Keys to Developing a Successful Video Culture

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1 Keys to Developing a Successful Video Culture IVCi WHITEPAPER UNIFYING PEOPLE AND IDEAS

2 In a world where instant messaging, and online audio meetings reign supreme, shifting an organization s culture to adopt visual collaboration or unified communication (UC) solutions can be extremely challenging. Implementing a new technology is a significant organizational change that, if underestimated, can produce disappointing results. There are several key steps an organization must take in order to optimize usage and adoption throughout the organization starting with executive support and planning. EXECUTIVE SUPPORT AND PLANNING Prior to purchasing video conferencing equipment, senior management must fully commit to adopting a visual collaboration solution. Strong executive support is critical to any successful change as lower levels within the organization look to senior management for guidance. Once executive support has been established, the management team must identify the role visual collaboration should play in the organization (desired state). Specific and measurable goals need to be determined, such as reducing travel expenditures by 20% the first year, or achieving a 75% adoption rate among middle-management. After the desired state has been identified, senior management must determine the driving forces behind implementation and any resisting forces to adoption. Driving forces consist of the factors propelling the organization to reach the desired state of visual collaboration, such as the need to make revenue generating activities more engaging. Resisting forces consist of the factors that are preventing the organization from reaching the desired state, such as high capital expenditures or technical challenges when using video conferencing systems.

3 If senior management does not invest time in planning or identifying key factors, the implementation process can be haphazard and lead to low adoption rates. Identifying resisting forces allows senior management to proactively address any issues that could prevent the organization from embracing visual collaboration. Additionally, by identifying driving forces and goals, senior management can effectively evaluate the success of the implementation and identify any areas for improvement. Once these steps have been completed, senior management must communicate openly and freely with all levels of the organization. Open communication about the implementation process, the projected benefits of visual collaboration and the reasons for changing the method of communication can help ease some of the fear and uncertainty associated with implementing a new technology. Furthermore, strong executive communication can garner the support of key influencers in each department. These leaders will act as a catalyst, influencing more of their colleagues to embrace visual collaboration. As a result, the momentum of adoption will continue to increase until change has been established. AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO ADOPTION Every organization has three interrelated subsystems; the behavioral subsystem (the people), the structural subsystem (the process), and the technological subsystem (the equipment). All of these subsystems are interrelated and interdependent upon each other, so making a change in one system may affect one or more of the other subsystems. When implementing an organizational change, no matter how large or small, an organization must determine the subsystem initially affected and then define the impact on the other subsystems. Failure to do so can result in significant resistance that is difficult to overcome. INTEGRATING THE TECHNOLOGY Visual collaboration technology can revolutionize the way companies conduct business; it can increase productivity while decreasing travel expenditures and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, interpersonal relationships among colleagues, partners and clients are strengthened through the familiarity of face-to-face interactions that occur without time consuming business travel. However, these results are only as good as the integration of the technology. Seamless integration allows the technology to fade into the background so that participants can focus on the meeting instead of the equipment. However, achieving this effect can be challenging. The actual meeting room environment plays a significant role in effective visual collaboration. Factors include suitable lighting, proper acoustics, and the ability to shift between multiple sources of content. Additionally, organizations must consider how the technology will integrate into existing systems, such as UC applications and other IT functions.

4 When deploying a new technology, companies typically start with a subset of the organization, either a specific department or tier of the management team. As they begin to realize the return on investment (ROI) and other benefits, the solution is disseminated to other areas. As a result, organizations need to consider their future needs and the ability to scale the solution as adoption begins to rise. Failure to consider the costs associated with scaling the technology can lead to a lack of widespread usage or exceeding the budget associated with deployment. There is nothing more frustrating than a technology that only works half of the time. The inability to connect properly, view and hear speakers clearly, or push content in a reliable manner can be detrimental to a successful implementation. The adage that trust takes years to build and seconds to destroy can be applied to implementing a new technology. A solution can work 99% of the time but if it fails to work once during a critical time, either with an important client or business partner; it can be difficult to continue driving adoption. To ensure reliability, organizations must take into consideration the impact video has on overall network performance. A decision of whether to increase network bandwidth or dedicate separate network resources to video may have to be addressed. Learning a new process every time visual collaboration is utilized can contribute to user frustration or burnout with the solution. Therefore, in addition to working reliably, visual collaboration technology needs to work in a consistent manner. Users should be able to easily operate the equipment by adhering to a specified set of procedures. Therefore, key stakeholders should carefully design processes that fit within the organization s structure. This will help ease the learning curve associated with new technologies and allow users to become comfortable with the equipment at a quicker rate.

