Keeping videoconferencing in the cloud gives enterprises the best of both worlds
Here’s what you need to consider in making the decision to move to the cloud
FOR enterprises operating in a highly-globalised environment with employees based in various geographical locations, effective collaboration is vital in maintaining healthy productive operations, driving innovation, and achieving desired business outcomes.
While there are a number of communication platforms available today, many companies are looking into videoconferencing to enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing among dispersed teams.
In Asia Pacific, enterprises are becoming increasingly interested in videoconferencing, with those in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea leading the way in the adoption of the technology.
While videoconferencing solutions can be deployed on-premises, on the cloud, or as a hybrid system, the operational and cost efficiencies delivered by keeping these in the cloud only show that this is a smart option for enterprises which want the best of both worlds – being able to visually communicate with colleagues and business partners from almost anywhere in the world, and at the same time get rid of infrastructure, management and maintenance costs.
Video can still be a technically challenging environment with a very high profile. It requires a certain level of specialist expertise not widely available in Asia Pacific, making the cloud a good option for organisational IT risk reduction.
There are a number of factors that you need to consider in making the decision to move to a cloud-based videoconferencing solution.
To help you call the shots, here are the important questions that need to be answered:
1) Is your video environment underutilised or not meeting the organisational requirements?
In many organisations, we see instances of small videoconference pilot projects of room-based video systems being deployed and never used. The reason for this is that people have not understood the factors for a successful videoconferencing deployment.
Some tips that could help:
People don’t change the way they work easily and video is a workplace transformational technology that requires the same care and change management as any major system deployment. Have a change management plan.
The video technology used must be exceptionally easy to use, reliable (also read interoperable) and available from anywhere and on any device, else it may fail to meet expectations and ROI (return on investment).
It needs to be widely deployed and usage must be driven from the top, assuring a change in organisational work culture to ensure success. Top management buy-in is needed.
It must be tracked and measured continually, as well as integrated in every area of the business and its systems. It should over time move from a cost-saving measure to a revenue-generating one as the usage of the technology matures.
2) Will your organisation benefit from an immediate system upgrade?
Whether your organisation is already in need of a system upgrade or would be needing one soon, cloud-based videoconferencing can deliver your organisation’s requirement for a communication solution that can be deployed immediately and cost-effectively.
One of the advantages of having a cloud-based videoconferencing solution is that you can get it up and running in no time. This is because the bulk of the process of getting it operational, which includes setting up the infrastructure and provisioning users, is done by the cloud provider.
Another good thing about going cloud is that your new platform will always be updated as your cloud provider will take care of the necessary application updates for your organisation, which also includes all the managed services required to maintain and operate the environment ongoing.
3) Do you need to cut down costs?
Sure, all videoconferencing systems require an investment, but a cloud-based solution eliminates the need for significant capital infrastructure expenditure and installation costs. There really is nothing to install because the bulk of the infrastructure is based on the cloud.
In addition, going cloud also means your organisation only pays for the services and features you need, which lessens the demand on your budget while delivering on the organisational benefits required.
4) Does your business require greater flexibility?
In this dynamic business environment, chances are your organisation’s communication needs would change from time to time, so you need a solution that is easily scalable.
Whether you need to add new users or support multiple videoconferences, with a cloud-based solution, you can easily handover the bulk of the responsibilities to the cloud provider which can handle these ever-changing business video requirements.
All you need to do is contact your cloud provider telling them what needs to be done and they will take care of it.
This not only saves you time and effort, but also allows you to focus on more important core business projects that can help boost your company’s bottom line.
5) Do you need an interoperable solution?
More often than not, traditional on-premises videoconferencing services are not interoperable, tricky, and require specialist skills to operate and manage the environment.
This means they are having trouble communicating with each other due to differences in manufacturer, protocols, and network infrastructure, among others – which result in unproductive meetings and delays.
Since there’s no denying that a seamless videoconference with colleagues, customers, and business partners – who may be using different platforms – is the name of the game, solutions have to be interoperable.
The cloud is the best way to go as cloud-based videoconferencing solutions tend to have spent significant R&D (research and development) investment in ensuring interoperability as a key value proposition of the service.
The added bonus of having your cloud provider ensure that you have a solution that works well with other platforms can be a significant time and resource saver.
6) Is BYOD implemented in your workplace?
A recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) market in Asia Pacific will continue to grow in the coming years as more enterprises across the region are looking at implementing BYOD to increase mobility in their organisations.
On the other hand, 60% of the surveyed organisations said they already have a mobility policy in place to cater to BYOD.
What all these boil down to is that your videoconferencing platform must be able to support a wide range of devices with varying operating systems.
With cloud-based videoconferencing, your colleagues can easily connect with each other using any device, no matter where they are. Plus, you do not have to worry about ensuring that all your users’ devices are integrated into and supported by your system because your cloud provider will do this for you.
Are you ready?
If you answer yes to these questions, then it’s likely that your organisation would be better off with a cloud-based videoconferencing solution.
It is great way to increase productivity and stay connected with colleagues, customers and partners. It is cost efficient and easy to set-up, use and maintain.
Now the more important question: Is your organisation ready for cloud-based videoconferencing?
Shaun Wormald is senior director of Unified Communications at InterCall Asia-Pacific.
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