In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive business environment, effective collaboration is one of the keys to success. However, our modern corporate culture means that many employees travel or work from home frequently. Meanwhile, certain employees work full-time with people across the country or around the world. How can a company ensure collaboration with such a dynamic workforce?
Video conferencing is one way that businesses are creating a culture of collaboration, even with remote and traveling employees. In fact, a 2012 Wainhouse survey found that 94 percent of businesses report increased efficiency and productivity with video collaboration.
For your customers that need an effective collaboration tool, finding the right video conferencing system can be a daunting task. And the best system may be different for each company. Here are a few guidelines to help guide their choice:
1. Determine how the video conferencing system will be used.
Find out the specifics of how the technology will be used day-to-day. Consider these questions:
- Will meetings be large or relatively small?
- Will they need to be recorded and archived for future reference?
- Will employees need to share files, videos, desktop content, etc.?
The answers to these questions will help you and your customer determine exactly what basic features they need, which will help narrow down the number of solutions from which to choose.
2. Consider where the system will be used.
A growing number of end users are using video to collaborate on the go. In fact, 67 percent of respondents in the Wainhouse poll said they now use video conferencing on their tablets or smartphones. Be sure to incorporate technology that can has a mobile element for these users.
3. Establish what advanced features will be needed.
For companies that will hold regular collaboration sessions with larger groups of remote employees, advanced collaboration technology is probably worthwhile. If your customer needs to go beyond basic face-to-face video meetings to true collaboration, they would benefit from a system that combines video conferencing with more advanced features, such as seamless document sharing, desktop sharing and whiteboarding.
However, these tools aren’t for everyone. Many companies will be able to effectively collaborate using traditional video conferencing technology. Be sure to discuss advanced features with each customer. Some might not need certain tools, and they shouldn’t end up paying for something that will go unused.
4. Think about who will use the system.
Will all the end users be employees, or will meetings be held with people outside the company, such as customers and partners? If certain outside users might be behind firewalls, your customer might opt for a browser-based system, which simplifies access. Also, if the company expects a large number of in-house employees to use the system, you’ll need to make sure the customer has the bandwidth to handle that additional traffic.
Collaboration looks different at every company and, in some cases, within the various departments of a given company. By working closely with your customer, you’ll learn exactly what video conferencing technology they need to make collaboration part of their everyday work lives.
What systems have you encountered that are ideal for collaboration? How do you determine the best mix of technology for a customer who is seeking effective collaboration?