Most discussions about UC enabled applications are rightly focused on implementing and integrating communication and business application technologies. Such concerns include exploiting public and private “cloud” based services, as well as integrating legacy telephony systems and business applications. Clearly, the complexities involved will demand external expertise on an ongoing basis as software based changes constantly evolve and BYOD policies allow business users to utilize mobile devices of their own choosing.
I have noticed that many articles on the new responsibilities of traditional telephony VARs will have to be expanded to extend their old roles in training users for desktop phones to using desktop “softphones” and a variety of UC enabled smartphones and tablets. But it is not just person-to-person contacts that are involved, but also communication enabled business process (CEBP) applications that will come into the picture. This will be particularly true for desktop applications that are adapted to mobility or “mobile apps.”
As organizations cross over into UC enabled mobility, end users will have to be guided into the interface options that they will encounter with a variety of applications. The question is how will that be done and who will have what responsibility is supporting such education?
Obviously, from an end user’s perspective, there are two sides of the coin here. There is the basic, person-to-person communication usage, including all forms of communication that UC enables, and then there are the business applications that are UC enabled. As has been pointed out by many, the experts in communication integration will be the most likely candidates to educate end users, especially when “cloud” services are involved. Such education should not require manual training classes, because it can be handled via online applications and “help desk” services.
When it comes to mobile and desktop UC enabled business applications that have been integrated by solution channels, the education of end users can be accomplished in the same manner, except that more responsibility will fall to the the business application developers who design the user interfaces. This is where partnerships will come into play between channels and application developers.
Because UC enabled business applications will become a huge opportunity for hosted service providers, channels, and application developers, the question of how and who will be responsible for supporting end users is very important. The technology vendors are relying on both their own resources for consultative and managed services, as well as using channel expertise. This will be an issue that will be on the table for discussion at UC Strategies annual conference for consultants and VAR channels.
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You might want to follow the posts of the UC team on this website for more details on what is involved with implementing UC enabled applications.