Business communications are evolving at lightning speed. Communication technology that was considered acceptable just a couple of years ago has quickly become outdated. As companies employ a larger volume of remote workers who rely heavily on multiple communication platforms, there is a higher demand than ever for the most modern, intuitive offerings. Remote workers and their in-office colleagues want (and expect) easy (consumer-like) anytime, anywhere access to collaboration tools that allow them to interact face-to-face whether they’re at home, in the office or somewhere in-between.

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As IT professionals find it increasingly costly time-consuming, and in some cases impossible to upgrade on-premise video conferencing equipment and infrastructure to meet the changing needs of their organisations, a growing number are switching from working with multiple on-premise solutions to choosing one cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) video conferencing provider.

A successful move to cloud-based video communication technology requires a few key steps:

Review Cloud Advantages and Capabilities

First, ensure you’re making the decision that best meets the needs of your organisation. Most businesses move to a cloud solution in search of the following benefits:

  1. Reduced Cost — IT departments are under pressure to reduce expenses. Investing in on-premise video conferencing infrastructure and hardware can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A cloud-based video conferencing service extends IT budgets much further than a lump sum upfront payment for an on-premise solution.
  1. Increased Flexibility — It ‘s hard to deliver and support video conferencing sessions that may be scheduled with little to no notice, but this kind of flexibility and agility is required in a dynamic business environment. With an intuitive, cloud-based application, IT administrators can get valuable time back by enabling users to become more self-sufficient. And enterprise-class cloud-based video communication platforms offer more flexibility to scale up or down as per business and user requirements than those services that grew out of consumer applications.
  1. Simplified Automation — IT admins who choose a cloud-based video conferencing vendor need no longer struggle with the decision of whether to build and manage the video conference infrastructure in-house, freeing up valuable time, money and effort. A web-based admin console gives IT administrators easy access to dashboards to check usage statistics and to customise settings.
  1. Increased Device Diversity — Video conferencing software needs to support a broad range of “bring your own device” (BYOD) technology. It can be challenging for on-premise support staff to stay current on all of the different smartphones and operating systems upgrades, so organisations often prefer to give that task to a cloud provider who can also handle seamless integration and support. Professional cloud-based video conferencing solutions bring collaboration to the devices employees use every day from the browser- and desktop-based application for laptops and tablets to mobile applications for smartphones. No need to worry about software version or complicated updates.
  1. Interoperability — On-premise video conferencing products usually lack interoperability and still live in a proprietary software world that requires users to purchase an expensive gateway appliance to call third-party video communication devices. Organisational decision makers who move video conferencing to the cloud make interoperability the vendor’s responsibility and avoid being saddled with incompatible equipment that leaves users in isolated silos.

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Choose the Right Vendor

Once you’ve determined that a cloud-based video conferencing solution is right for your organisation, it’s time to vet your vendors. Decision makers should pay close attention to the vendor service level agreement and support, ask about outage levels and discuss vendor availability. This is a critical business tool that must have the highest standards of support and service levels.

Those who are interested in continuing to provide their employees with the benefit of a traditional face-to-face meeting in a conference room, along with the ability for remote party dial-in and face-to-face meeting options, should look at a hybrid cloud-based video conferencing solution with a conference room-based hardware component to offer employees the best of both worlds.

Implement Effectively

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Last, effective implementation is critical — even if the software is a perfect fit for your organisation, it won’t work if it isn’t implemented correctly. Efficient implementation includes:

  1. Choosing a Point Person — selecting the right team and establishing who does what and when mitigates the likelihood of a stalled application and ensures that everyone knows who has the final word.
  1. Establishing a Timeline — Imposing a clearly defined timeline and ensuring the vendor will be available when needed eliminates the risk of ongoing implementation with no end in sight.
  1. Maintaining Focus — resisting the temptation to think about every detail rather than focusing on the big picture is vital to moving the implementation forward — take care of the high-level issues first and enjoy the additional features after implementation.
  1. Listening to the Expert — Clients often expect software vendors to configure the new software to match their internal operations, which can lead to long-term negative consequences. Remembering who the expert is — the vendor when it comes to the new software and the organisation when it comes to business operations — is vital to implementation success.
  1. Gaining User Buy-in — After a long vetting process, it’s common to assume the internal sales process is over. Nothing could be further from the truth. The employees who will be using the new software the most may not have been involved in the approval process. Ensuring that they value — and champion — the use of the new software will increase the likelihood of a timely implementation. It is important to gain the trust and buy-in of the users and give them a say in the implementation.

As businesses continue to employ distributed workforces around the world, the demand for an enterprise-ready video communication solution that can provide a seamless, connected experience will continue to increase exponentially. Organisations that go “all in” and commit to improving employee communication and collaboration stand to benefit from a workforce that returns the favour with higher productivity, less staff churn and great employer – employee relationships.