Four Tips to Choosing a Video Conferencing Solution
Video conferencing is a technology that can either go very right for you… or very wrong. Usually, when it goes wrong, it’s a case of poor communication somewhere in the planning, deployment, or follow-up. We have four questions to put to your vendor that will ensure you avoid catastrophe.
Want to get the most from your video conferencing solution? Ask your provider these four questions:
1. Have you done deployments similar to ours?
Where you want to start with most video conferencing providers is to gauge their familiarity with your business, the number of users you’ll need to support, and the way your IT team works.
Let’s break this down. You want to work with a provider that has helped others in your industry get up and running with video conferencing. Each vertical has its own nuances that require video conferencing to run in a certain way. For instance, do you need video conferencing more for employee-to-employee collaboration or more for customer service? The provider also will be able to save you from gotchas that can happen in the rollout of your new platform and set your expectations appropriately.
West has helped organizations across industries get up and running with video conferencing. We bring our expertise to help your company get up to speed quickly.
Understanding how large your user base is – and will be -- will help you select a provider. If you are anticipating significant growth, you want a partner that can easily handle your expected trajectory. You don’t want to find out too late that your provider’s infrastructure isn’t cut out for anything above a thousand users. You’ll also want to ask how many concurrent users can be supported in case you plan to do town hall meetings or company-wide updates.
West can grow with your business, scaling to hundreds of thousands of users, if necessary. We have the infrastructure to handle your success.
Each business approaches IT in a somewhat different way. Some have their IT teams as part of the executive suite; others have IT consultants. You’re going to want to work with a provider that can handle whatever model you follow. Some providers are most comfortable when IT is an integral part of the corporate structure and find it difficult to work with “external” IT teams.
Share how your team works with the provider to make sure you’re a good match and that their approach to development and support will integrate well with yours.
West will work with your IT team however you need us to. Our goal to tightly couple efforts on both sides for the best outcome for you.
2. What types of internal resources do we need to provide to ensure success?
For the video conferencing provider relationship to thrive, you need to set expectations for the internal resources necessary to get you from concept to deployment to day-to-day management. Some providers want full access to your IT team while others want a designated representative familiar with relevant lines of business. Some want to be able to dig deep into the weeds of your network architecture themselves while others expect you to provide someone for that duty.
West is flexible. We can help with as much or as little of development, deployment, and management lift as you see fit.
You’ll also want to know what budget resources you’ll need – is everything accounted for at the time of contract signing or do you need to seek approval for a rolling budget that can be added to as things pop up? West will help you understand the financial resources you’ll need for your project ahead of time, and communicate any adjustments needed as the project progresses.
Perhaps most important, what are you willing to upgrade in order to get the best result from your deployment? For instance, do you have the resources to boost your bandwidth if you find that performance is flagging during testing? Knowing what you can handle in terms of necessary buildouts ensures everyone is on the same page in what services can and should be deployed (i.e., if you can’t boost your capacity, then you might not want every bell and whistle available to some video conferencing solutions).
West’s experts can perform an analysis of your network needs so that you don’t feel caught off- guard as your video conferencing deployment gets underway. Together, we can figure the most cost-effective way to ensure your video conferencing project has the bandwidth and network resources it needs to succeed.
3. What types of training and adoption services are available?
User training and adoption should be part of your contract negotiations for new services. You don’t want user education – how they will use video conferencing in their day-to-day workflow – to be an afterthought. And more than likely, you’ll want those who know the platform best, the provider, to be the one to do your training – at least the top-level train-the- trainer sessions.
Having the provider involved in your training is helpful because the provider can see from the way users interact with the platform the features and functionality can be added or subtracted to streamline usage. Trying to relay to the provider after the fact can be a bit laborious. West ensures we know your workflow inside and out, so we can make a plan to educate your users on the features and functionality they’ll need to excel at their jobs. Our targeted training programs ensure users learn what they need in a highly efficient manner.
4. Where do we go from here?
This is a loaded question and ca mean so many things. You’ll want to know the provider’s roadmap for the platform and for their organization overall. The provider might have other services under development that you could use down the road or be planning to change its service direction in some way that would make a long-term engagement difficult.
Where do you go from here in terms of your own use of the platform? If you’ve only bought in to a fraction of what the platform can do, what is your timeline for adding more on?
And finally, if you’ve only deployed the platform to a portion of your workforce, maybe the “where do you go from here” question applies to how do you show success to be able to widen usage?
West works at your speed. If you want to do a slow, phased rollout, we can accommodate you.
We’ll also explain our plan for our services portfolio, so you can start to plan for the next pieces of the collaboration pie. And don’t worry, we are in the video conferencing market for the long haul and are excited to see all you are going to accomplish with West’s Unified Communications Services platform.
Video conferencing at its best can provide a significant competitive advantage for your organization. Asking these questions of your provider will help you get the most from your investment.
What to Read Next: