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Is UC training necessary for end-user adoption?

If UC is supposed to be intuitive, why do users need training? UC analyst Blair Pleasant explains best practices to follow and why UC training is necessary for any deployment.

Because unified communications can be seen as an intuitive experience, many organizations might feel it is not necessary to train employees adequately. But organizations that make this mistake won't see successful adoption of a UC system's tools by end users.

While some UC capabilities may not require training, users can become inundated by the range of features available to them. As a result, they may only use the capabilities they understand and ignore the rest, said UC analyst Blair Pleasant at the Enterprise Connect panel "How to drive end-user adoption of UC."

Pleasant discussed a study she conducted several years ago on the impact of unified communications training. She found that after training was implemented, use of federation increased 200% and use of collaboration increased 250%.

"Even though people can start using a UC system right away without training, having that training really does help improve the usage of the UC system and gets people really to understand what they're doing and why they're doing it," Pleasant said.

Pleasant offered some best practices to follow when training users on a new UC system:

  • Don't do everything at once. Pleasant said users will focus on the capabilities they most frequently use and forget about a system's more enhanced capabilities. Organizations should first focus on basic training of the core capabilities that employees should know. Then, every few weeks, follow up with training like a webinar or a brown bag lunch. This follow-up will give users a chance to review previous UC training and learn new things.
  • Create excitement. Users can be nervous about adopting a new technology. For training to be successful, they should be interested and want to learn how to use a new UC system. Pleasant said organizations have used gamification, posters and videos before the new system is deployed in order to build excitement.
  • Focus on the culture, not just technology. Many employees are hesitant to change the way they work. Pleasant said training is more effective when users understand why an organization is making a push for improved collaboration or mobility. Explain the value that the new unified communications system brings to the organization and what goals are trying to be achieved. Help employees understand how the UC system will help them do their jobs better and improve the bottom line.

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