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Who are your "power users"?

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In a previous post, I talked about the importance of having your users in mind when designing your Unified Communications solution for your company. UC is a technology that touches everyone in a company and one of the few (if not the only one) with which users interact directly by themselves. It is therefore very important to make sure that you know the needs, expectations and behavior of your users towards communication solutions in order to guarantee the success of the deployment.

Now, as you can’t bring every single user’s opinion and feedback into your project team, who do you select to help you? Who are the so-called “power users” in your organization? And once you identified them, how do you incorporate their input into the project goals?

In this post, I’m going to try and share some recommendations based on what I’ve seen at customers. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive list and I’m sure I’m missing some of the groups that you at your company consider vital. If so, please do take a couple of minutes and comment.

Right, so, who are some power users you surely want to have on your side when attacking a UC deployment?

  • Executive Assistants: think of the volume of communications an exec admin needs to process daily. Think of the importance of those communications. And now think of her as the front-end, gateway and gatekeeper to your company executives that filters what’s important and what is less critical. And last, think how close they are to the sponsors of your project in terms of giving direct and very honest feedback about the solution deployed.
  • Executives: Even though these users might have assistants that handle their calls, messages, etc, they are still using your system and when they do, it better works. So reliability comes first but what comes second? Features. Make sure you know what’s the killer application/feature they want and then make sure you enable it to them first. They meet a lot of people (and important people) throughout the day so the word-of-mouth power they have is immense.
  • Account Managers: in other words, sales people that meet customers and ultimately bring deals to your company. If the UC solution deployed doesn’t allow them to do their job quicker, easier or more effectively, you’ll have a hard time justifying the cost of the solution and having a good ROI.
  • Receptionists, Call Center Agents: for obvious reasons, you better include their needs/expectations in your project and ensure the right features are provided to these users.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to people who either use the system a lot or those who only use certain features but have a lot of “power” to influence other key stakeholders of your company.

Did I miss anyone? Can you think of a group of users that you had to include in your project to ensure success? If so, share it please!

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