In this rapidly changing work environment, many are now using remote collaborative platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, Go-To-Meeting or Microsoft Teams to connect and communicate. While the platform might make sense in the short-term, it may not be the best strategic solution to meet your long-term objectives. Given the significant increase in remote activity, now is a great time to evaluate the entire solution to determine possible shortcomings in your meeting workflow.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you assess the solution to see if it the best video communication tool available to allow teams to be successful in a virtual environment.
Though a conferencing platform is essential to conducting virtual meetings, it is only one piece of the puzzle. The overall collaboration solution needs to address the entire meeting lifecycle. Scheduling, launching calls, sharing content,
recording critical sessions, streaming, archiving, training and end user support are all essential in making your conferencing and collaboration initiatives successful. By focusing on the entire meeting lifecycle, not just the platform, you will be able to gain a clear understanding of an organization’s overall meeting requirements.
Is the current solution living up to the expectations of those who use it on a daily basis? There is an enormous difference between a platform and technology that “functions” and one that is strategic to the organization. Inappropriately integrated solutions will have a lasting negative impact on productivity.
Employees will quickly realize they can be more effective if the solution had additional functionality that would help them to do their job better. Maybe they need to record meetings or training sessions for other team members future viewing or want to be able to have multiple groups annotate and alter content in real-time and then quickly save for future reference. No matter how people are currently using the collaborative technology today, it is important to evaluate the solution to see if it has everything teams need to work productivity. A short term solution might not be the best option to enable teams to work together in the long term.
For collaborative technology, it is all about the experience. Has the experience been seamless with people executing large group video sessions, small one-on-one chats and everything in between? Or has your IT team been fielding calls left and right from different groups confused with how to use the technology or needing ways to communicate and collaborate that are not easily available? Do users know who to contact if they are having issues or do they remain frustrated dealing with the same issues over and over again?
By reviewing the different ways teams interact remotely and common issues, you can determine a process to put in place to encourage productivity moving forward. You can establish standards for remote collaboration, detailing the process of how to easily connect and share information across teams and what to do if there are issues. This will ensure everyone knows what tools are available, how to use them and can quickly get working so there is no delay in being able to get tasks completed.
With many different collaborative platforms available, it is easy to focus on the technology rather than how people are using the technology to communicate and collaborate. But the only way to select the right solution is to first focus on what type of results are necessary when using the technology. Determine what is needed to allow people to connect and communicate, how they prefer to interact and what tools they want easily accessible to effectively do their jobs. Also gain an understanding of how various teams might use the technology – the sales team might have very different requirements than HR or production groups.
What type of functionality will they require from a virtual meeting platform? Will teams need group chat, live streaming, content sharing and archiving? Will they need to record meetings for future reference? It is important to determine what is needed and not necessary. Implementing extra technology that will go unused not only incurs unnecessary expense but also creates extra work and time wasted on extraneous options that no one will use.
As you consider the solution that will best fit the collaboration goals of your company, keep in mind how flexible it needs to be for future interactions. For example, the solution should integrate seamlessly with room-based systems, so people in a conference room can easily see, hear and share content with remote participants.
Also consider if people will need to easily communicate using different collaborative platforms. Even if everyone is currently working effectively using one platform such as Skype or Zoom, they will also need to connect with partners, vendors and clients that might be using different platforms. Will you need a solution that allows for easy interoperability across different collaboration platforms? Though the current solution might be working well in the short term, there might be a more robust option that would work better in the long term. It all depends on the way your company will communicate and interact moving forward.
As you work through the different ways that people are currently using collaborative solutions and what they will need in the future, it might make sense to conduct an evaluation of their current experience with the technology. Our Meeting Experience Survey is a great way to learn about how people interact and the technology they use to help improve the overall meeting experience.
Another way to determine if a solution will be successful is to test it out with a small group to see if it is effective. Conducting a Proof of Concept of a platform before implementing it across an organization will allow you to gain a better understanding of how teams will interact with the technology and if it is the right fit. Doing this on a trial basis will eliminate the risk of spending time and money integrating a wrong solution.
Also keep in mind the importance of training. People won’t be able to leverage the technology if they don’t know how to use it. Establishing a training program and providing training tools will encourage usage and drive adoption. Check out Cenero’s Training program to see what tools might work best for your environment.
As President of Cenero, Rob oversees all customer facing aspects of the business and helps shape overall market strategy. By focusing on the customer and integrating technology to streamline business processes, Rob has created a unique business model that produces cost effective solutions for customers while also delivering specific applications that will improve overall value to an organization. Rob has been integral in developing a discovery and design philosophy that addresses criteria typically missed by other integrators. He has been an integral part of designing, deploying and supporting thousands of collaborative solutions for education, corporate and non-profit institutions.