Pushing for SIP change: How to win over your stakeholders

Change can often be difficult. According to McKinsey research, 70% of change efforts in organisations aren’t fulfilled, mostly due to employee resistance and inadequate management support. Old habits, hierarchal tensions and poor processes mean transformation is obstructed, and progress halted.

Managing change is tough, yet having a clear process plan in place can help.

Many businesses have already experienced the benefits of transitioning from traditional ISDN lines to SIP trunking. The technology comes with clear advantages: cost savings, flexibility and ease of management. However, the rapid pace of tech innovation, can leave some stakeholders hesitant about embracing this.

For change to be successful, it needs to flow from the top – and to do so, you need to engage key stakeholders.

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Step 1: Define your stakeholders

Often, too many stakeholders are involved inappropriately and without clear focus. This makes implementing telephony change difficult as it becomes time consuming and inefficient.

To combat this, tech leaders need to map out key stakeholders and prioritise them. Having the right people in the change process is part of the transition itself – stakeholders will either help facilitate this transformation or hold progress back. Consider both your organisational and ‘political’ structures, as unofficial relationships will also play a role in change.

Once there is a better understanding of who needs to know what, get them involved. Ask various parties what they require from their telephony, and enquire about any difficulties or concerns regarding loss of quality. As opposed to consultation, active participation will more likely lead to success.

Step 2: Plan the case for change

Point out the drawbacks of your current system. If you’re still relying on PSTN, some disadvantages include:

Cost inefficiency: Long distance calls, call forwarding and internal calls between office sites all come at a price. Each call can eat away at your bottom line.

Inflexible: PSTN requires dedicated phone lines, which make scalability limited. Remote extensions require purchasing more lines, which can become complex and costly.

Showcase to the stakeholders how cloud-hosted telephony will help improve your business. Key reasons include:

Financial savings: Reduced call costs, line rental and free internal calls mean businesses can realise significant long-term cost savings.

Futureproof infrastructure: The cloud-hosted nature of SIP trunking means businesses are less dependent on depreciating hardware. Upgrades are software-based meaning minimal disruption to your day-to-day operations.

Scalable: SIP trunking is entirely scalable, with lines easily added and removed. This means your infrastructure will support both seasonal demand peaks as well as organic growth.

ROI: The cost savings are immediate, with the payback period often as short as a year.

Make sure you approach each stakeholder group appropriately. Tailor the pain points of existing telephony and the advantages of cloud-telephony to match the needs and wants of each group.

Step 3: Create and review an engagement plan

Be consistent when keeping stakeholders updated. Agree on the frequency of updates, as well as the channel. This will help alleviate any potential misunderstandings.

Keep the lines for feedback open. Give stakeholders a means to air any hesitations they might have about SIP trunking, and arm yourself with the facts and figures needed to push for change.

The desired end result of SIP trunking implementation should be at the forefront of all stakeholder engagement. The details that determine how it occurs should really only be secondary. Flexibility is key.

While it may be harder to predict what impact drones, 3D printing and wearable tech might have on organisations – one thing is for certain – clear, instantaneous communication will always be valued.

By having a robust change management system in place, businesses can ensure a smooth transition from legacy telephone lines to modern cloud-hosted solutions. Keeping stakeholders engaged is just one step towards a future-ready solution.

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10 May 2016 | Cem Ahmet

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.