VoiceCon: Dimension Data UC Program Targets End-User Adoption

Dimension Data on Monday introduced the Adoption Management Program (AMP), a plan through which Dimension will sell services to enterprises to help drive use of new UC technologies internally, offer metrics that judge how effectively certain aspects of new UC and infrastructure technology are being used, and calculate ROI for companies based on those metrics.

The company made the announcement at VoiceCon in Orlando.

"We need a better way to get people to focus on the technology," said Mitch Hershkowitz, national solutions manager at Dimension Data, in an interview. "Often times, the [customer] doesn't understand how it helps them work together better, or why it's cutting down on travel, or how they can adopt it their daily lives without a lot of big changes."

One problem with many IT deployments around UC and other advanced technologies, Hershkowitz argued, is that once the deployment is finished, enterprises are left with plenty of IT support, but have a hard time taking the next step of getting their employees to adopt them effectively.

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"We want to understand things like minutes of usage, whether a hard phone or softphone is used, whether these technologies are really helping to cut travel, or whether are you, the employee, happy with your daily work and are you using these things because you want to or because you have to," he said.

Hershowkitz said the AMP program moves beyond what basic efficiency consulting does because it's offering enterprises best practices and dedicated Dimension Data resources to help implement those best practices, plus providing business analytics on how effectively enterprise infrastructure is deployed and utilized.

The company tested AMP internally, and according to Hershowitz, realized a 95 percent user adoption rate of advanced technologies within two months, and was able to demonstrate how its UC system cut overall company travel costs by 50 percent.

"A lot of people talk about cutting travel and cutting costs, but it's important to provide a clear explanation of how that's happening and be able to show that to a CFO," he said.

Dimension Data will offer two packages in the AMP program. One is AMP Self-Service, in which Dimension Data provides an electronic marketing tool kit on a thumb drive, and sample promotional tools, as well as video-based training tools and Webinars and a dedicated Web page for a company's Intranet, plus management software, surveys and e-mail tracking tools. The program starts at $30,000.

The other is AMP Full-Service, which includes everything in the Self-Service kit but also provides organizations access to a dedicated marketing executive from Dimension Data who will coordinate and help implement the entire plan.

Enterprises deploying Integrated Collaboration -- the bundled Dimension Data package that incorporates Microsoft Office Communications Server, Tandberg video conferencing gear and Cisco IP telephony -- can take advantage of AMP, as can other companies deploying more general UC and telepresence with Dimension Data.

Hershkowitz added that Dimension Data hadn't yet determined whether it would offer the AMP programs to customers as a standalone; that is, customers that hadn't also had their hardware and infrastructure deployments done through Dimension Data. Hershkowitz said that was a possibility, but it would more likely be a case of a customer that had worked with Dimension Data in previous years.

The company has already begun offering AMP to select end users, Hershkowitz said. The formal rollout began Monday.

"Most organizations simply do not have the time or internal resources to effectively promote a new technology and educate employees on its use," said Daniel O'Connell, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "Offerings that provide a built-in marketing solution will bolster enterprises' confidence when investing in emerging technologies such as unified communications and TelePresence."