5 As with every aspect of a company, security is paramount. When implementing a visual collaboration solution organizations must consider the security of the network, video rooms and video equipment, and sensitive information/ presentations. At times, organizations take the path of least resistance in connecting video equipment to endpoints outside of their network; however, this can leave an organization vulnerable to a breach of security. It is imperative for companies to invest the time and resources in creating and maintaining a secure visual collaboration environment. DEFINING PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES Implementing a new technology can have a dramatic effect on the way employees do their jobs. Visual collaboration sessions shift from scheduling a conference call to scheduling a video conference which is far more complex in nature. To join a conference call, users simply dial a phone number and connect to an audio bridge; however, with a video call, participants have to worry about firewalls, network exchanges and more. Learning all of these new processes can be extremely challenging, especially when users are unfamiliar with the technology. As a result, it is important to define and structure the processes required for effective collaboration in a simple, easy to understand manner. Prior to implementation, stakeholders should work with video professionals to develop the necessary processes and procedures end users need to utilize visual collaboration solutions. This includes how to connect to a video conference, displaying different types of content, changing audio and zoom settings and who to contact in the event of an issue. Documentation should be disseminated to all end users and a reference guide should be located in each conference room. When designing processes and procedures it is important to define both the required steps and the expected outcomes. Users are more apt to follow a process when they understand the desired outcomes. For example, pre-testing the video connection of a system on a different network can help prevent connectivity delays at the start of a meeting. If users understand the role of pretesting a network connection they are more likely to do so before an important meeting, thereby increasing the likelihood of a successful video conference. An unstructured sequence of events can cause confusion among users when hosting a visual collaboration session. There are many processes that go into using the technology; scheduling, connecting devices, network monitoring and hardware support to name a few. Therefore, it is important for organizations to accurately arrange the steps involved to ensure a successful visual collaboration session. Otherwise many users will have difficulty effectively utilizing the technology lowering adoption rates.

6 Properly defined and structured processes also need to be repeatable in order to be effective. Consistently having a new step or a new challenge creates a sense of frustration among users as it highlights their lack of expertise. Users should be able to replicate the process effortlessly, regardless of their background or experience. This provides end users with a sense of familiarity which can help them overcome the fear and frustration associated with learning something new. Above all, a simplified process and user interface must be in place for the majority of users. For example, users do not need to know the details of firewall traversal when connecting to a system located outside of their network. They simply want to dial the other participant in the same way they would dial an audio call. Organizations can help drive adoption of new technologies by ensuring the processes required to utilize the technology are easy to understand and use. DISSEMINATING TO THE PEOPLE People are often resistant to any major change; they take comfort in the status quo because of fear associated with the uncertainty of something new. A major organizational change, such as the implementation of a visual collaboration solution, changes the way colleagues interact with each other, as well as perform their daily tasks. This shift in the daily routine moves users out of their comfort zone by expecting them to learn something new. This can produce significant resistance if left unaddressed. It is imperative for senior management to address the impact that visual collaboration has on its employees. Frequent and open communications regarding the reasons for change and expected benefits for both the organization and the end user are a necessity. If organizations do not address the uncertainty stemming from a new technology, the resulting resistance can be insurmountable, leading to an abandoned solution.

7 Those familiar with video conferencing applications such as Skype or Face Time, are more apt to accept enterprise video than people who have never used the technology before. Many people take comfort in the security of and phone calls because others cannot read their facial expressions. Therefore, new users can initially become overwhelmed by the face-to-face exposure video provides. Proper training along with open dialogue can help address some of the concerns associated with switching to video communications. Training should include several different topics, such as operational procedures, best practices and video etiquette. While most users understand the basic functionality of video equipment, they lack the expertise to manage the infrastructure required for effective visual collaboration. A team of video professionals who operate the back-end video environment and provide technical support when needed is crucial to any video environment. Advanced video operators should proactively monitor meetings to allow participants to focus on the matters at hand rather than the collaboration technology. Therefore, organizations must either locate the right technical support staff or partner with a video service provider for access to advanced technical support. Organizations also need to assign ownership of each aspect of visual collaboration; otherwise the implementation can become haphazard. Roles and responsibilities need to be designated for the technology integration, process development and communication and training. Not only does this organize the deployment, it provides clear points of contact for different user questions. Additionally, it allows the company to track the success of its deployment and provides accountability for the different segments. An organization s culture plays a major role in the adoption of visual collaboration solutions. A culture built on innovation and adaptability may be more accepting of a technology that allows employees to see hello instead of say hello to each other. For other organizations, consistent communication and support from all levels of management is necessary to effectively adopt visual collaboration. As the overall culture begins to shift, the organization will be able to overcome any residual resistance until change has been established. DRIVING USAGE AND ADOPTION The business world is moving at a faster pace than ever before and organizations need to continually adapt in order to survive. Visual collaboration plays an integral role in allowing organizations to make fast, fluid and flexible decisions. However, simply implementing the technology will not produce the results most organizations hope for. Senior management must continue to drive adoption of visual collaboration, starting with its own usage and adoption. Managers should mandate the use of visual collaboration anytime the solution is available, such as board meetings or companywide video updates.

8 Organizations should map usage of visual collaboration solutions to business unit profitability. This allows for visibility into the most effective uses of video; organizations will often see increased profitability and innovation among units with the highest use. Usage mapping also provides useful data that allows the organization to develop benchmarks for usage and performance. Management can then use this information to identify areas for improvement or additional business units that may benefit from the deployment of visual collaboration solutions. In addition to usage mapping, organizations should review overall reporting and usage metrics. Advanced reporting can provide insight into any trends that would typically be missed, such as, a decrease in the usage of a particular outdated system or specific times when video usage peaks, creating an over demand on the organization s network. Organizations can then proactively address any issues and ensure they receive the most out of their video investment. Finally, senior management should evaluate the overall success of the visual collaboration implementation. Questions such as were key metrics and goals achieved, were users accepting of the technology, and where are the areas for improvement should all be addressed. Not only will this help in deploying visual collaboration to other business units, it will help the organization understand how to implement major organizational changes in the future. 601 Old Willets Path Hauppauge, NY Fax

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