Identifying the Value of Video Collaboration

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A whitepaper on video collaboration, developed for PGi.

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Identifying the Value of Video Collaboration

  1. 1. 50 Years of Growth, Innovation and LeadershipIdentifying the Value of Video CollaborationCritical Steps for Supporting Social Business A Frost & SullivanSponsored by Executive Brief www.frost.com
  2. 2. Frost & Sullivan Introduction............................................................................................................................. 3 Business is Changing—Is Your Organization?....................................................................... 4 The Virtual Workplace is the New Normal.......................................................................... 4 Collaboration is Key to Success........................................................................................... 5 Social Business Drives Productivity...................................................................................... 6 Technology Makes Remote Work Feasible........................................................................... 6 The Value of Video Communications.................................................................................... 7 Device Choice Matters,Too.................................................................................................. 7 Software as a Service Delivers Value.................................................................................... 8 What to Look for in a Video Collaboration Solution.......................................................... 9 Ease of Use............................................................................................................................ 9 Features that Support Social Interaction............................................................................ 9 Reliability, Security and Support......................................................................................... 10 Robust Network Capabilities............................................................................................... 10 Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 10 CONTENTS
  3. 3. Identifying the Value of Video Collaboration: Critical Steps for Supporting Social BusinessINTRODUCTIONFrost & Sullivan research shows that almost 85 percent of companies have a remote workforce,with employees working from satellite offices, home offices, and the road on a regular basis.This has led to a clear change in the way employees work, and businesses must adapt inorder to compete in an increasingly global marketplace. The goal is to keep costs in checkwhile supporting work from anywhere, thereby increasing productivity, improving customersatisfaction, and positively impacting the bottom line.Furthermore, companies also must enable collaboration not only among their own employees,but among those employees and their global business partners and customers. Companies cangain an enormous benefit from working with partners and clients to solve problems, createnew products and services, and deepen business relationships. Sharing ideas across lines ofbusiness and areas of expertise, giving everyone the information they need when they need it,and delivering insight into best practices and strategic planning marks the difference betweensuccess and failure in the 21st century.But the changing nature of business also poses a significant challenge: Companies must strive tokeep employees connected, regardless of where they are located or what type of network ordevice they are using. Here, advanced communications and collaboration tools can help. Videoconferencing, for instance, lets organizations reap the benefits of face-to-face communicationswithout the travel costs and lost productivity that accompany in-person meetings. Thetechnology lets users see and read facial expressions and body language, which improvesunderstanding and deepens relationships. When delivered as a service, such technology canalso reduce infrastructure, operational, and energy costs for the organization.The next generation of workers is also bringing a different approach to sharing information andexpertise in the workplace—and they expect to be able to choose the devices and applicationsthey use to do so. Smart companies recognize that right now, they have a rare opportunityto leverage technology to take advantage of this cultural shift. Social networking and othercollaboration applications encourage and reward information sharing and collaboration in away not seen before; they make people more inclined to work together.Embracing new collaboration strategies, and deploying next-generation collaboration tools, isclearly advantageous. Eighty-six percent of enterprises that have deployed such technologiessay the tools have improved innovation within the organization, according to Frost & Sullivanresearch. And companies that deploy the technology now will see a two- to five-year advantagefrom using the tools ahead of the competition.This paper will examine the changing work environment; look at how businesses can gain acompetitive advantage by giving all employees access to technology that supports and encouragesnot just communication, but true collaboration; discuss the value of videoconferencing; andidentify the key elements to look for in a video collaboration solution. Frost.com 3
  4. 4. Frost & Sullivan BUSINESS IS CHANGING—IS YOUR ORGANIZATION? The changing nature of business poses significant challenges when it comes to keeping remote employees connected. Companies must lower operational costs while increasing productivity, shrink decision cycles and times to market, and be ready to seize new business opportunities. And as more employees work from home and the road, rarely seeing their colleagues, business partners, and customers, they must continue to collaborate without driving up costs. As companies become increasingly dispersed, with more and more people working apart from their colleagues, managers and direct reports, the very nature of collaboration is changing. Technology has enabled this virtual workplace, but now it needs to allow employees to communicate and collaborate effectively, regardless of where they are located or what devices they may be using. They must be able to not only reach one another as needed, but also share documents, information and even visual cues so that they