Video conferencing, once the purview of the C-suite and their cronies, has become democratized. Desktop cameras, webcams, and ever-better mobile networks have meant that anyone can use video to communicate, untethered from the expensive, complex legacy room-based systems that used to the be norm. That said, not all video conferencing approaches are the same, and it’s critical to weigh what’s specifically important to your business when making a decision on how to bring it into the mix.
Here are five important steps to take when pondering the choice of a video conferencing system:
Determine Your Features & Functionality Needs
Every department in a business will use video for different purposes. Make sure to consult the heads and key users within each part of your business—the more they’re involved in the decision-making process, the more likely you will be to see increased adoption of the new system. Employee surveys can be a valuable tool as well. Once the feedback is in, you can put together an organized list of requirements, separated into “must have” and “nice to have.”
Do An Initial Cost-Benefit Analysis
A video conferencing system, especially one that works with a Unified Communications (UC) suite, can carry a number of cost-savings. When evaluating how much a solution will impact your bottom line, it’s important to take into account not only the upfront, one-time purchase price of a system but the long-term outcomes as well. Initial investment may include equipment, software, and installation fees, plus recurring costs for licenses, user fees, and costs for IT staff to maintain the system. These factors should be weighed against expected productivity gains and time savings, as well as savings in travel budgets and the like.
Take Into Account Your Trade-Offs
It is unlikely that you will find your dream system that has everything you want, and nothing you don’t, within the ideal cost profile. Tradeoffs will need to be made, so examining major levers for your specific business is critical. Make sure to consider features and functionality, end-user experience, deployment and setup complexity, vendor reputation, case studies, testimonials, vendor customer service and support, and of course, cost. Creating a grid comparing each of these for the solutions you are considering can be an invaluable decision-making exercise.
Consult Your Trusted Advisor
Working with a technology solutions provider can take much of the headache out of the selection process. These partners can bring a variety of video solutions to the table, with a mix of options to flip those levers we just talked about. These companies are in no vendor’s pocket, but instead look to tailor the right solution to your business. Once they know what you’re looking for, they can bring a variety of search for video solutions, from established brands to newer players with cutting-edge technology.
Consider The Cloud
We live in an age of the borderless office, with disparate workforces and decentralized operations. A cloud approach to video conferencing can deliver a consistent end-user experience, where everyone is using the same applications and can easily collaborate in real time. It can provide integration with presence, which means that users can be added quickly on the fly when needed. And, mobile or remote employees can easily join in, as everyone gets consistent access across screens to the same conference capabilities.