Ordering Up A Strong Cup of UC: Seeing the Return on Your Investment in Collaboration

Imagine you’ve made the strategic decision to build an espresso bar at your company headquarters campus.  After much deliberation, you’ve decided on the name Ultimate Café.  There is obviously an expense to this investment and some disruption during construction, but the potential upside makes it all worthwhile.  You have built a place where your employees can gather and collaborate, where they can work together and share ideas over their favorite coffee drink.  The Ultimate Café will be the ultimate destination.  People will gather and innovation will pour from the “UC”.

Now imagine that employees are having issues with their expresso bar experience.  The coffee quality is inconsistent; there is trash and clutter that makes it hard for employees to gather.  Overall, gathering at the Ultimate Café is not attractive and not productive and employees stop getting their coffee at the espresso bar you invested resources to put in place. Instead, employees either make their own coffee in their offices or head to the local coffee chain down the street.  You’ve invested in the espresso bar, but there is no collaboration happening. That’s right; you’ve wasted your UC investment.

Could you have avoided this situation and optimized the return on that investment?

You could have hired a manager to monitor the execution of the espresso bar.  They would have made sure the process was efficient, everyone was performing their function properly, and people were flowing through the line efficiently.  They would have ensured the cups, creamer, and sweeteners were properly stocked. In addition to ensuring the operation was running smoothly, you could have hired coffee experts.  These specialists would have periodically looked into the coffee making process to make sure everything was functioning properly and that nothing was clogging or slowing down the machinery.  If there was an issue with a cup of coffee, these experts would know exactly where to look to identify the source and fix the problem.

If you didn’t want to be in the coffee making business, but still wanted to deliver this service to your employees, you could have outsourced the management to a company that specializes in maintaining espresso bars with a high level quality and efficiency. Maybe you haven’t put in an espresso bar and maybe you have no plans to, but have you purchased a unified communications platform to facilitate employee collaboration?  How is that UC investment going?

Although the environment may be different, the ultimate business goals are the same.  If you want to maximize the return on an investment in UC, you have to drive adoption and high adoption is dependent on an optimized user experience. If user experience suffers because of poor voice or video quality or other complications, your employees will not leverage the UC platform you’ve invested in.  Instead, they will be discouraged from collaboration and when they do collaborate, they will use an outside service that is inconsistent and less secure.

The good news is that you can still take steps to optimize your employees’ user experience and drive the highest levels of adoption.  With effective monitoring, diagnostics, and reporting tools you can improve the user experience to encourage them to use collaboration platforms effectively. Instead of a physical espresso bar, collaboration occurs on virtual bridges where voice, video, and application sharing facilitate people working together. Instead of bad coffee and messy tables, you have poor network connections, overrun servers, and bad user devices creating a poor user collaboration experience. Instead of a manager monitoring the operation or experts digging deep into the coffee machines as they process espresso drinks, you have tools like Nectar monitoring the application, network and end user domains to ensure everything is operating as optimally as possible.

The application domain of your UC deployment is the overall operation of the espresso bar.  It is making sure everything is properly maintained and you have the appropriate levels of inventory across the board.  Do you have the underlying platform necessary to run an efficient, quality UC experience that will encourage collaboration?  Nectar’s UC Foundation auto discovers your UC application and infrastructure components, monitors system health, and alarms when certain thresholds are reached or exceeded.  It ensures the UC has everything in place to run smoothly and maximize the user experience.

The network domain of your UC deployment is the intricate inner workings of the coffee making machinery.  When a customer places an order, the coffee bean follows a process from entering the grinder all the way through being as a delicious latte.  Any congestion or disruption in that process could impact the quality of the final product you deliver; one bad cup of espresso could indicate an issue in the process that will impact several users.  In UC, a packet containing voice, video, or application sharing content follows a network path from one user to another or to a bridge where users are gathered.  Nectar’s UC Diagnostics follows the path of those packets and can identify on an active call, or through a “replay” of a completed call, if and where those packets encountered issues on the network and direct your IT staff where to fix the issue.  Nectar’s Perspective generates synthetic UC conversations across your network to ensure everything is behaving as you would expect for a high quality experience, much like making a test cup of espresso before the café opens helps ensure the coffee making process is working as planned.

The best cup of coffee made with the greatest expertise and deepest care will suffer if it is drunk out of a plastic cup or if the customer’s environment is not conducive to mindfully enjoying every aspect of the beverage.  The end user environment also impacts the quality of the UC experience.  Nectar’s advanced analytics can help your IT staff understand the details of the end user domain that may have impacted communications quality.  Was the user utilizing a certified UC headset or a cheap speakerphone?  Was the user plugged into the corporate wired network or battling for shared bandwidth at the coffee shop down the street?  Nectar’s advanced analytics provides insight into what factors in the end user domain may have impacted the user experience.

Some enterprises will purchase UC monitoring and diagnostics tools like Nectar and hire or train staff to effectively leverage the tools to optimize their internal deployment.  Other organizations will choose to outsource the care, feeding, and optimization of their UC environment to a service provider with the breadth of resources and depth of expertise to leverage tools like Nectar to optimize the user experience.

Whether you choose to leverage internal resources or outsource to a service provider, if you’re going to invest in a collaboration environment for your workforce, make sure you also invest in the tools and people to make sure that collaboration environment delivers on the experience your users expect.  That makes for a nice cup of Joe. 

Nectar takes pride in moving companies forward through effective UC solutions. Find out how we can help your enterprise.