can collaborate in real time. The next generation of workers brings a different approach to sharing expertise in the workplace, and according to Frost & Sullivan research, they make up one-third of today’s office workers. That means they are having a significant impact on the cultural and technology shifts in the enterprise. The Virtual Workplace is the New Normal Frost & Sullivan research shows that the number of people working remotely continues to rise. In a recent survey of C-level executives, 84 percent report that some percentage of their employees regularly work outside the office; at 20 percent of organizations, more than 50 percent of all employees do so. Companies can see significant benefits from letting their employees work from anywhere, including higher employee satisfaction and retention rates, and the ability to hire and promote the best people, and savings on facilities and operations. Virtual workers also minimize a company’s carbon footprint, and they can address global needs more effectively by being available for colleagues and customers outside normal business hours. Drivers for the Virtual Workplace • Outsourcing job roles and business partnerships • Mergers and acquisitions • Democratization of business • Green business • Work-life balance 4 Frost.com
  5. 5. Identifying the Value of Video Collaboration: Critical Steps for Supporting Social Business Percentage of Workforce Working Away From Their Office Desks (North America), 2011 (N=205) 0% 2 1–25% 7 16 26–50% 11 51–75% 76–99% 100% 28 37Collaboration is Key to SuccessOf course, companies have always looked for ways to increase and improve collaboration,but in a knowledge economy, in which information, ideas and execution are what separatesuccessful companies from also-rans, ensuring that the best ideas are shared and actedupon is critical. If the late 20th century was the Information Age, the early 21st century is theAge of Collaboration.And yet, getting employees to collaborate has always been a challenge, one which only growswhen employees are located in different offices or spend much of their time at home oron the road. After all, collaboration isn’t limited to pre-planned meetings and events, withclear goals and action items. Much of the most critical collaboration in an organization is adhoc—when a salesperson button holes a manager to get sign off on a unique customer request,or a marketing exec asks a product manager for help with the collateral for a new campaign.With such off-the-cuff interactions, getting the right information to the right people when theyneed it is key.Companies are also struggling to enable collaboration among employees and their businesspartners and customers, who are increasingly located around the world. Businesses can seeenormous benefit from working with partners and clients to solve problems, create newproducts and services, and generate deeper business relationships—but to do so, they mustoutfit their employees with the right tools and technologies to get the job done.The need for better collaboration is driving new forms of communication tools, such asintegrated audio, Web and video conferencing. These technologies let employees, teams andcommunities share information and connect with one another across geographic and culturalboundaries, using a single interface. The key is making them available to employees wheneverthey need them, so they can initiate such interactions on the fly. Frost.com 5
  6. 6. Frost & Sullivan Benefits of a Virtual Workplace • Tap employees, partners and customers anywhere in the world • Cut travel and facilities costs • Improve employee productivity and customer relationships • Support employees who work evenings and weekends • Reduce your carbon footprint • Attract the best talent regardless of location Social Business Drives Productivity As the workplace grows more virtual, the challenge of getting people talking grows, too. Communications like texting and IM get quick results but offer very little in the way of valuable dialog. E-mail is even less meaningful, and traditional audio conferencing is ineffective when it comes to keeping everyone engaged in the discussion. Simply enabling people to communicate doesn’t mean they will collaborate in a purposeful way—one that helps the company achieve its goals and improve the bottom line. For that, we need a new way of working—and we have it, in social media. As people increasingly use next-generation technology—including blogs, wikis, chat, conferencing, tweets, team spaces and video—they are collaborating and leveraging information in an entirely new way. Using these technologies requires that people share, rather than hoard, information and expertise, and that they help others when needed. Only that way can one build a reputation and attract friends and followers. Companies that leverage technology to harness this new willingness to share knowledge and expertise will see a marked improvement in collaboration—and that will help them stay competitive in a global marketplace. Frost & Sullivan research shows that the majority of companies that deploy advanced communications tools say they enhance productivity, mobility and collaboration in a virtual world. Among all enterprise Enhanced collaboration tools improve access to best practices across the enterprise and its communications, broader ecosystem, including customers, suppliers, partners, and remote and office-based employees. This ensures people get the information they need when they need it, anytime and video conferencing from anywhere; and that they actually use it to effect change, improve business processes, and is seen as having the turn opportunities into new business. biggest bang for the buck when it comes to reducing travel TECHNOLOGY MAKES REMOTE WORK FEASIBLE costs and delivering a As they look to support a virtual workplace, companies must be prepared to deploy the best clear ROI, according technology for supporting the new ways of working, while also paying attention to business to a Frost & Sullivan processes and overall corporate culture. Choosing the right tools for the job, identifying a survey of CXOs. clear ROI, and making sure employees have the technology when they need it will ensure the transition goes smoothly and yields all the anticipated benefits. 6 Frost.com
