Using technology to bring people together over distance has become a commonplace activity but the number of options available to do this is mind-boggling. And most importantly, getting clarity on a solution can be difficult.
Collaboration is a powerful force. Organizations recognize this and use collaboration technologies in strategic ways.
There are strategic goals that can help your organization cut costs and drive revenues.
The Four Goals Are
- Enhance communication
- Speed problem solving
- Accelerate innovation
- Transform the way you do business
At a high level, organizations are looking to connect room systems and individuals together over distance with the following possible combinations:
- Room system to Room system(s)
- Room system to Individual(s)
- Individual to Individual(s)
In our last blog, we talked about the 4 different kinds of conferencing technologies:
Creating the Right Balance of Technologies
The idea is to create the right balance of technologies for individuals and for room systems that suit your organization. The capabilities and the costs of these conferencing technologies are different and each of these conferencing technologies brings a different dimension of richness to the collaborative experience. Think about this in terms of creating the right balance of the technologies. I like to use the analogy of a spinning top, which is made up of these four conferencing technologies. Each of the four technologies has a different cost to implementing it and brings an associated benefit or richness of experience.
The Spinning Top Analogy
1) You must have audio to effectively have any kind of real time conference. As audio is table stakes, it is the point of the top. Without audio the top will not spin. Without audio other conferencing technologies are simply ineffective.
2) The portion of the top that each of the 4 modalities makes up relates to the richness of that conferencing modality. How robust does your Top need to be?
3) There is also a related dollar cost to each of the conferencing modalities and those cost figure into the overall cost-benefit equation.
The Velocity of Collaboration Revisited
In my last blog, I adapted the four conferencing modalities described above from the Frost & Sullivan, Velocity of Collaboration model. Your organization’s Velocity of Collaboration will be determined by two factors:
1) The Richness of the conferencing capabilities that are deployed
2) The Access your employees are given to these technologies (Access = Availability + Usability)
The “Richness”, combined with “Usability” and “Availability” of the technology will determine the Velocity of Collaboration that your organization can attain.
The Velocity of Collaboration Formula
An organization must decide which of the conferencing technologies are required for connecting over distance. With these benefits you can determine the level of collaboration that can be achieved.
This graphic below shows the relative richness of the conferencing modalities. Richness, together with how you have deployed the technology, your Access (= Availability + Usability), determines how your collaborative capabilities will increase.
Create an Enabler to Greater Collaboration Within the Organization
Once user based collaboration capability requirements are determined, you can select the technologies for meeting rooms and for individuals connecting into conferences. This process is critical and avoids a lot of wasted effort. It also brings a cohesive approach to the technology roadmap your organization requires and helps turn the patchwork of technology found in most organizations into a tapestry.
Going back to the RFI discussion in Part I of this blog, the customer would like Teleconferencing and to layer in Webinars when an Internet connection is available. Teleconferencing, also known as audio conferencing is the most basic form of conferencing technology hence it provides the least “Rich” collaborative experience. Note the customer’s interest in webinars made possible via web conferencing reflects a desire for a richer collaborative experience.
That is why I asked the questions:
- Will the solution they select really meet their needs?
- Do they truly know what they want?
- Do they know what is possible?
I think the answer to each of these questions is “No”.
The ET Group has helped many organizations through this process. Please contact us if we can be of assistance to your organization.