I began this blog series by detailing the need for a thorough assessment of networks, stakeholder use cases, existing infrastructure, IT strategy, management goals, and other critical factors as the necessary first step in launching any deployment. An enterprise’s ability to define the problem is a daunting hurdle that can make collaboration challenging.

UC&C can deliver business value, but only with a clearly defined implementation roadmap that identifies the primary considerations for achieving optimal UC&C productivity. This post examines the elemental foundation of mapping your UC platform to use cases, and defining the right type of collaboration solution for your business – critical subject matter contained in Yorktel’s upcoming whitepaper, “From Assessment to Deployment: Best Practices for Enterprise UC&C Productivity,” which will be released on October 5. (To request an advance copy, please sign up here).

There is a wide range of offerings, and to choose properly, you need to work backwards from the use cases across your business. Collaboration requirements are not generic and will depend on variables such as the nature of the tasks, what applications employees will need, where employees will typically be when collaborating, the types of endpoints they’ll be using, how much communication with external parties will be needed, etc.

These elements will determine what to look for in a deployment. If not addressed during this stage of the assessment, you risk selecting a solution that does not properly support your organization’s needs. For collaboration to be effective, the process must be intuitive and feel natural. If use cases are only considered after the fact, employees will end up having to adapt their collaboration efforts to what the UC solution actually supports, which may ultimately have a negative impact on their ability to effortlessly connect, or worse, their productivity.

Lastly, usability must live up to promise of this new technology; you need to consider how comfortable employees will be working with collaboration applications on a regular basis . A positive user experience is critical for adoption, and ease-of-must be a predominant factor. It is essential to choose a vendor partner that offers comprehensive, ongoing end-user training and support to address an inevitable resistance to change.

In summary, UC has tremendous potential to enable great collaboration experiences, but only if properly aligned with the use cases specific to your business. The UC solution must adapt to your needs rather than the other way around, and the best way to initiate this process is to define your use cases before engaging with any vendor.

In my next post, we will delve deeper into specific training and support models, technical considerations, as well as factors for partner selection. Businesses that take the time to assess current UC&C investments, identify gaps in performance, and work with a UC&C expert to bridge the gap will significantly increase their chances of realizing the full potential of their deployment.

* I will be discussing this subject matter next month at ITEXPO 2015 in Anaheim. Two sessions on October 5 in which I will participate are: ‘Telepresence Options’ (1:00 PM); and ‘How to Make Your UC Investment Pay Off’ (3:00 PM).