Once you’ve settled on the best system for you, appoint an executive to champion the project, says Alan Benway, executive director of AT&T Telepresence Solutions, which offers a Rapid Adoption Plan to its customers.
“An executive champion is key in terms of setting the vision and leading by example for the organization. We’ve seen that the companies that are best at this have a strong executive champion who drives the use of telepresence and drives the awareness,” he says.
The executive champion can lead the next critical strategy to a successful telepresence rollout, which is a clearly defined plan for adoption: What happens first? Who uses the system at first? When is it rolled out to the rest of the employees for their use?
“Getting people past that hump is part of the user adoption issue. You do that with outreach, with lunch ‘n learns, etc. Walk people through a call, even if it is just 15 minutes. Have fliers. Let people know they can use it,” says David Danto, director of Emerging Technologies for the Interactive Multimedia & Collaborative Communications Alliance (IMCCA). “That’s the good cop part of adoption. The bad cop part of adoption is doing like President Obama did, [which is to slash travel budgets and tell workers to use video.”
Organization is Key
A key to the adoption plan is devising a detailed organizational scheme for scheduling. How you schedule the use of the technology is critical.
“Do you intend to load balance that for certain meetings or certain uses that are more important than others? So anyone can use it, but when a certain team needs it, they bump the others. Or do you intend to have enough systems where that is not an issue?” says Danto. “How do you reserve a room or a conference space in your organization now?
Next up is planning for the not so little things. Make sure you have proper lighting and sound so the experience is top of the line. Make sure your staff has the experience to handle problems with calls or hire external managed services to handle any hiccups. Plan for any contingency.
As with any venture, success lies in foresight. Plan ahead. Plan ahead.