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Enterprise Videoconferencing Systems: What to Consider Before You Invest

by SUMMIT on September 29th, 2015

Enterprise Videoconferencing Systems

Videoconferencing is becoming an essential item for modern businesses, bringing distributed teams together and carving a competitive edge through better and more cost-effective collaboration.

However, enterprise-level videoconferencing solutions can cost both time and money—especially if you pick the wrong solution and have to start over. Here’s the lowdown on factors to consider before going ahead with your purchase.

Know Your Requirements

Many companies buy into videoconferencing simply because they have “heard” it’s good for business or because a competitor is using it; they don’t consider how it will integrate into their existing processes.

If you follow this whim, you’ll never be able to reap the full benefits of video collaboration—or worse, you’ll invest in a system that doesn’t fit your business model.

At a minimum, a videoconferencing system needs to be easy to set up, provide high-quality video and audio, and deliver a good overall user experience. Any system that falls short on any of these points won’t get used; your staff will stick with the status quo because it’s reliable and they know how it works.

But an easy-to-use system isn’t the only requirement. To maximize the benefits to your organization, you need to consider:

  • The business goals you aim to achieve through a videoconferencing solution.
  • How culture and processes may need to change for people to get the most from the new technology.
  • How many sites and users you need to connect, and the impact that will have on infrastructure (i.e. hardware, bandwidth, and network requirements).
  • What support requirements you’ll have, and whether that should be accommodated in-house or through a service provider.

Cloud or On-Premises?

There are cloud-based and on-premises videoconferencing solutions, as well as a third option—a hybrid solution that keeps some components in-house, while other aspects are managed off-site.

While cloud-based videoconferencing providers are cost-effective, easily scalable, and can often provide coverage if there’s a lack of in-house IT expertise, an on-premises or hybrid solution might be a better choice for some organizations.

To decide what’s best for your company, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where does most video communication take place—inside or outside of established meeting rooms?
  • Is your staff comprised mostly of in-house employees or remote workers?
  • Have you already invested in hardware, equipment, or infrastructure?
  • Do you handle mission-critical data that needs to remain behind corporate firewalls?
  • Do you have sufficient in-house IT support to cover your needs?

Shoot for Simple and Seamless Collaboration

Clients, partners, and employees can do business anywhere at any time. To meet this need, a videoconferencing solution must have a simple user interface and work seamlessly with corporate endpoints as well as personal devices.

It must also support 3G/4G mobile networks so it’s quick to connect, communicate, and collaborate regardless of location. Web or browser-based videoconferencing capabilities are easy to use.

All of this global connectivity should be possible without dropping conferencing quality or weighing down your Internet bandwidth.

Double Check for Security

Successful collaboration is a moving target; its purpose will change as your business and team evolve. The need for enterprise-grade security, however, will never shift.

Before pouring your dollars into a videoconferencing system, it’s important to consider the security requirements. Consult your IT department to cover every critical aspect before moving ahead.

If you lack in-house IT resources, which is the case for many small and medium size businesses (SMBs), opt for cloud-based and managed services. They can be equally, if not more, secure than on-premises systems.

A videoconferencing system that’s too complicated, too time-consuming, or too difficult to set up is destined to collect dust. By considering why your organization needs videoconferencing, how it will be used, and the range of requirements you’ll need to successfully integrate it into your business, you’ll protect your investment and see greater benefits.

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

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