Over the years we have consistently run into one common misconception that customers have about collaboration: the only thing more painful than staying with an outdated system is the transition to a new one. Many people often postpone upgrades well past the expiration date of old technologies because they are afraid to open “Pandora’s Box.”
Well, that shouldn’t be the case at all. An upcoming or active collaboration upgrade is the #1 reason why customers engage with us here at Vyopta. Transitions and upgrades should be a relief, and UC managers should be excited to start one. The technology has really come a long way, and there are many platforms today that have focused on interoperability to such an extent that transitions are relatively painless. Once the technology barrier is significantly lowered, the problem becomes one of change management.
Personally, I think the second definition is more appropriate in this situation. The key word is “controlled.” Because we are involved in so many of these upgrade projects, we decided to gather some best practices for customers who are interested in the next big thing for collaboration. In preparation for our webinar in a couple weeks, we are giving you a sneak peek today.
Get buy-in from above, early
One of the most important, and earliest, steps you can take to ensure a successful transition is to secure executive sponsorship. Not only should you secure an executive to support you financially, but you should make sure to get this executive excited and bought-in. One easy way to do this is to make them an Alpha user. The risk of a bad experience is actually pretty low with today’s latest collaboration technology. And the experience provided by top end systems (that you can get for less than $10K today) is pretty remarkable when compared to technology from just 5 years ago. What you want to do is get them talking about the impact on their day and the potential for the entire company A-S-A-P. Investing some budget here will pay huge dividends later.
In addition, there will be meetings with other stakeholders that you just won’t be a part of; whether they are random hallway conversations or part of larger budget and priority discussions. It’s important that you have a partner in place for these conversations because they can help prevent hurdles from developing in the future.
Do the best your network can afford
One of the best quotes I heard recently was from a partner who said, “It’s great if you can afford a Lamborghini, but you still can’t drive it 200 miles-an-hour if you live on a dirt road.” This is a funny way to say that everyone would love to have an immersive experience in every conference room, but unless you have unlimited bandwidth in every building, it probably won’t work how you want. Coincidentally, there is not a lot of difference in the price tag between an immersive conference room and a luxury supercar.
In practice, this means taking a hard look at what your network can handle on a per-node basis and then invest appropriately. However, don’t just take a “worst-case scenario” for everything. Many of the new infrastructure and endpoint technologies actually do a lot to reduce the bandwidth requirements for video and voice traffic. This is where having a vendor and reseller partner who have done this before can really help you get the most out of your investments.
What else can you do?
These are just a couple of the best practices that should be considered for a collaboration upgrade. To learn the rest, join our webinar on February 28th at Noon Central Time US.