The continuing advancements of today’s collaboration technology make it possible to transform virtually any place in the world into an ‘office.’ These days, my ‘office’ is much more mobile, since I’m usually working on wireless from my laptop, tablet or phone rather than a traditional desktop computer. I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to feel tethered to a desk.
Unified Communications, like Microsoft Lync, has also made us more productive and efficient. For most, instant messaging and VoIP calls have become second nature but for many, video is still in the early adoption phase.
So, how can we make video easier to access and more intuitive? Enter: Lync.
We’ve been working with Microsoft for a long time. So long, in fact, that we have the broadest set of solutions in the industry that are optimized for and interoperable with Lync (40+ options). In my role as a Marketing Program Director for Microsoft, I’ve learned about the challenges organizations face with video adoption. The solution, though, can be simple. Especially for organizations that have Lync, these tips can make a world of difference in speeding adoption and usage of video. The employees in the organization will be glad for it, because the ROI can be tremendous.
The Challenges to Adoption:
Customers we’ve met with have shared three distinct concerns about video:
Quality of Performance
Limited Leadership Buy-in
The quality is paramount to adoption. Steve Lohr of the New York Timesreported in 2012 (two years is an eternity in technology) that even the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds – is too long to wait for a web page to load. We’re spoiled and impatient!
A lack of buy-in and support can prohibit adoption. In some circumstances, leadership is not prepared for the changes UC can bring to an organization or they may lack the type of high-level, long term UC vision. In addition, smaller companies struggle with limited IT support.
Users need to connect to be able to connect with suppliers, colleagues and customers outside of the walls of their organization. Interoperability with other video platforms is paramount to adoption.
To avoid the above uncertainties, we offer three recommendations that will make your video adoption seamless:
Ensure your network is video-ready
Have Adoption & Migration Plans
Identify Critical Success Factors and Measure Your Progress
Bandwidth plays an extremely important role in video conferencing. There is a strong correlation between how well your network performs and the success of your video solution deployment and adoption. Introducing video to your network, you’ll want to understand the impact, bandwidth requirements and utilization in advance.
As mentioned earlier, application performance is absolutely critical to success. Having a plan – or plans – will ensure the end user is prepared, trained and approves of the experience. Make sure your adoption plan includes…
…a communications plan: what are you rolling out?
…a training plan: how do your employees use it?
…a migration plan: when will employees transition?
…a support plan: who can help if something goes awry?
…an operations plan: which includes a series of tests to ensure proper bandwidth is available
Most importantly, after implementation, ask for user feedback – especially for early adopters. Understanding employee pain points and correcting them will allow them to gravitate faster toward embracing video.
Poor video performance can be a direct result of device challenges and limit your success. Consider assessing all performing devices – in the office and at home – to ensure they are Lync qualified and compatible.
Finally, measure your success! My colleague, Russ Colbert, recently published a byline in Federal Computer Week on the adoption of video in our Federal Government. Russ noted the Navy was one of the early adopters of video collaboration and his superior would ask him every day to estimate the return on investment. Positive ROI will help build support from senior leadership.
This is an exciting time for collaboration. To think we can travel around the world without leaving our office! Face-to-face collaboration is changing our business world, making us more collaborative, more productive, and more efficient while improving work-life balances. Video will soon surpass email and instant messaging as the most desired means to conduct business.