Early adopters of unified communications (UC) focused on simply getting their systems off the ground. If you were able to migrate from legacy applications and hardware, integrate the various components of a UC solution, make sure everything was secure, and implement the system, you considered your UC initiative a success. However, as UC has matured in terms of both vendor solutions and how organizations use them, Quality of Experience (QoE) has become a much higher priority.

While Quality of Service (QoS) measures the performance, availability and reliability of technology, QoE focuses on the user experience. QoE measures end-user satisfaction, both objectively and subjectively.In that regard, QoE is somewhat dependent on end-users, who can be fickle, as well as the applications and hardware they’re using. QoE assessments often involve user surveys that delve into the user’s perception of reliability, ease of use, etc.

The subjective components of QoE can be difficult to precisely quantify. However, when this data is analyzed in conjunction with objective components that can be measured, QoE delivers tremendous value in assessing the user experience, which has a direct impact on the success of an organization.

There are a number of issues that can affect the UC user experience.Audio delays and drops, poor video quality, and connectivity problems can make collaboration frustrating and difficult. Network glitches and performance problems are often the culprit. That’s why UC services that depend on the network require ongoing monitoring to ensure not only QoS, but QoE.

Due to the overall complexity of UC, many network admins who are now responsible for UC monitoring and management are unprepared to identify and troubleshoot UC-related network issues. In fact, Gartner has found that UC monitoring has become a bigger problem than traditional network headaches. If network problems cause the user experience to suffer, people may stop using your UC solution. If people don’t use your UC solution, you’ll never see positive ROI from your UC initiative.

A high-quality user experience begins with proper migration to a UC solution.Best practices include training IT staff on your UC system prior to implementation. The UC solution should be flexible enough to accommodate evolving technology and business needs while still supporting legacy applications and hardware. Of course, the right UC monitoring solution will also help to ensure ongoing success.

When evaluating UC monitoring solutions, make sure capabilities are aligned with your specific requirements. You don’t want to overpay for features you don’t need, and you don’t want to underpay for a bare-bones solution that leaves gaps in monitoring. Look for a UC monitoring solution that can help you identify the root cause of network issues that affect QoE, such as latency and packet loss. Also, prioritize visualization capabilities so you can see and understand your data and context on a granular level.

IPC can guide you through each phase of your UC program, from planning to implementation to ongoing managed services and monitoring. Let us help you follow best practices for UC migration and deployment and minimize network issues that affect collaboration.