If it’s broke, we can help you fix it. But how will you know if it’s broke? We can help with that, too.
The best corporate and enterprise technology systems are reliable and intuitive. Your successful corporate information and communication technology (ICT) plan should be designed to achieve seamless, reliable, repeatable, intuitive, collaborative meetings, when and where you want.
The many operational, marketing and communication changes currently affecting corporate environments require organizations to reprioritize their commitment to information and communication technologies.
To stay competitive among their peers, organizations must reduce costs and improve overall work-life balance while advancing and maintaining quality connectivity with customers and clients. In today’s environment that means reducing travel, improving efficiency and promoting sustainability initiatives. Many organizations assume that an investment in technology is the key to solving these issues; however, <strong>the answer really is a combination of people, process, technology, and environment and infrastructure investments</strong>. A thorough review of these business operations and a commitment to treating challenges holistically position today’s leading businesses for success in these changing times.
Businesses that focus on these initiatives can be met with several challenges, including an economic climate where cost pressures require organizations to deliver ever-greater customer service for lower fees, and a growing generational divide between junior employees, for whom digital technology is second nature, and senior employees more accustomed to more traditional service-delivery models. Organizations that have invested in the best technology can experience many of the same challenges as organizations that are still in the technology dark ages. All too often investments in technology fail to deliver the expected benefits because their implementation did not consider all critical success factors during the planning stage.
Symptoms of an unsuccessful technology investment include:
- Underutilized presentation and communication technology systems
- Abandoned technology because employees believe it is too hard to use
- Failed meetings
- Long-lingering technical issues
- Frustration with the experience of technology-enabled collaborative meetings
- A lack of trust in the technology
There is hope. By taking a holistic approach and developing a comprehensive plan for deployment that encompasses people + process + technology, many companies are able to implement and use effectively reliable, intuitive technology-enabled collaborative communications.
THE SOLUTION: PEOPLE
“Technology” is used as a blanket term for a wide range of specialty disciplines and communications solutions. Some organizations lump all technology together assuming that someone hired to perform IT desktop support can easily transfer that knowledge into areas like audio system troubleshooting, video bridge management or in-room AV support. Many IT staffers spend a significant portion of their day performing tasks they were not hired to do and are not trained to address. This creates an environment where communications failures are common and staff frustration runs high. Additionally, tasks such as in-room AV support require crucial customer-service skills to ensure presenters are properly supported before, during and after events. A technician performing a task outside his or her comfort zone will lack the confidence to address issues in real-time when tensions may run high.
Prior to making a significant investment in technology, businesses should assess the personnel roles required to make their business-wide ICT solutions function properly and then honestly evaluate their internal staff’s abilities to perform these tasks. While some services must remain in-house functions, increasingly many organizations are looking at outsourcing opportunities where expertise, training and flexible support models can improve performance, minimize turnover and manage costs.
THE SOLUTION: PROCESS
Having a proper organizational structure and a good support team in place is an important first step in a technology upgrade plan. However, a good team needs a structured daily plan to address a successful firm-wide ICT rollout. A multipoint conference is only as strong as its weakest link. Thus, organizations must ensure that their geographically dispersed ICT support teams work as one to ensure all endpoints on a call are operating at a consistent quality level.
Businesses are increasingly relying on audio, video and webconferencing technologies to address their internal and external communications. Employees waste time trying to find an available conference room and more time trying to connect to their peers across the firm, which hinders efficiency and profitability. To ensure consistent quality of service, ICT support teams must follow repeatable steps for each event, collect and review event metrics to track any issues requiring remediation, and regularly exercise systems to ensure critical functionality is maintained across all systems.
THE SOLUTION: TECHNOLOGY
While people and process are critical to an organization’s success, advanced collaboration technology can be truly transformational. Recent breakthroughs in high-definition video, streaming media, high-speed networking and voice-over-IP offer significant advantages over the technology of years past.
AV PRESENTATION SYSTEMS. While presentation systems are nothing new, the latest generation of projectors and flat screen displays offer the image quality and resolution required to view detailed material with clarity. Today the focus is on making presentation technologies ubiquitous, reliable and easy to use. A common control interface will provide presenters with a familiar look and feel in all meeting spaces across the firm increasing usage and simplifying technical support, training and troubleshooting while building confidence in the systems.
VIDEOCONFERENCING: FROM DESKTOP TO HIGH-DEFINITION ROOMS TO TELEPRESENCE. As employees try to get more work done in a day, videoconferencing has become an essential tool. With access to ample IP bandwidth, multi-office businesses are experiencing the power of high-definition video communication from both desktop systems and integrated room systems. Many firms are migrating to internal bridging services to have greater control over their call management. Telepresence spaces offer a “being there” experience, which can reduce meeting fatigue and improve interactivity. A full range of videoconference solutions should be considered within an overall ICT master plan.
WEB CONFERENCING. Web conferencing offers a cost-effective and scalable alternative to videoconferencing. Web conferencing can be used to address meetings and events where video transmission of the presenter is not crucial to the message. Firms should seek one platform across all offices, simplifying scheduling and improving interaction across the firm due to the participants’ familiarity with one firm-wide tool.
RICH-MEDIA CAPTURE. Rich-media capture allows recording and streaming of presentation audio, motion video and high-resolution computer content simultaneously for asynchronous playback via a simple Web interface. The nature of the Web-based playback makes the recordings very portable and easy to distribute. Internal training and customer outreach are excellent uses for rich-media capture.
ROOM SCHEDULING SYSTEMS. Room scheduling systems consist of enterprise software tied to small wall-mounted displays outside of conference rooms. The display indicates room availability as well as detailed scheduling information and the ability to reserve rooms on the spot. These systems can simplify room reservation and promote ad-hoc meetings while maintaining an orderly process for room scheduling.
THE SOLUTION: ENVIRONMENT & INFRASTRUCTURE
The final piece of the technology puzzle is the environment in which these systems are deployed. Even the best collaboration technology cannot overcome a poor room environment or insufficient technology infrastructure. However, a properly designed collaboration space—which takes into account room environment aspects such as lighting, acoustics, furniture, room color and technology equipment heat loads—and technologies connected through a robust infrastructure plant can elevate the impact these solutions have across an organization.
Today’s successful corporate environments are made possible when organizations address operational, marketing and communication challenges with a comprehensive people, process, technology, and environment and infrastructure plan. Email us to find out how we can help your organization meet the challenges you face. And just for reading all this, we’ll treat you to a Starbucks gift card. We appreciate it when our clients do their homework, because that’s what we would do for our people and we want to work with people who do that for theirs.