The changing role of video in the enterprise is reflected in a recent white paper that shows how conferencing technology has evolved, and fairly quickly, from an option primarily for travel cost avoidance to a real collaborative tool.
The Aberdeen Group white paper, titled From Niche to Mainstream: The Evolution of Video Collaboration, is available through Webtorials (registration required). It looks at how some companies are taking the lead on leveraging video in a Unified Communications and collaboration environment, as well as how other enterprises stack up against these leaders and the “best practices” standards they are setting.
One interesting statistic found that in two years, among a group of surveyed companies, travel costs as a video driver fell by half. Sixty-four percent of companies in late 2008 felt they needed to use videoconferencing in response to travel costs, but only 31 percent felt that way at the end of 2010.
Travel costs and “green” concerns are still on enterprises’ minds, the white paper notes, but they aren’t the driver they used to be. Instead, the emphasis has shifted to a recognition that video collaboration can improve productivity, increase revenue, and improve product development and delivery. More of a “holistic business process enabler,” as the white paper puts it.
There is lots of good material in this white paper, but a few items caught our eye. For example:
• Departments most often associated with video usage were the executive level, at 62 percent, and IT at 50 percent. Learning and development and B-to-B sales came in at 38 percent and 34 percent, respectively.
• Among the video leaders, the top 20 percent of companies, 72 percent said they had fully quantified their ROI on videoconferencing, with 95 percent saying they had seen improved revenue as a result, with a 22 percent reduction in travel on top of that.
• Best-in-class companies were 65 percent more likely than other companies to use video as part of a UC solution, which encourages usage because it is easier to access video resources on an unscheduled, ad-hoc basis and better integrates it into the working environment.
The white paper also offers some suggestions, based on the experience of the leading video-using companies and others. For example, an enterprise should dedicate resources to maintaining the network and the endpoints, either with an in-house team or a managed services approach. Employees should be trained and encouraged to use the video tools, and those tools must also be made as easy to access and use as possible.
Also, planning for the future of video, as well as thinking through exactly how it will benefit the enterprise now, are vital. Defining the value propositions across the organization is a must-do before embracing video, and it’s also smart to think now about how you will accommodate video in an increasingly mobile work environment.