June 2014 – The business case for video conferencing is changing. Traditionally, organizations turned to video conferencing as a means of avoiding business travel. As a result, the obvious way to justify investments in video conferencing solutions was by calculating the cost savings associated with NOT traveling. The old-school method of justifying video conferencing investments through (1) travel expense reduction, and (2) employee time savings continues to work very well – even in today’s business climate. However, this is just the top of the iceberg. Now all this is changing. Today’s savvy enterprises have discovered that video conferencing can be used for much more than the standard project or team meeting. In fact, when properly deployed and utilized, video conferencing can help transform the way an organization does business. Organizations – large and small – are leveraging visual collaboration to find new clients, serve existing clients better, and improve their bottom line. Customers today are using video conferencing in many ways that were not imaginable just a few years ago. These implementations and use cases are delivering benefits far beyond the cost savings associated with business travel and general purpose meetings.
Moreover, there are new tendencies in how organisations around the world are using video conferencing:
Video Users Tend to Use Video Often. The majority of people who use video conferencing participate in video calls every day or every week.
Video has Expanded Past the Boardroom. VC users are using video on their PCs and notebooks, video-enabled phones, tablets, and smartphones. In fact, more users participate in video calls using PCs and notebooks than in meeting rooms!
Soft Benefits Surpass Hard Benefits. Travel reduction is no longer the primary benefit of video conferencing. The top spots now go to increased efficiency/productivity, increased impact of discussions, and expedited decision-making (with travel reduction tied for third place).
Few would have anticipated five years ago that consumers would use their cell phones to purchase movie tickets, or that Internet access would enable a person to tour a house for sale in the next town, play scrabble in real time with remote friends, or use a smart phone to compare prices from many sources while shopping. The cell phone isn’t just for talking anymore. Similarly, video conferencing is no longer just for business travel replacement.
Savvy business leaders are realizing that the use case for video conferencing is expanding, and that visual communications is a cost effective and dynamic tool for:
Team building: bringing together team members across distances to collaborate on projects and to share knowledge and ideas
Productivity and efficiency gains: allowing workers to communicate without the lost time and increased expenses of cross-country, cross-city, or cross-campus travel and to make more informed decisions faster by bringing appropriate expertise into the process as needed
Customer outreach: developing more intimate relations with customers, prospects, and suppliers; solidifying long term relationships; and ultimately driving top line revenues
New services enablement: delivering medical, educational, and other face-to-face-based services when external factors make physical interaction inconvenient, not cost-effective, or impossible.
Today more than ever, the strategic use of video conferencing can help organizations reduce cost, increase sales, decrease customer churn, attract new clients, and change the way they deliver their products and services. These real-world benefits and business opportunities are far too valuable to ignore.