We often joke that as soon as we build a solution that is good enough for the village idiot, the village creates a better idiot. Too harsh?
Probably, but consider first how many IT projects fail, not for proper technology choices, but for lack of user adoption. Adoption to technology change comes from internal customer engagement and failing to engage your end users in a way that is meaningful to THEM.
Here is a summary if you don’t feel like reading more. Don’t ignore your end users! Even if they are idiots. Or BECAUSE they are Id10ts.
Implied throughout our posting on both buildings the right conference room and not getting fired and this cloudy cloud blog series is one common and unique challenge: the end user. Please take a look at the key considerations to building out a room and a unified communications solution in other posts as we will not be going into depth here. This is all about you, an end user.
Most service providers and resellers like Perfect Video Conferencing understand that sometimes there is an intersection between the ideal scenario in supporting users and the reality of the work world that presents challenges to us. Customer satisfaction and end-user support lie somewhere between those targets: the ideal and the real.
Perception can be a reality and the end user will have lots of opinions. Across hundreds of customers and thousands of unique installs we have watched our customers stumble on some unanswered internal questions:
When to consider the end user at all?
Answer: Always, but do so with balance.
When to throttle or coddle the end user?
Answer: Sometimes, but do so privately. Your solution cannot be dumbed down to the village idiot. Respect your colleagues, but your solution cannot be built around a Luddite.
Perception is a reality, so how do you combat internal negative users?
Answer: Give them a role in the change of technology.
Simple best practices make a massive difference. How do you train users?
Video Conferencing is a behavioral change. Change is hard.
How do you make it easy?
Answer: A simple best practices document can go a long, long way.
So you want to choose a solution and keep your users happy. We can help. Let’s first recap the business considerations to take into account during this change:
1 - Planning doesn't have to be complicated, but without a plan it gets messy. Have a clear statement of work. Validate the design, be it at the desktop or in the boardroom.
2 - Consider this a solution that involved behavior change and allocates the resources necessary to accomplish that- training, adoption, adaption, documentation, and support is needed.
3 - Have a budget and stick to it and make sure the outcomes of the project budget meet the business needs for video.
4 - Vendor choice - Choose a partner, not a vendor. Define your criteria for value and relationship and be clear about your expectations.
5 - Solve a problem - Video Conferencing should enhance the business, not be a barrier. Involve your stakeholders and make sure your internal communications about outcomes and products are as clear as your communications with your vendor.
So when do you ignore the end user?
Never. Sometimes. Always? While not every end user is created equally and SOME end users will find some complaint despite your great planning, we have identified some key trends that only emerge from the end user community. Here are our top five
- The end user community can help IT discover what they fear will go wrong with the technology shift help you plan training accordingly.
- Users will ignore training, updates, and notices and STILL expect a flawless and easy transition, so IT and partners can use a test group to modify training, documentation and support plans.
- End users will sub-divide themselves into different personas and you can plan training for those unique personalities. Approach your executive team differently than you would your admin staff and the sales team differently than you would the admin staff (and so on). One size does NOT fit all even if the solution you choose works for everyone.
- Learn from your mistakes. You will have a grumpy end user. Listen first, reject later. We watch our customers often write off end-user feedback because (sometimes) the same end user has the same complaints. Change is hard, so when a user group has feedback, look for gems of learning.
- Once your organization sets up a plan, stick to it. Resistance or mutiny among the end users should not cause you to radically change your course. You did your homework and your team is supporting you- stick to your path but allow for course corrections.
One last piece of advice? Set and require end users acknowledge a company plan for unified video communications. If you articulate the boundaries and scope, you create a great foundation from which to grown and support the adoption of technology. Best practices for home office, network speeds, and connections (Hard-wired over WiFi, for example), mobile use of video, audio calling and content sharing all can crush a meeting or create an ecosystem for a great collaboration.
Assume your end users will screw something up! Use that as an opportunity to learn how the video conferencing platform you chose can help them or how your training and support can enable them in their jobs. If your team shows just a bit of learning and flexibility to the end user community your team and organization will reap long term benefits from that open communication and you will get a faster return on the technology chosen.