For many businesses, utilising Skype for Business for its video conferencing capacity can have a multitude of benefits. However, ensuring a smooth adoption of the platform and its features is imperative if it is to become an effective tool. We’ve decided to look into how Skype for Business can be adopted as part of existing workflows and its integration with the Videocall ICE platform.
We have previously discussed the reasons why Skype for Business has become a corporate powerhouse, and its effect on both the workplace and the worker of 2016. Once all the benefits have been discussed and the decision has been made to integrate Skype for Business, a concise adoption strategy should support a smooth implementation.
How is a successful adoption encouraged? By ensuring awareness and readiness throughout your organisation. Whilst we have previously mentioned how the Skype for Business infrastructure speaks to a younger demographic of workers, it is still important to ensure that every level of an enterprise has the tools and resources at hand to feel confident about its execution.
Awareness and Readiness
One of the reasons you may have decided to use Skype for Business is the simplicity of its use and the way it can encourage video and instant chat collaboration, leading to quicker decisions and more meaningful workplace conversations. Businesses do not need to wait until they have their new platform installed for that to happen.
As with any technology deployment, the best way to combat the potential pitfalls is to ensure that all members of staff are both aware of a new installation, and ready to learn how it is aligned with existing workflows. It may be that certain members of staff are likely to use the new platform more often than others, but that should not mean they receive more training. One of the keys to creating a culture of collaboration is making sure every person is on the same page.
This way, the company as a whole has an understanding of how their colleagues’ workflows may change, which in itself breeds empathy and consideration of how these changes could affect productivity. Furthermore, implementation of new technology or platforms must inspire confidence, something that is more likely with a unified deployment that everyone expects. This should start from manager level and work downwards; the upper echelons should be able to offer members of staff a range of reasons why they have chosen Skype for Business and how they expect it to be used in the day to day operations of the business.
Preparation is Critical
How can you prepare staff for a new platform? A note on the intranet homepage is not enough to safeguard against confusion. A rollout plan is a large part of how successful an adoption truly is; asking someone to either redefine or adapt their workflow is a large task, so giving everyone the most detailed information possible is extremely important.
- Define a communications plan – it is important to have a clearly defined communications plan informing everyone of the migration. Both yourself and your staff must understand what Skype for Business does and how it is expected to be used by employees. Whether intended for just internal collaboration or as a part of a larger strategy including client or supplier meetings, it is crucial that its features and limitations are well publicised throughout the organisation to avoid misuse.
- Create templates to inform staff of the change – Another way to create awareness is via an internal email campaign which details the date of the changeover, any expected issues that may arise, and a main point of contact for queries. Without adequate warning, employees may struggle to notice the change and be able to adapt their workflows to suit this new form of communication.
- Make an archive of trainings resources and videos – Amassing a library of training resources is an excellent way of ensuring all employees have a port of call should there be any confusion. A glossary of terms, definition of symbols or icons and a reference guide are just a few things that could be included for quicker adoption, as well as helping new starters get to grips with potentially unfamiliar infrastructure.
After a communications plan has been decided and the date and time of the proposed rollout has been confirmed, it is time to work with individuals to better understand their job roles and how Skype for Business can help to enhance them.
Understanding Your Organisation
A successful adoption is not just the responsibility of the employees making the change; it comes from an extensive understanding of a whole organisation and the ways in which each department may need to use the new platform. Each department should be assessed so the potential impact of Skype for Business is taken into consideration. It would be wise to interview representatives of each department or business function to better define what the barriers to enhanced productivity may be.
Generating excitement around a new deployment can also have significant benefits towards adoption. People may be afraid of change in general, and asking employees to adapt some of their ways of working could be met with combative attitudes. Therefore, explaining the benefits clearly and passionately will help encourage excitement rather than fear or annoyance. For example, utilising Skype for Business for quick communication will lead to fewer emails; this is a marked benefit for many members of staff who would consider less than adequate email correspondence a barrier to their productivity. Moreover, having an instant messaging and multi-endpoint video conferencing solution will enable employees to collaborate immediately, helping information to be exchanged and questions to be answered far more quickly.
Skype for Business and VaaS Adoption
Skype for Business is a versatile medium. Being able to be used on desktop PCs, laptops and smartphones via an app is one of the reasons why widespread Skype for Business adoption is occurring all the time.
Organisations are becoming more aware of a new style of workplace and employee, and have therefore started to consider different ways of collaboration. With video conferences becoming easier to arrive in, and interoperability with multiple endpoints, it is absolutely critical that Skype for Business runs on a platform that enhances its features as opposed to detracting from them.
Videocall’s ICE platform is the answer to this problem, insofar as it bridges the gap between devices. As a VaaS (video as a service) solution, ICE works alongside Skype for Business to provide optimum hosting for all functions it offers as a collaborative platform. Employees can still work on a BYOD basis through their individually-specific VMR (virtual meeting room) which connects them via Skype for Business to the ICE platform; they can therefore enjoy the same usability and functionality they are used to in the office. The option for some employees of working from home or defining flexible hours can be a huge draw towards successful adoption, as employees can perhaps begin to enjoy more positive work/life balance without losing the personal connection they have with the business when working at its bricks and mortar location.
It may be the case that all technology upgrades, whether they are as recognisable as Skype for Business or brand new, will be met with some confusion and difficulty. A successful adoption should therefore be measured by the contingency plans put in place to combat these potential pitfalls, as well as the willingness for staff members to assimilate themselves with an adapted, and enhanced, workflow.