PCMAN – More than often, business products offer a desirable promise of returns on investment (ROI) without maximizing its services, thus resulting in unsatisfied customers. Employees are hesitant to use a particular product when the quality doesn’t meet expectations, or when they are lacking of information on ways to operate the product.
Having its stable version released just recently, Skype for Business still has a long way to go to provide a satisfying experience for its users. Being a new product, it would be useful for organizations to receive assistance for deploying Skype for Business successfully. And being a product for communications—an important asset to a company—has set the bar even higher and more critical.
Based on various researches, a typical successful deployment in both small and large projects would have each broken down into phases, with lessons learned from one phase, applied to the next. Depending on the particular goals and niches being addressed, the number of phases can vary from one company to the other. The most common pattern is the deployment is aligned to the critical areas of the project: considerations before one begins, installation, and sustainability within activity and normal usage.
Skype for Business can be broken down into five phases:
1. Scope. Desired business outcomes are critically important for companies to define because it will shape the business pathway along the journey. Based on what Skype offers, you may already been informed about its benefits, strengths and weaknesses towards your company. Another list of things to consider are: Which business scenarios will most benefit from Skype for Business; Which specific groups, sites, or regions would benefit from early access to Skype for Business; Which Skype for Business features will get your company deploy, and in which order; Will your company use Skype for Business for audio and Web conferencing, or video; and if you will connect Skype for Business to an existing UC/VoIP/PBX/room-based video conferencing systems.
These considerations will help you determine whether your business will benefit from Skype for Business or not.
2. Proof of Concept (PoC). Companies need to evaluate if they are ready to run Skype for Business by testing the network infrastructure. A few considerations are: Does your company have the tools and resources to set up a new environment; Is the test environment scalable to test larger or more complex deployments; what are the success criteria for the PoC; and how these criteria will be expanded for the pilot and subsequent roll-out phases.
3. Pilot. Companies need to validate Skype for Business, resources, and rollout plans with the users to anticipate broad rollout. Remember to have clients loaded on actual desktops, users ready for testing phase, and put in place a system for iterative feedback surveys.
4. Enterprise Rollout. An important question to start with: Is the rollout plan scalable for an enterprise-wide implementation? By learning and applying lessons from the pilot phase, it will prepare your business to launch Skype for Business across initial locations, departments and user groups.
5. Run State. This is the phase to focus on user experience to drive business consumption. Companies should be able to properly train the users, and provide tools and solutions when problems arise. By doing this, you will complete the five phases of successfully utilizing Skype for Business.