Questions to Ask before Investing in VideoconferencingThanks to changes in modern technology, we’re constantly rethinking the way that we work. Options such as telecommuting, telework, and remote work are becoming increasingly common. Today, it’s not out of the norm to have employees, customers, and clients spread throughout the country—even across the globe—making collaboration solutions an important part of our workday.

Web conferencing is designed to expand our collective knowledge, streamline work processes, and give our businesses an edge in an increasingly competitive workplace. If you’re looking to invest in a videoconferencing system, there are a number of factors you should consider before you finalize a decision.

Should You Opt for a Cloud-Based or On-Site System? 

Your first decision should be to determine whether a cloud-based or on-site solution works best for your organization. Consider these important factors, and the questions you should be asking yourself, to narrow down your choice.

Your company size. Is your company spread throughout the state? Across the country? Around the globe? Perhaps you are a small, highly localized enterprise? Will your provider be able to help you with issues that go beyond local dial-in numbers? What about language support? Bandwidth requirements? Or technical problems that could possibly occur in multiple time zones? Will there be rapid growth in the next few years? Having a cloud based system will allow for easy scalability, something you won’t get with an in-house system.

Your budget. It may be tempting to sign up for a free web-based solution, but have you considered the tradeoffs of doing “technology on the cheap?” As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you drastically cut costs, chances are you might be “cutting” consistency and quality as well.

Cloud-based solutions are attractive options; with lower upfront costs and less maintenance, companies are quickly moving in this direction. However, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. You may find that your company benefits from an in-house system. Generally, a business-based videoconferencing solution will benefit you if:

Privacy is paramount. If you’re in the health care or financial field, for example, you deal with sensitive client information every day. If that information gets compromised, there could be serious consequences.

You need to record conversations. No matter how much bandwidth you have, connections can sputter and peter out. If you need streamlined recordings of your conversations, and you need to keep them highly secured on an easily accessed on-site server, an in-house system may be right for you.

How Much Support Do You Have?

The amount of support you get from a third-party vendor is just as important as the quality of the system itself. No matter how sophisticated the system, issues are bound to arise, and your reputation and bottom line will suffer if you have to spend too much time off-line, trouble shooting problems.

Perhaps you’re running late on an important videoconference and need mobile support. How easily can you reach the company’s tech support? You need your product’s customer support service to be as flexible as you are.

Your support question should also extend to your information technology (IT) department. Is it well equipped to handle your in-house needs? If possible, schedule a trial of the technology before you commit to buying it. Taking a system for a test drive can help your IT personnel figure out if they’re prepared to take on the challenges ahead. If you don’t have the requisite level of IT support needed to maintain your in-house videoconferencing systems, consider outsourcing that responsibility to a qualified managed services provider.

A videoconferencing system is an investment that requires thoughtful consideration. There’s no standard solution—each company should tailor its system to address its unique set of needs. Choose a system that evolves with changing technology, not an operation that will be obsolete in a few years.

At Advanced AV we empower live meetings and remote collaboration by deploying the technology that helps your organization connect, communicate and engage with its customers, employees and stakeholders. Connect with us to find out more about how Advanced AV can help you achieve your business and technology goals.

photo credit: question mark ? via photopin (license)