Skype for Businesses Return On Investment
Posted on October 26, 2015
This whitepaper provides advice on how to win over users and ensure senior decision makers understand the true value of Skype for Businesses Return On Investment to a Local Authority and the community it serves. Focusing on The Skype for Business Cultural Challenge for your Local Authority in the way your users communicate and collaborate.
- The cultural challenge
We have explored the benefits of adopting Skype for Business, how to plan your deployment and the pitfalls to avoid. But a critical element that could ultimately determine the success of your rollout is getting every employee of the organisation on board. If they don’t use the Skype for Business features, then your efforts and investment will be in vain.
Selling the Benefits of Skype for Business
Skype for Business involves a cultural change in the way users communicate and collaborate. You will be asking employees to change the way they work, so you must give them clear reasoning why they should. It also brings a range of new features and functionality that users are unfamiliar with.
It comes down to the old adage ‘what’s in it for me?’. Follow these steps to ensure every user in your Local Authority understands the benefits as much as you do.
Step 1: Understand your Users
A person handling a query from a citizen about social housing is unlikely to care whether Skype for Business is saving the Council money; they want to make sure they can respond quickly and effectively and move on to the next query.
Assess your entire organisation to understand all the different roles and functions that are undertaken. Then interview individuals so that you really understand their job, how they work, the barriers to productivity they face and the potential impact of introducing Skype for Business.
Step 2: Create Business Scenarios
Create bespoke scenarios around specific job functions or departments that users can clearly identify with. Use these to illustrate new ways of working and show how their job can be impacted positively.
Explain the advantages and benefits for the individual such as reducing their email load, making it easier for them to reach colleagues, and enabling them to work effectively away from the office.
Step 3: Design a Training Programme
Rather than being helpful, a lengthy and time-consuming training programme could leave your users confused and overloaded with information. Instead, provide a quick introduction to the most important features and frequently used functions.
Depending on the size of your organisation, it can be useful to train ‘super users’, who can then deliver training to their colleagues and draw on their own experience to bring out the benefits. This approach would also relieve the burden on your IT department.
Step 4: Develop an Internal Communications Plan
Think about all the stages of your deployment and consider how and when you need to communicate these phases to the wider organisation. When will the platform be deployed? How long will it take? When and how will you provide training on how it will be used?
Rather than providing all the information up-front, look to communicate smaller updates more regularly with your users, adding value to their migration experience as it progresses. Involve your HR team to understand the most appropriate methods and whether intranet sites could play a role. After the rollout, keep in touch with your users to find out what is working and what isn’t, so further training or help can be provided.
Step 5: Ongoing Support
Ongoing support for users can often be overlooked and it may prove unrealistic to simply train teams and walk away expecting them to retain all the required knowledge.
Two forms of ongoing support should be considered;
- Self-service – what tools can you put in place to ensure users are being supported wherever they are working?
- Human intervention – it is important that users can find support from people who know how to use the platform, whether that’s super users or an IT helpdesk. Adoption may be negatively impacted if users can’t easily find the right answers
Guidelines to Skype for Business etiquette
- Always check a person’s presence status before sending an IM
- Use emoticons and underlining carefully or avoid them altogether, as it is easy to misinterpret messages in text
- If you are in a meeting or call, turn off IM audio notifications to ensure the sound of incoming instant messages won’t be disturbing to others
- Don’t invite someone to join a multiparty IM session that is in progress without first asking the others in the session if it is OK to do so
- When you need to focus on high priority tasks, set your presence status to Busy to let colleagues know that you are not available for an IM conversation
- If you absolutely cannot be disturbed, set your status to Do Not Disturb, but use this sparingly because appearing unavailable too often is similar to rarely answering your phone or email
- If you are out-of-office, in training, working remotely or travelling, then leave a note about where you are. Type your note in the note box above your name
- If someone adds you to their Contacts list, a notification gives you the option of adding that person to your Contacts list; typically, internal requests should be accepted
- Be respectful of your colleagues’ time. Log in to any online meetings a few minutes early, and check that your devices are properly configured
- Upload documents and organise presentation slides before your online meeting starts
- Setting your Business Case
If you are driving a Skype for Business programme, it is likely you fully understand the implications of adopting the platform and the benefits it will deliver. However, some decision makers across your Local Authority may not have this level of insight and may be reluctant to invest.
It is important that a top down approach is adopted right across the organisation when considering any new technology implementation. The following provides clear steps to making sure all involved work together to build a platform for efficiency and cost savings:
Step 1: Explain what Skype for Business will do for the Organisation
There is a wide range of potential benefits to deploying Skype for Business, as we have outlined, such as enhanced productivity, greater collaboration, cost savings and streamlined IT management.
Clearly set out what benefits will be delivered to your specific organisation and, most importantly, make sure these are aligned to the wider goals of the organisation. Use specific scenarios to show how Skype for Business will transform even the most basic functions for specific individuals or departments, bringing the benefits to life.
Step 2: Set out how you will Measure Success
Despite claims by some companies to the contrary, developing a one size fits all ROI formula for all Local Authorities is very difficult. Every Local Government organisation is unique, with different IT requirements, ways of communicating, cultures and sizes. As a result, every deployment should take special care in setting out how the ROI will be measured.
Senior decision makers – particularly those holding the purse strings – will need hard evidence that a Skype for Business platform can deliver the benefits that you anticipate. Establish clear, realistic measurement metrics. If you want to reduce calls into the contact centre team, do you have the ability to measure call volumes? If you want to increase productivity, how will you know users are doing more? How can you measure greater efficiency of the IT department?
Even the more obvious ROI metrics like cost savings need careful consideration. Easily identifiable cost savings should be considered as the foundation:
- Consolidation of other applications i.e. web and teleconferencing
- Greater productivity, for example through reduced travel time and faster decision making
- Reduction in travel costs
- Staff retention, through improved flexible working and a more attractive working environment with the latest tools
Define your own ROI calculator so you can clearly evaluate the potential financial impact of Skype for Business on your organisation. This will form the basis of any business case and care should be taken to ensure full measurement of your key metrics.
Environmental factors must also be taken into consideration, providing the tools to ensure staff no longer need to be on the road, inevitably creating a positive impact on the authority’s carbon footprint.
Step 3: Present a Clear Migration Path for Success
It will be essential to reassure decision makers and the wider organisation that the deployment will be effective. Set out a clear path for the organisation’s migration to the new platform, making it clear how you will minimise disruption and ensure business continuity.
This should ideally include the following:
- A Scoping Exercise – work closely with a key team of individuals across the authority to determine how the deployment can best be utilised and by whom. Build a project timeline with key individuals playing a role in making the deployment successful
- A Pilot Deployment – a specific department or area of the business, to identify any potential issues before a full rollout. Was it disruptive? Were there any problems that you didn’t anticipate? Was user adoption as you expected? Check your licensing, as it could be free of charge
- A Communications Plan – set out how and when you will communicate the deployment and rollout plan to all users in the organisation
- A User Engagement Approach – explain how you will support users of the new Skype for Business applications and features and the levels of time investment required.