  7. 7. Identifying the Value of Video Collaboration: Critical Steps for Supporting Social BusinessThe Value of Video CommunicationsThe research is clear: people understand more when they see people speaking, rather than A recent Frost &just listening to their voices.Video conferencing enables such interactions without the cost and Sullivan study showstime that travel demands. As a result, it can help companies establish a leadership position in an that almost a quarterincreasingly hyper-competitive market. of respondents who use video conferencingHappily, recent improvements in desktop video conferencing make it easier and more do so every day, andcost-effective than ever to give the benefits of visual communications to all employees, regardless 45 percent rate it asof where they are located or what type of network connection they have. Companies don’tneed to invest in expensive room-based or telepresence systems. Hosted services make it “very important” toeasy to deploy the technology to everyone, using low-bandwidth applications that allow users their operationsto see their colleagues, customers and business partners, and make their interactions muchmore valuable and productive.Furthermore, video conferencing offers significant return on investment, often paying foritself in a matter of months. Frost & Sullivan research shows that when air travel is required,business trips average $1,000 per person; when participants drive to meetings, the costs canstill run hundreds of dollars. But companies should also factor in the softer benefits of videoconferencing. When they can attend meetings from their desks, employees stay productive;video conferencing makes audio and Web meetings more effective; and it helps strengthenvirtual teams by letting remote and dispersed employees feel more a part of the team. Thatallows companies to support virtual workers without sacrificing productivity or performance.Video conferencing can be used in multiple ways within an organization. For instance, marketingteams can use video on calls with their agencies to give feedback on presentations and discussnew marketing programs; salespeople can leverage video to make a deeper, more personalconnection with prospects and customers, without incurring the cost of regular travel; HRmanagers can use video for recruiting interviews and on-boarding new employees, regardlessof where they are located; and line-of-business managers can use video to deliver performance Frost & Sullivanreviews and strategic guidance, benefiting from the ability to see facial expressions and body research showslanguage and thereby better gauge reaction. that companies that use advancedOf course, collaboration isn’t just about seeing others across a table or the Internet. To be communicationsproductive, employees need access to presentations and documents, so they can work on and collaborationprojects in real time. They also need access to people and information, regardless of wherethey’re located or what tools they’re using. Video technology that offers not just visual technologies gaininteraction, but also a connection to people, applications and content, will better enable a clear competitivecollaboration than traditional video or Web conferencing solutions. advantage. Of those companies that have deployed such tools,Device Choice Matters,Too 72 percent say thatIncreasingly, employees want to use their own choice of technology in the workplace, a trend they have experiencedFrost & Sullivan calls the “consumerization of IT,” since it represents a shift in how technology better performance.is discovered and adopted. Historically, employees were introduced to new technology at theoffice, and only adopted it at home when its value to their personal lives became clear and Frost.com 7
  8. 8. Frost & Sullivan prices went down. But today, it’s more likely that employees discover new technologies on their own and bring them into the workplace as they see fit. As a result, they now expect to be able to use the devices they choose, rather than the ones their IT department gives them. Currently, roughly 10 percent of all consumer tablets, like the iPad, are used for business, according to Frost & Sullivan research. We expect that to grow to 70 percent of all tablets shipped by 2015. Likewise, more than two-thirds of all iPhones used at work are currently purchased by employees; by 2015, that will represent closer to half of all such devices. Clearly, IT departments must consider device choice when they deploy services and applications, since their employees will use whatever machine they want. Five Tips for Managing Virtual Employees • Choose remote workers with care. Although most companies will see significant benefits from allowing employees to work remotely, some employees don’t have discipline to do so. Make sure your virtual workers are experienced and mature enough to handle the change. • Trialing is good. Letting people work from home one or two days a week will help ensure it’s a good fit for everyone—not just the virtual employee, but also his or her manager and colleagues. • Equip workers with the right devices. Virtual workers will succeed only if they have the right tools. These include a notebook PC or tablet, mobile phone, access to video and Web conferencing tools, and a headset. • Shift your reward system.Virtual workers should be rewarded for results, not time spent on any given project or any given workday. Publicly acknowledge the efforts of virtual teams in your organization. • Assign virtual workers to small project teams. Working with one or two colleagues on a specific task ensures remote employees get to know one another better, which will enable better engagement whenever they work together again. Software as a Service Delivers Value Hosted video services can offer significant benefits to organizations. By eliminating capital expenses, hosted services move the cost of video into a regular monthly operating expense. That can be a significant advantage for small businesses, organizations in certain verticals (including education and government), and businesses with limited access to up-front funding. They also offer better scalability, making it easy for companies to add or remove users as needed; allow IT to focus on more strategic initiatives within the organization; ensure users are always on the most up-to-date version of the software; and support business continuity in the event of an outage or natural disaster. 8 Frost.com
