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.

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

The finance industry, now recovering from the worst crisis it has faced in decades, still faces challenges that must be addressed in order to ensure stability into the future. Banks and other financial institutions are restoring consumer confidence by cutting business costs, implementing processes to become more efficient, restructuring and consolidating distributed work forces, and undergoing reorganization efforts.

IT divisions of banks are embracing leading edge technology, including unified communication (UC) solutions, as part of the effort to address many of these challenges. UC systems utilize integrated visual collaboration, audio conferencing and data sharing capabilities to improve communication among remote parties. UC solutions are prevalent within the finance industry and are used to improve:

  • Customer service and support:  Bank customers who visit branch locations are provided access to services and subject matter experts that may only be available at headquarter locations. Support is provided in real-time, with face-to-face transactions that create a collaborative environment.  As a result, the branch is turned into a robust sales channel that is more responsive and able to offer additional products and services.
  • Internal communication and productivity: Video and UC solutions improve and streamline internal communication by establishing a more personal connection among employees in disparate branch and office locations; when information is shared readily and easily, the level of productivity is increased and bank profitability is improved.
  • Corporate training: Video conferencing and streaming facilitates new hire training and education on new financial vehicles by providing consistent information to all participants, at one time, regardless of location. Video reduces the costs associated with transporting training personnel to locations on site; users can receive training sessions delivered via desk top and mobile applications. Sessions can be recorded and archived for later viewing.
  • Recruiting and retaining talent: Video assists the screening process by reducing the need to meet with remote candidates in-person for initial interviews; video provides enough clarity to aid the decision making process and determine who moves on to the next round. Additionally, by creating an efficient and productive environment, video and UC solutions help financial institutions build their reputations within the industry, which works to retain top talent.

Visual collaboration technology, when combined with cloud-based managed services, creates a meeting experience so realistic, bank customers and employees will instantly feel as though they are participating in an-person meeting or training session.

 

A common question among organizations is why they should make the decision to outsource their video conferencing environment to a video services provider.  Steve Jobs provides the best explanation with a whiteboard and a two-by-two grid. To get Apple refocused in 1997, he told his team members that they needed to focus on four great products instead of the random array of devices they were currently producing. He said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. That’s true for companies, and it’s true for products.”

Simply put, using video-as-a-service allows organizations to focus on their core competencies; whether it’s designing and manufacturing high quality products or providing expert services.

In order to successfully operate a video environment, an organization needs video infrastructure equipment, defined processes and procedures, and a team of video professionals with experience and expertise. This requires a substantial upfront capital investment along with additional expenses for ongoing maintenance, training and equipment replacement. Not only does this become quite costly, it diverts resources from departments critical to accomplishing the organization’s mission and goals.

Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) removes the obstacles that organizations face during an enterprise implementation of visual collaboration and unified communications solutions by providing them with the tools needed to make collaboration work.

  • The People: VaaS provides access to a team of video experts with the experience and expertise to manage, operate and scale a video environment. This allows participants to simply enter a conference room or launch a video application and they are automatically connected to the video call.
  • The Process: VaaS allows organizations to take advantage defined processes and best practices for optimal meeting experiences; including centralized scheduling process, pre-meeting connectivity testing and proactive meeting monitoring. Participants can focus on the meeting at hand rather than worry about the technology.
  • The Technology: VaaS provides advanced video technology in the cloud which allows for video bridging, audio conferencing, direct voice dialing, streaming and archiving. Additional services can connect consumer video applications (Skype) or mobile devices (iPhone/iPad) allowing participants to connect from anywhere.

With VaaS, organizations can extend the reach of collaboration throughout their organization by allowing participants to collaborate anytime, anywhere, with anyone, on any device. Instead of worrying about locating the right technical staff or determining the best way to utilize video; organizations can focus on their core business practices while realizing the ROI and other business benefits of video almost immediately.

On March 29th, IVCi hosted a webinar presented by Aberdeen that focused on understanding the true business benefits of video conferencing and visual collaboration as well as how small to medium business have embraced this technology. Hyoun Park, analyst, offered some compelling data about how SMB organizations have been able to derive significant ROI from their investment and driving usage and adoption.

WEBINAR RECORDING:

SLIDES PRESENTED: