Power to the People! 

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 proper communication and training. This is the fourth post in a five-part series covering the successful development of a video culture within an organization.  Read part one here.

People are inherently resistant to any major change; they take comfort in the status quo because of fear associated with the uncertainty of something new.  A major organizational change, such as the implementation of a visual collaboration solution, changes the way colleagues interact with each other and perform their daily tasks.  This shift in the daily routine moves users out of their comfort zone by expecting them to learn something new; which if not addressed, can produce significant resistance. 

It is imperative for senior management to address the impact that visual collaboration has on their employees.  Frequent and open communications regarding the reasons for change and expected benefits for both the organization and the end user are a necessity. If organizations do not address the uncertainty around a new technology the resulting resistance can be insurmountable, leading to an abandoned solution. 

Those familiar with video conferencing applications, such as Skype or Face Time, are more apt to accept enterprise video than people who have never used video before.  Many people take comfort in security of email and phone calls because others cannot read their facial expressions.  Therefore, new users can initially become overwhelmed by the face-to-face exposure video provides.  Proper training along with open dialogue can help address some of the uncertainty associated with switching to video communications.  Training should include several different topics; such as operational procedures, best practices and video etiquette. 

While most users understand basic functionality of video equipment; they lack the expertise to manage the infrastructure required for effective visual collaboration.  A team of video professionals, who operate the back-end video environment and provide technical support when needed, is crucial to any video environment.  Advanced video operators should proactively monitor video meetings to allow participants to focus on the matters at hand rather than the collaboration technology.  Therefore, organizations must either locate the right technical support staff or partner with a video services provider for access to advanced technical support. 

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 Two: It’s more than just bits and bytes
Part Three: P is for Process, that’s good enough for me
Part Five: Driving Usage & Adoption

You’re thinking of investing in a visual collaboration solution or upgrading the existing deployment; however, the equipment and management costs are adding up quickly. 

While you know the value visual communication provides; you need to justify the expense to your boss.  Unfortunately, all the different components are making it difficult to show a return on investment.  

Enter the cloud.  

Organizations can have access to multi-point bridging, firewall traversal, recording and streaming features without the complicated, not to mention costly, equipment.  This eliminates the frustrating “figure it out” period and enables organizations to realize the ROI of their video investment almost instantaneously. 

Additionally, instead of a significant upfront investment in network and equipment; organizations can spread out the operation costs through monthly expenses.  Not only does this allow organizations to budget more effectively; it shifts the video investment from a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure.   As a result, organizations can fully deduct the costs in the period they are incurred instead of having to worry about depreciation. 

Start realizing the benefits of your video investment by saying goodbye to upfront capital investments and hello to manageable monthly payments! 

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Why Take Video to the Cloud? 

P is for Process, that’s good enough for me

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 defining processes. This is the third post in a five-part series covering the successful development of a video culture within an organization.  Read part one here.

Implementing a new technology has a dramatic effect on the way employees do their job.  Visual collaboration sessions shift from scheduling a conference call to scheduling video conference which is far more complex in nature. To join a conference call, users simply dial a phone number and connect to an audio bridge; however, with a video call, participants have to worry about firewalls, network exchanges and more.  Learning all of these new processes can be extremely challenging; especially when users are unfamiliar with the technology.

Therefore, it is important to define and structure the processes required for effective collaboration in an easy to use and repeatable manner. Prior to implementation, stakeholders should work with video professionals to develop the necessary processes and procedures end users need to utilize visual collaboration solutions.  This includes how to connect to a video conference, displaying different types of content, changing audio and zoom settings and who to contact in the event of an issue. Documentation should be disseminated to all end users and a reference guide should be located in each conference room.

When designing processes and procedures it is important to define both the required steps and the expected outcomes. Users are more apt to follow a process when they understand the desired outcomes.  For example, pre-testing the video connection of a system on a different network can help prevent connectivity delays at the start of a meeting.  If users understand the role of pre-testing a network connection they are more likely to do so before an important meeting thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful collaboration session.

Properly defined and structured processes also need to be repeatable in order to be effective. Consistently having a new step or a new challenge creates a sense of frustration among users as it highlights their lack of expertise. Users should be able to replicate the process effortlessly; regardless of their background or expertise. This provides end users with a sense of familiarity which can help them overcome the fear and frustration associated with learning something new.

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 Two: It’s more than just bits and bytes
Part Four: Power to the People
Part Five: Driving Usage & Adoption

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

The New Nonprofit

April 20th, 2012 | Posted by Adam Kaiser in Use Cases | Video Conferencing - (0 Comments)

Nonprofit organizations are essential to the U.S. economy, contributing 5.4% to the GDP. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations based in the United States, each with its own unique mission. Like publicly traded or for-profit entities, the bottom line for nonprofits is the same: the organization must operate with optimal efficiency and achieve its stated goals with the highest return to the stakeholders.

To achieve its goals, a nonprofit must address the following challenges that are often present:

  • Locating sources of funding.
  • Marketing the mission and what the nonprofit stands for.
  • Unifying geographically dispersed stakeholders within the organization.
  • Reducing travel related time and costs.

One way to effectively address these issues is with unified communications (UC) and visual collaboration solutions. UC technology combined with cloud-based services can provide nonprofits with the tools they need to communicate effectively, increase the productivity of the staff, and get their message out to more people, all while reducing travel related time and expenses.

Now that the benefits of UC solutions can be enjoyed without the upfront capital expenditures that had been prohibitive for many nonprofit organizations in the past, there has never been a better time for nonprofits to implement these systems to help reach their mission and further their cause.