It’s more than just bits and bytes

In a world where instant messaging, email and online audio meetings reign supreme; shifting an organization’s culture to adopt visual collaboration or unified communication solutions can be extremely challenging.  Implementing a new technology is a significant organizational change that, if underestimated, can produce disappointing results.  There are several key steps an organization must take in order to effectively drive adoption throughout the organization – including properly integrating the technology. This is the second post in a five-part series covering the successful development of a video culture within an organization.  Read part one here.

Visual collaboration technology can revolutionize the way companies conduct business; it can increase productivity while decreasing travel expenditures and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Additionally, interpersonal relationships among colleagues, partners and clients are strengthened through the familiarity of face-to-face interactions without the time consuming business travel. However, these results are only as good as the integration of the technology.

Seamless integration allows the technology to fade into the background so participants focus on the meeting instead of the equipment; however, achieving this can be difficult.  The actual meeting room environment plays a significant role in effective visual collaboration; including suitable lighting, proper acoustics and the ability to shift between multiple sources of content.  Additionally, organizations must consider how the technology will integrate into existing systems; such as unified communications applications and other IT functions.

There is nothing more frustrating than a technology that only works half the time.  The inability to connect properly, view and hear speakers clearly or push content in a reliable manner can be detrimental to a successful implementation.  The adage that trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy can be applied to implementing a new technology.  A solution can work 99% of the time but if it fails to work once during a critical time, either with an important client or business partner; it can be difficult to continue driving adoption. To ensure reliability, organizations must take into consideration the impact video has on network performance.  The company may decide to invest in additional bandwidth that is dedicated to video usage.

As with every aspect of a company, security is paramount.  Therefore, when implementing a visual collaboration solution, an organization must consider the security of the network, video rooms and video equipment, and sensitive information/presentations.  At times, organizations take the path of least resistance in connecting video equipment to endpoints outside of their network; however, this can leave an organization vulnerable to a breach of security. It is imperative for companies to invest the time and resources in creating and maintaining a secure visual collaboration environment.

This post is part of a five-part series covering the successful development of a video culture within an organization.

Part One: Because the boss said so is not enough!
Part Three: P is for Process, thats good enough for me
Part Four: Power to the People
Part Five: Driving Usage & Adoption

Because the boss said so is not enough!

In a world where instant messaging, email and online audio meetings reign supreme; shifting an organization’s culture to adopt visual collaboration or unified communication solutions can be extremely challenging.  Implementing a new technology is a significant organizational change that, if underestimated, can produce disappointing results.  There are several key steps an organization must take in order to effectively drive adoption throughout the organization – starting with executive support and planning. This the first post in a five-part series covering the successful development of a video culture within an organization.

Prior to even purchasing video conferencing equipment, senior management must fully commit to adopting a visual collaboration solution.  Strong executive support is critical to any successful change as lower levels within the organization look to senior management for guidance.  Once executive support has been established, the management team must identify the role visual collaboration should play in the organization and the desired state of its implementation. Specific and measurable also goals need to be determined; such as reducing travel expenditures by 20% the first year or achieving a 75% adoption rate among middle-management.

After the desired state has been identified; senior management must determine the driving forces behind implementation and any resisting forces to adoption.  Driving forces consist of the factors propelling the organization to reach the desired state of visual collaboration; such as the need to make revenue generating activities more engaging.  Resisting forces consist of the factors that are preventing the organization from reaching the desired state; such as high capital expenditures or technical complexity.

If senior management does not invest time in planning or identifying key factors; the implementation process can become haphazard leading to low adoption rates.  Additionally, identifying resisting forces allows senior management to proactively address any concerns that could hinder adoption while identifying driving forces and goals allows senior management to effectively evaluate the success of implementation and distinguish areas for improvement.

Once these steps have been completed, senior management must communicate openly and freely with all levels of the organization.  Open communication about the implementation process, the projected benefits of visual collaboration and the reasons for change can help ease some of the fear and uncertainty associated with deploying a new technology. Furthermore, strong executive communication can garner the support of key influencers in each department.  These leaders will act as a catalyst; influencing more of their colleagues to adopt visual collaboration.  As a result, the momentum of adoption continues to increase until the organization has fully embraced video collaboration.

This post is part of a five-part series covering the successful development of a video culture within an organization.

Part Two: It’s more than just bits and bytes
Part Three: P is for Process, thats good enough for me
Part Four: Power to the People
Part Five: Driving Usage & Adoption

Your company probably ranks its ability to deliver outstanding customer service as an essential part of the business. But how likely is it that your clients are actually experiencing the level of customer service that you want to them to receive? If you are interested in transforming an average customer service experience into a truly exceptional interaction that customers will remember (and keep them coming back), consider implementing a visual collaboration system as part of a unified communications (UC) solution.

UC solutions, including video conferencing applications, facilitate face-to-face communication by creating life-like, virtual meetings, and can be an effective way to improve the interactions clients have with your customer service and sales teams. Video can instantly improve the customer service experience in many ways, including:

  • A more personal interaction with help desk and customer call center personnel, resulting in quicker problem resolution time and enhanced trouble-shooting.
  • Access to subject matter experts who can better address technical and product related questions.
  • Efficient training of customer service and sales teams, resulting in more informed discussions with customers.

Visual collaboration technology, when combined with cloud-based managed services, creates a meeting experience so realistic, your customers will instantly feel as though they are in the same room with the service agent or sales rep. The resulting interactions will blow away the competition, who is most likely using audio-only conferencing and is therefore lacking the in-person benefits properly implemented video technology provides.

Recently the New York Times ran a story regarding the security of video conferencing systems, highlighting a hacker who was able to connect to open video networks of major organizations. 

To learn more about how Cloud Video Services can help address this issue, check out the article at http://www.ivci.com/article-big-brother-can-t-watch-you-in-the-cloud.html.

 

 

Cisco has announced enhancements to its product line that address the need to collaborate easily and efficiently, from any device, at any place, and at any time.

“The advancements Cisco is introducing today –from Cisco WebEx® to Cisco Jabber™ — can change how people meet utilizing expanded cloud-based services, and can give workers an easy way to collaborate directly from Web applications they use every day, driving new levels of business productivity and competitiveness.”

More here:

http://communities.cisco.com/docs/DOC-27345