5 steps to seeing video adoption soar

Despite the promise, a lot of videoconferencing equipment sits around gathering dust. Identify the common pitfalls and get someone other than senior management using it

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Companies of all sizes have invested in IP-based videoconferencing (VC) technology, spurred on by promises of enhanced collaboration, travel cost savings and environmental benefits. But while VC is more pervasive and easier to use than ever, business and IT managers alike are disappointed by the fact that a lot of corporate desktop, room-based and immersive video gear sits gathering dust, unused by most employees. According to market research firm Frost & Sullivan, in 31% of organizations currently deploying video it is only used by senior management. In this post, I’ll walk you through some of the most common reasons why people don’t use video and how you can avoid these pitfalls to drive adoption and maximize RoI.

1. What, we have video!? It sounds pretty obvious, but many corporate video initiatives fail to gain traction because end-users don’t know that it is available for their use. Some companies have found adoption success through developing and executing an ongoing promotional plan to announce the VC rollout (including spelling out the business drivers and anticipated benefits), identify available resources, provide straightforward ‘how to’ instructions, and transparently report on the video utilization and RoI actually achieved. An executive sponsor (better yet, sponsors) can also help to spread the word through periodic e-mails encouraging usage.

2. People don’t know how to use it. Hard to believe, but a lot of companies roll out video without training end-users. Or they just drop the manufacturer’s user guide in the video meeting room expecting employees to figure it out for themselves (if you’re smart enough to put that Swedish cabinet together, you can set up a multi-point call…). According to a global study of the barriers to adoption conducted by Ipsos Mori on Cisco’s behalf in mid-2010, 21% of respondents perceived video as difficult to use. You can avoid a lot of usage pain by investing time up front to hold training sessions for all employees, walking them through the basic “how’s”, “when’s” and “why’s” of setting up calls and the business value of video. Also, develop step-by-step instruction sheets written with the most non-technical users in mind and display them prominently in video rooms and online. Additionally, delivering video to desktops will help drive familiarity with the technology.

3. Scheduling a call is a headache. There are few things more frustrating than wanting to use video for a meeting, but not being sure about what resources are available and working. Integrating video resource scheduling with Outlook or Lotus Notes calendars helps make video conference booking simple. To free up availability, you may want to make video rooms off-limits for non-video meetings. For events  and large group meetings, it’s a good idea to have technical support resources on hand to configure and test connections in advance, manage and monitor the conference for quality and uptime.

4. It’s hard to get help when you need it. As corporate IT shops contend with higher business demands and flat – or shrinking – budgets, a lot of companies don’t have the video help desk resources needed to provide on-demand, dedicated help and ensure high user satisfaction levels. One solution to this problem is out-tasking video technical support to VC Managed Service Providers (VC MSPs) that can provide assistance when users have trouble placing a call or want to know how to use a feature.

5. Video quality doesn’t measure up to expectations. With the explosion of HD TV in homes, most business users have exactly zero patience for grainy, jerky video at work. To avoid performance issues, companies need to make sure they have Quality of Service (QoS) enabled throughout the network, with sufficiently high bandwidth, low latency, low jitter connections required to support HD video traffic.

Start preparing for increased videoconferencing use by reading The IP Imperative, a white paper from Frost & Sullivan

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