We regularly hear that organisations “recognise the benefits of Video Conferencing for their business” and that “there is a real ROI for organisations using Video Conferencing“. You may have even been sold on the fact that businesses using Video Conferencing have “reduced their travel costs by a third“… or some other fact based loosely upon some could-be fact that has been banded around since the start of time. Or since the start of video communications, any how.
But it’s not actually that important that some organisation 5x your size in an alien industry in a remote continent has realised some kind of tangible benefits of some kind of video technology, once upon a time. No. It’s far more important that benefits are recognised within your organisation, with your employees, in terms of what’s important to you.
Up on Productivity. Up on Efficiency. Down on Costs.
So you’ve recently added video conferencing to your organisation. You know full well that if used properly, you’d be up on productivity, up on efficiency, down on costs. You know your investment can result in a happier bunch of employees, and you know the effect that face-to-face communication can have on client, customer and partner relationships. You also know that recording an excellent Return-on-Investment, or how your investment is going to make your organisation money over the coming months and years will sit mighty well with all the financial bods of the business.
And for those who have deployed the kit – whether that be your Head of IT, your Systems Analyst, or your Telemedicine Manager – it’s important they can prove the worth of the investment they have so actively promoted.
Is my investment actually being used?
So how do you know if anyone is actually using the system in your boardroom? And are your systems being used to their full potential? With many other factors across the workforce effecting measurable results such as reduction in travel – maybe your company has opened new offices further afield, your workforce has expanded in size, or you’ve implemented a work from home policy – it is very difficult to put your finger on the positive effect your specific Video Conferencing deployment has had, and is having, on your organisation as a whole.
And recognising this effect is critical. It’s critical for the financial team to understand where money is being spent and why. It’s critical to know if investments are being used to their full potential so the decision to expand or reduce an implementation can be made based upon fact rather than guesswork. And it’s critical to analyse the use, capacity and quality of your investment to ensure the most successful placement of your endpoints, or that the right VMR’s have been dished out to the right team members.
Using Video Conferencing to its full extent in the boardroom – but are all your systems being used like this?
So what factors are important to you?
For some, the traditional method of “how much is your meeting costing you” is enough. How many miles are being saved by using Video Conferencing? How much time is being saved from the reduction of travel to meetings? For others, softer benefits are more important. How much more productive are my employees? How much more efficient are my meetings?
But other questions need to be asked too. Are my conferences good enough quality to ensure my employees are happy using the systems? Are all my conferences accessible enough to ensure that all meetings that could be carried out by video, are? Do users feel comfortable using the technology? These, and many more factors need to be properly understood to really understand and maximise the Return on Investment of your video communications environment. And they can only be truly understood once real data has been collected, reported and analysed.
Collect the data!
Many Video Conferencing manufacturers, such as Polycom, Cisco and Lifesize, provide great analytics and reporting solutions that can be integrated into your Video Conferencing environment to provide data and statistics to can help you calculate ROI. Some vendors provide adoption services to help you make sense of the data. Many Video Conferencing cloud services now even provide online portals that collate the data on your behalf and provide a whole range of information that gives you real insight into usage and savings that may not have previously been realised, or even thought about before the solution was implemented.
Using a portal, such as that offered within VideoCloud 365, can present this data in an easy to digest, easy to analyse way. The VC365 portal, for example, provides a high level analysis of your organisations total calls, call time and minutes of usage, displayed in graphs, alongside overall organisation packet loss and devices used.
At the next level down, administrators can see every conference that has taken place, at what time, with how many participants, and the quality of that specific call. Digging down into one specific conference can show which participants took part in the call, which device they joined with, and extra details such as bandwidth & packet loss on a per user basis. And even the version of device software, protocols and audio codecs, if you really wish to get down to the nitty gritty detail!
Now analyse it!
In call performance statistics, such as packet loss, jitter and bit rate can help you analyse call quality, and allows you to recognise recurring issues on endpoints or your network, that may have a detrimental effect on usage and adoption. And only when a Video Conferencing system is being used and adopted can the real cost benefits be realised. Usage reports that show who is using which VMR’s, which video conferencing systems are calling into which meetings, and which mobile devices and operating systems are being invited into a conference enables administrators to understand how and when the equipment is being used.
Now, armed with this information, you will start to recognise key points that can be addressed to maximise and calculate ROI.
- Are some systems are being utilised more than others?
Could this mean more user training is needed, or that a system may be better located in a different office?
- Are some users more active than others?
Get their feedback – why are they using the equipment and can this reason therefore be echoed throughout your organisation? Are they still travelling to some of their meetings, and if so, why? Do their clients or colleagues not have access to a quality system in all cases? Or are there issues on parts of your WAN that prevent some video calls taking place?
- Plug your data into an ROI travel calculator too
With a real understanding of how many meetings are actually taking place, between whom and where, a much more realistic view of how much time, and money, is being saved can be seen. Even if travel hours and travel costs are only one of the measurables associated to Video Conferencing, it’s still a very important calculation to make, and to be able to report back up the chain.
It’s important to look at the changes over time, too. Once you’ve analysed the data and made the necessary changes, whether that be through better training, changing system locations, updating software, more promotion within your organisation or network upgrades, you’ll start to see a change within your data. By downloading the data, graphs and statistics, and comparing on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, you’ll be able to put your finger on where best to focus your efforts, and be able to show that the changes you are making are really having a positive effect, in a way that is important to your organisation.
Talk to us today to discuss both on-premise analytic tools that can be implemented into your network, or to find out about the range of cloud based Video Conferencing solutions that can provide suitable statistics for your needs.