Sold on UCaaS? Now sell it to your staff

More enterprises are buying into cloud for UC, according to a survey from Nemertes Research. But if you don’t sell it to staff, workers won’t get enough training on the technology, they won’t use it and you’ll end up with weak ROI numbers at your next IT budget review.

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It looks like enterprise organizations are finally sold on UCaaS.

Now all they have to do is sell it to their own staff.

Let me explain. Or more correctly, let’s get Nemertes Research president Robin Gareiss to explain. As she detailed in a recent No Jitter webcast, her survey data shows that all categories of UC — IP telephony, email, calendar, web conferencing, video conferencing and instant messaging — are increasingly moving to the cloud.

Why are enterprises buying into cloud for UC after some years of hesitation?

She suggested they might be motivated by a lopsided equation: IT faces escalating demands from business units on one side while grappling with fewer resources to handle them on the other.

“You’re expected to do more with the same or in some cases even, with less. So good reason to partner with a cloud provider,” Gareiss said.

One of the key resources IT sorely lacks is talent. The problem is definitely quantitative; only 21 per cent of the surveyed enterprises are increasing their internal IT staff.

Yet there’s also a qualitative deficit of IT talent. Over half (51.5 per cent) of enterprises feel it’s a challenge to find “the right IT people.” In addition, almost 93 per cent say their organization “needs different skill sets,” specifically to manage relationships with IT vendors.

So IT doesn’t just need more people, it needs more people with a new skill set that leans toward business acumen rather than technical knowledge. When asked which traits they look for in new IT hires, the organizations listed “understands our business, understands contracts and understands the regulatory environment” as their top three.

“The legacy IT person always had technology expertise. Now we want them to have technology and business expertise,” said Gareiss. “We can’t find the right people so let’s move to a (cloud) partner and offload some of this (IT) stuff.”

So perhaps your organization, like those in the survey, has indeed made the move to UCaaS, motivated partly by dwindling resources and trouble hiring the appropriate IT skill set. Mission accomplished, right? Not so fast.

Now that your organization has bought into UCaaS, you’ve got to sell it to staff throughout your company, Gareiss said. If you don’t, she warned, workers won’t get enough training on the technology, they won’t use it and you’ll end up with weak ROI numbers at your next IT budget review.

“When we were in a mostly on-prem world, you would get your budget approved and do your implementation and move on. Nobody ever went back and checked whether your ROI was right, whether you saved the money you (thought you) were going to save. So if only 20 per cent of the people were using the UCaaS applications you were running, so be it and on to the next thing,” she said.

“But as we move to the cloud, one of the big things to keep in mind is that your costs now become operational (vs. capex) and are reviewed every year. So we really encourage people to focus on letting (staff) know what’s out there and training their employees.”

She called this “internal IT marketing” and presented more data from the survey to prove it can work. Organizations that internally market IT are 59 per cent more successful at raising awareness about new IT initiatives among employees.

If you figure you can just send out an email or intranet blast and leave it at that, think again. The study showed company newsletters, digital billboard displays and lunch and learn info sessions are the most effective methods of internal IT marketing.

Acquiring new IT is a big investment. Failing to really sell it to your staff could cost you even more.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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