IOS vs Android, Windows vs OSX, Cisco vs Polycom; you could insert any two competing technologies or companies into a sentence and the chances are that in an office or pub somewhere, someone is having a debate about which is better and why. Marketing companies go into overdrive to advertise the features and functionality of product X, or other subjective testing takes place to validate why vendor or manufacturer Y is better than Z or vice versa.
Generally we seem to buy into this mentality, driven by features and functionality of gadgets and products for home, car or office; many get sucked into a series of perpetual upgrade cycles driven by brand loyalty and feature sheets. Its no wonder then, that when it comes to customers purchasing IT and especially unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technologies, that there is a constant fixation on features and functionality.
Don’t get me wrong, features and functionality are important, but they must be addressed in the correct manner. I have seen far too many times where technology, features and functions have been shoehorned into a solution for a company, had next to zero uptake or a protracted user adoption period, purely because someone believed that the more features and functions technology has, the better it must be. This cycle has to be broken to truly derive business benefits from a UCC solution.
What should I choose?
When talking to a customer, one should never start talking about technology before truly understanding what the customers goals and objectives are, or what business problem(s) or compelling event is driving the necessity for change. Technology can provide a solution to enable businesses to be more competitive, or more agile or more anything, but without the context of customer requirement and a solid business understanding, technology is simply that…..technology.
Look beyond the technology, get to understand the real drivers behind any required changes, don’t fall for the marketing hype or feature list. Investing in IT solutions is not like buying a phone or a computer for personal use. The decisions made at this level affect the ability of the company to execute against business plans, to empower and enable staff, to communicate with customers and partners, in essence all of these things to enable businesses to make money. Investing in solutions purely from a capability perspective will not necessarily reap the expected rewards or benefits.
Another major factor in the success of the solution is enabling ease of adoption within the user community, but that’s a discussion for another blog.
Both as a consumer and as a service provider, look at where the business is at right now, examine where you want to go in the future. Document the expectations of the business in everyday terms, i.e. “I want to grow market awareness of the business“, “I want to increase sales of x by a factor of y” or “I want to improve customer service”.
The basic business requirements in everyday speak can then be mapped to a technology stack or solution that enables those business drivers, it should always be done that way. Once the business drivers have been identified, how you might achieve those can be mapped out to a solution that enables the business to move to the target state. This is where Computacenter can help; not being aligned to any vendor, our desire is to help our customers achieve their goals. We have a dedicated UCC team with the ability to assist in creating roadmap services around not just UCC but all technology stacks. We can help turn those business goals into a solution that is the best fit for your company, but also with the realisation that moving towards those goals may required a number of steps; we are here to help you on that journey.