Offer Solutions to Meet Employee Needs

 
 
By Gunjan Bhow  |  Posted 2009-06-24 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Offer solutions to meet employee needs

The most important thing to consider when outlining endpoint options in a UC deployment plan is flexibility. Instead of fighting to force employees into a specific solution, IT teams should offer options to meet varying user needs and preferences. For example, take users who frequently use the desk phone and PC in tandem to collaborate on presentations. These users would benefit from a telephone headset that allows them to talk and type simultaneously and mixes audio between the phone and PC.

Mobile professionals who use PC calling might prefer a headset that allows them to take calls from both a PC and a mobile phone. Stationary workers might prefer a simple-to-use, plug-and-play corded headset. For professionals who aren't comfortable using a headset, explore traditional phone handsets and speakerphones that plug into a computer via USB.

When selecting UC endpoints, high-quality audio for transmitting and receiving is critical. The built-in mic and speaker on most PCs are inadequate at best, which can aggravate users, customers, partners or other company constituents to which the user is talking. In addition, communicating over a computer network is subject to data traffic that can affect sound quality. Acoustic echo, audio latency and distortion can significantly impact sound quality.

Also important is a noise-canceling microphone, especially for employees working in noisy cubicle environments or working from home who need to block out background noise. Fundamentally, if the IT organization is asking users to use the PC as a voice communication device, they have to ensure the quality and performance standards of the traditional telephone.

Another must-have is plug-and-play capability. IT teams do not need to add the burden of installing and adjusting the settings of equipment for everyone in the company. Users should be able to easily set up and use the endpoint with only a small amount of guidance (if even that). Along the same lines, products should be reliable so they require little support once they are in use.

Design is another element that can impact how readily employees embrace their UC endpoint. The growth in consumer electronic devices such as iPods and stylized mobile phones has elevated the desire for personal technology devices to be both functional and fashionable. If a headset is visually appealing, comfortable to wear and customizable, employees will be more likely to jump on the UC bandwagon.

Clearly, providing employees with endpoint solutions that meet their unique needs is vital to the success of a UC deployment. It seems impractical to derail the investment put into UC adoption by making the endpoint an afterthought. Being flexible and offering endpoint options is necessary in order to see the ROI of standardizing on a UC platform (which includes reduced phone bills, conference call minutes, travel expenses, and so on). It can also help in reducing support issue headaches by first eliminating some common adoption hurdles.

Gunjan Bhow is vice president and general manager for Unified Communications at Plantronics. In this role, Gunjan is responsible for overall strategy and management of initiatives that enable enterprises to take full benefit of software-based communications. Gunjan brings close to 20 years of experience in rich media software and IP-based communications, covering both consumer and enterprise markets, as well as software and hardware.

Prior to joining Plantronics, Gunjan was vice president of marketing at Actiontec Electronics, where he launched a business that extended the usage of Skype to traditional phones, mobiles and enterprises-being the first-of-kind products in each category. Prior to Actiontec, Gunjan was director of platform product strategy at Microsoft Corporation. In this role, Gunjan led product strategy and business planning for Microsoft's digital TV software, resulting in millions of deployments. Prior to Microsoft, Gunjan led venture capital investments for Telesystem. His focus was working on emerging mobile data solutions with wireless operators. Gunjan has spoken at conferences worldwide on digital media.

Gunjan holds a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He can be reached at gunjan.bhow@plantronics.com. 



 
 
 
 
Gunjan Bhow is Vice President and General Manager for Unified Communications at Plantronics. In this role, Gunjan is responsible for overall strategy and management of initiatives that enable enterprises to take full benefit of software-based communications. Gunjan brings close to 20 years of experience in rich media software and IP-based communications, covering both consumer and enterprise markets as well as software and hardware. Prior to joining Plantronics, Gunjan was vice president of marketing at Actiontec Electronics where he launched a business that extended the usage of Skype to traditional phones, mobiles and enterprises, being the first-of-kind products in each category. Prior to Actiontec, Gunjan was director of platform product strategy at Microsoft Corporation. In this role, Gunjan led product strategy and business planning for Microsoft's digital TV software, which resulted in millions of deployments. Prior to Microsoft, Gunjan led venture capital investments for Telesystem. His focus was working on emerging mobile data solutions with wireless operators. Gunjan has spoken at conferences worldwide on digital media. Gunjan holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He can be reached at gunjan.bhow@plantronics.com.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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