Earlier this year, Cisco IT offered internal users a new version of the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator application that includes the very useful “click-to-conference” feature.
Because this application is very popular among users for managing their communications, we knew the upgrade should be rolled out in a controlled way to minimize disruptions.
Here are our top three tips for Cisco customers who are planning a similar upgrade:
1. Create a cross-function team to manage the launch. Our team included representatives from multiple IT groups, including voice operations, user support, training, and user communications. Since Cisco Unified Personal Communicator is a hands-on user application, any changes to the software requires users to do something different. This “difference” needs to be completely clear to employees, and they need to receive clear communications about the differences, and be able to access training if needed. By monitoring activity throughout the launch, we were able to adjust the deployment schedules and user training and informational materials as needed.
2. Translate launch information where appropriate. Our usage data indicated that 50 percent of Cisco Japan employees are using Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, making them the largest internal user group during the initial deployment. To support these users, we had the launch information translated into Japanese.
3. Focus the upgrade on existing users. The availability of a new feature can attract new users for a product. But I don’t recommend trying to get new users to adopt Cisco Unified Personal Communicator at the same time you are rolling out a new version. New users can cause confusion and extra burden for your support personnel, who have to determine whether questions and issues are related to the new product version or to a new user’s learning experience.