  9. 9. Identifying the Value of Video Collaboration: Critical Steps for Supporting Social Business Benefits of Hosted Video Communications • Eliminate Capex in favor of Opex • Focus IT on strategic initiatives • Improve feature function and reliability • Easily scale up or down as needed • Leverage updates and fixes immediatelyWHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A VIDEO COLLABORATION SOLUTIONVideo conferencing is clearly hitting a nerve; the industry is poised to see double-digitgrowth between 2011 and 2016. But not all video conferencing devices and services are alike;companies looking to enable planned and ad-hoc collaboration, rather than simply replacein-person meetings, should consider a tool that is easy to access and use, supports socialinteraction, and offers business-grade reliability, security and support.Ease of UseMore than anything else, a video collaboration solution must be easy to use. With enterprisecommunications and collaboration tools, return on investment can only be achieved ifemployees actually use the technology. Once they are trained on the tool, users must be ableto access it without support from IT and without requiring any downloads; find the featuresand functions they need; and intuitively understand the interface. They also need to be able toinvite partners and customers from outside the organization, and those participants must feelcomfortable using the technology without any training, support or downloads.Also, look for a solution that offers integrated audio, either as a dial-in/dial-out option or viaVoice over IP (VoIP). This will eliminate the need for users to remember multiple telephonecodes, making it easier for them to connect to the conversation with a single click. It will alsokeep costs down, especially if you can get an all-you-can-eat plan for TDM voice. (VoIP shouldbe available as part of any basic desktop video service.)Features that Support Social InteractionMore and more, employees are using social media at work to facilitate relationships, shareinformation and expertise, support customers, and develop thought leadership in the broaderbusiness community. Frost & Sullivan research shows that almost two-thirds of companiesare using social media like Facebook and Twitter to interact with customers and collaboratewith one another. As they deploy video conferencing and collaboration technology, theseorganizations must ensure the tools don’t exist in a silo, and they fit employees’ expectationsfor social business.Traditional video and Web conferencing applications and services help support virtual business,but smart companies will look for more advanced solutions that take collaboration out of Frost.com 9
  10. 10. Frost & Sullivan the meeting paradigm and make video interactions simply a part of everyday work life. That requires a tool that is both customizable and personal—one which lets users add content, including details about their work skills and experience, interests, and goals, as well as video and Web-based data. It should also allow them to maintain a list of contacts and frequent visitors, as well as information about those people, so they can launch interactive sessions within the context of a broader relationship. And it should offer the ability to host sidebar conversations, so that participants can interact with one another on their own terms, as needed. Reliability, Security and Support Companies should treat video collaboration as they would any other IT application or service, and look for a solution that delivers reliability, security and 24-7 support. Network outages, software glitches, poor performance, and other issues will negatively impact users’ experience—and if an employee has even one bad meeting using a new technology, he’s unlikely to ever use it again. Furthermore, since virtual employees often work with colleagues who are located in different geographic regions and across multiple time zones, they need access to support personnel outside “normal” business hours. Since ROI is closely tied to usage when it comes to conferencing and collaboration applications, companies are wise to select a provider they can count on to ensure maximum benefit from their investment. Robust Network Capabilities To ensure maximum performance, video conferencing services must offer reliable and robust network capabilities, with the necessary redundancies and service level objectives (SLOs). But they must also work on mobile devices, like the iPhone and even the iPad, since so many employees use such tools as their primary communications device. CONCLUSION As employees increasingly work from anywhere, and any device, they need advanced communications and collaboration applications such as video conferencing to help them get the job done. By letting employees leverage face-to-face communications to better collaborate across geographies, time zones and cultures—without incurring the high travel costs and productivity downtime that accompany in-person meetings—the right video collaboration solution can support the new way of working. The result: increased productivity, lower costs, shorter cycle times and a stronger bottom line. 10 Frost.com
  11. 11. Silicon Valley San Antonio London 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 7550 West Interstate 10, Suite 400, 4, Grosvenor Gardens, Mountain View, CA 94041 San Antonio, Texas 78229-5616 London SWIW ODH,UK Tel 650.475.4500 Tel 210.348.1000 Tel 44(0)20 7730 3438 Fax 650.475.1570 Fax 210.348.1003 Fax 44(0)20 7730 3343 877.GoFrost • myfrost@frost.com http://www.frost.comABOUT FROST & SULLIVANFrost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company’sTEAM Research, Growth Consulting, and Growth Team Membership™ empower clients to create a growth-focusedculture that generates, evaluates, and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 50 years ofexperience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses, and the investment community from morethan 40 offices on six continents. For more information about Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Partnership Services, visithttp://www.frost.com.For information regarding permission, write:Frost & Sullivan331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100Mountain View, CA 94041Auckland Dubai Mumbai Sophia AntipolisBangkok Frankfurt Manhattan SydneyBeijing Hong Kong Oxford TaipeiBengaluru Istanbul Paris Tel AvivBogotá Jakarta Rockville Centre TokyoBuenos Aires Kolkata San Antonio TorontoCape Town Kuala Lumpur São Paulo WarsawChennai London Seoul Washington,Colombo Mexico City Shanghai DCDelhi / NCR Milan Silicon ValleyDhaka Moscow Singapore

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