing Skype for Business. The transition is quite extensive, impacting both your IT department as the entire organization. Only when implementation is carefully thought out and planned, Skype for Business will prove its worth. A Skype for Business consultant can help you do just that. In this blog, I will tell you more about the areas of concern when implementing Skype for Business and the role of the Skype for Business consultant.
Scope of the project
When you have made the decision to implement Skype for Business within your organization, thorough assessment and planning are crucial. How will the transition impact your business? Which business scenarios will benefit most from Skype for Business? Which Skype for Business features will your organization deploy? Think about the desired business outcomes, what are your needs? A Skype for Business consultant will help you to define the scope of the project and to understand the ‘why’ and ‘what’ you are trying to achieve. This could be anything from boosting work efficiency to improving customer experience.
Next, you will need to assess the technical requirements of Skype for Business implementation. Think about the software, hardware and bandwidth you need to ensure smooth operation. Make sure to consider interoperability, as Skype for Business should work seamlessly within your existing IT infrastructure. It’s also important to look beyond the current situation. Things move quickly so you will want to build a ‘future-proof’ IT infrastructure. The rise of the cloud is a good example. You need to consider what your cloud collaboration setup will look like four or five years down the road and if you ultimately want an on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid infrastructure. A Skype for Business consultant can map your IT infrastructure and help you make the right decisions.
The testing phase
A pilot will be necessary to evaluate whether your company is ready to deploy Skype for Business. Think about the tools and resources needed to set up a test environment. Determine if the test environment is scalable to test larger or more complex deployments. When you have completed the success criteria, you can start making a rollout plan. Involve some users in the testing phase in preparation for broad roll-out, by loading the software on their actual desktops. Your Skype for Business consultant will walk around and talk to your users to solve any issues. After the pilot phase, ask the users for feedback on how to improve the implementation of Skype for Business.
Focus on end user training and adoption
Last but not least, it is time to put the secret ingredient into the implementation success formula. End-user training and adoption should be top priority in your project. Users will set their opinion on Skype for Business in the first days of usage. Be sure to win their hearts, or your investment will go up in smoke. For example, if you replace desk phones with headsets, users should know how to use them. And while the Skype interface is familiar to a lot of users, you still need to provide them with sufficient training and resources. As with any implementation, there will probably arise some problems, the key is to quickly pinpoint and resolve them. A Skype for Business consultant can help you draft an internal promotion campaign to boost adoption. They can also support you in composing a training program and provide you with training and resources. For example, floor walking is a great way to increase awareness and user experience in the first days of the launch.
Keep up with developments
Microsoft is continuously developing its products. New updates and functionalities follow each other at a rapid pace. A couple of years ago, Skype for Business evolved from Lync and before you know it, Microsoft might introduce a whole new collaboration platform. For your organization this means you need to keep up with developments. New functionalities have to be implemented and users need to be trained in using them efficiently. Your Skype for Business consultant makes sure you keep up with developments and use the platform to its full potential.
Time to implement Skype for Business
As you can see, there are many factors influencing successful implementation of Skype for Business. There are some crucial steps you need to take in order to get the most out of Skype for Business in terms of collaboration and work efficiency. As a Skype for Business consultant we can help you to plan and execute implementation effectively and carefully. If you would like to learn more about the implementation of a new collaboration tool in your business, download our the whitepaper ‘mind the gap, focus on the user’ or contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.