What are the real benefits of videoconferencing for business? How much money can a small company save, using videoconferencing? That’s what we are going to explore in this article.
Benefits of Videoconferencing
One of the main videoconferencing advantages is the possibility to replace various types of face-to-face and group meetings with virtual ones. Videoconferencing, timely integrated into company’s life, brings you significant cost savings, makes your organizational and collaborative work with partners more effective, speeds up decision-making processes, increases employee productivity, improves corporate image. As we’ll see, videoconferences bring both tangible, measurable, quantitative benefits and intangible ones, related to the qualitative aspects.
The tangible benefits are associated both with cost savings, or primary savings, and time savings, or secondary savings. The main aspect to consider is direct costs of employee business travel management. Business trips can be related to various needs: vertical and horizontal team meetings, conferences among remote national and international offices, meetings with suppliers, partners or clients. The primary savings mainly consist of the following: travel expenses (transportation, accommodation, meals), administrative costs (refund practices, travel agency costs), payment of travel expenses. One of the key benefits of videoconferencing consists in the secondary savings. Taking into account that in total a business trip lasts about 10 hours and a meeting lasts about 4 hours, by replacing a business trip with a virtual meeting you can get significant time savings, equal to 6 hours per person. Let’s assume that we replace one business trip in a month with a videoconference, a single employee would get an increase in productivity of 3,75% (6 hours out of 160 monthly ones). From the company’s perspective, each virtual meeting of about 5 participants will help its managers to save about 30 hours of productive time, and, consequently, to get the secondary savings, the amount of which depends on the level of employees’ qualification and related hourly costs of their work. As a result, time saving becomes a real benefit for the company, as it leads to:
increase in productivity
better use of human resources-reduction in time spent on business trips (reduction in costs, related to unproductive hours of employees’ business trips)
reduction in time dedicated to the administrative management of business trips (administrative staff costs reduction).
Obviously, international business trips are more significant in terms of secondary savings than business trips within one country, as soon as their distances are longer and their managerial complexity is higher.
The intangible benefits are associated with the capacity for openness and communication of the company and within the company, management processes optimization, decision-making processes acceleration, the improvement of image, efficiency and corporate climate both within the company and in its relations with partners. The systematic use of videoconferencing allows you to optimize company’s inter-functional connections and connections among branch offices, increase employee involvement, foster collaboration with colleagues and with the external network. From human resources perspective, videoconferencing improves both personal effectiveness of employees at work and their life quality, especially if they have to travel frequently, as in this case there are advantages from the professional, psychological and physical point of view, like reduction of stress caused by business trips and reduction of time spent in traffic. Moreover, videoconferencing gives an opportunity to organize meetings immediately, which makes them particularly useful in case you have some urgent decisions to make with physically distant people.
Videoconference for small companies and professionals
We shouldn’t think that only large companies with a great number of employees and several branch offices can benefit videoconferencing. Even a small company, a professional studio or single professionals, meeting with clients, colleagues or partners, can use videoconferences to cut their travel costs and minimize unproductive time spent on business trips, increasing in such a way their business profitability. The following calculation describes a typical situation in a small company.
How much does an off-site meeting cost?
Let’s take a single manager who goes from Rome to Milan for a meeting of about 3 hours. Reducing the expenses to the minimum we have: 2nd class train travel, subway instead of a taxi, a sandwich instead of a lunch at a restaurant.
Train (return ticket): 170€
Metro (4 trips): 4€
TOTAL TRAVEL EXPENCES: 184€
A train trip lasts at least 6 hours and let’s suppose that four metro trips last 1 hour in total. During a train trip you can make some calls, write some emails, read or write a document, so we can reduce the total amount of unproductive hours from 7 to 4. A manager costs a company at least 80€/hour, so unproductive hours in total will cost 4×80€ = 320€, not including travel expenses.
So, the total cost which the company will have to pay for a three-hour off-site meeting of one manager amounts to 504€.
How much can you save with videoconferencing?
We have seen that a meeting that requires a business trip (without overnight stay) of a single manager costs the company about 500€. If we consider a minimum of one trip per month for 11 moths we’ll get a sum of 5.500€ per year. Spending annually about 10 times less (600€) you’ll have a virtual meeting room for up to 6 participants, available 24 hours a day. That means that a single manager, using the videoconferencing service instead of making business trips, can help save his company about 5.000€ in a year.
Example: “Rodinò & Partners”
Rodinò & Partners is a Lloyd’s of London Correspondent and Coverholder company, which provides high-quality services in the sphere of consulting and insurance brokerage. Before videoconferencing service acquisition at least one of the company’s managers made an average of 4 business trips from Naples to Milan each month. As the average number of business trips in the company is about 46 annually, company’s travel expenses were about 24.000€ each year. In late 2012, striving to cut travel costs and minimize to the utmost the unproductive time, Mr. Ugo Rodinò, the founder of the company, decided to buy from Unified Communication an annual subscription to the JOINVIDEO videoconferencing service. “Even two first months of videoconferencing – confirms Mr. Rodinò – have already allowed us to halve the number of business trips, as now, using laptops and tablets, we hold high-quality JOINVIDEO virtual meetings”. So, it’s expected that in 2013 the company will save more than 11.000€. Step by step such savings will obviously encourage more and more companies to choose virtual meetings over ordinary ones.
Why should you choose JOINVIDEO service
JOINVIDEO is a cloud-based videoconferencing service. With JOINVIDEO even a PC or a tablet can turn into a videoconferencing system, which lets you hold virtual meetings that are as immediate as face-to-face ones.
If you need a professional videoconferencing solution, JOINVIDEO will help you to meet this need in any work context, because:
it is extremely economical
it offers high resolution video and smoothness of images even in case some of the participants have bad Internet connections
it has a real-time optimization system that helps each device to transmit video in the best quality possible, according to the available bandwidth and the features of the device itself; all this without affecting the video quality of other participants: as a result, everyone gets the best video quality they could get in their particular situation
it doesn’t require any additional hardware installation
it can be used on a variety of fixed and mobile devices: PCs and laptops (Windows and Mac), tablets (iPads and Android devices), smartphones (iPhones and Android devices), videoconferencing systems, telephones and audio conferencing devices
it is compatible with any H.323 videoconferencing system present in the market
it provides a simple and intuitive access to videoconferences: enter your credentials (or just your name if you are invited as a guest) on the portal of the service and join the meeting room, where your conference will take place, with one simple click
it supports data sharing (documents, presentations, charts, tables) during the videoconference; these options can be used by all the participants, H.323 videoconferencing systems included
it allows to hold HD videoconferences with up to 100 participants
service available 24 hours a day
it provides all audio/video tools that are necessary for complex events management: connect/disconnect participants, enable/disable microphones and webcams, etc.
it provides tools for videoconference recording and its live or deferred transmission in streaming.