Last week I had the opportunity to meet over 25 CIOs and key IT decision makers to discuss collaboration and mobility in the enterprise. It was an engaging meeting, with fluid conversation and open sharing about the collaboration experience across industries as diverse as banking, health care, trans-oceanic transportation, and even flavors and fragrances manufacturers, just to name a few.
Flying back to California, I was reflecting on what I really had learned from these experts.
We did discuss the rapid advancement of BYOD, the broad adoption of video and the many creative ways to use mobile apps to solve practical problems in the enterprise.
But what really struck me was that, underlying all of these cool solutions, there was a basic need: to trust each other. Without trust there is no collaboration, without collaboration there is no execution; and without execution there is no sustainable business.
But what does trust mean for a CIO?
When it comes to trust nothing beats a face to face dialogue. But in a globally connected world, with companies leveraging talent and labor rates in different countries while serving customers around the world, trust needs to be cultivated on a day to day basis. This requires video-enabled collaboration solutions to effectively span timezones and cultural differences. And it requires that these solutions run on the devices now used by everyone – PCs and mobile devices.
Real Life, In Real Time
One executive, Mark, shared that he allows his marketing team to work from home to avoid them a very wasteful commute time; this has increased their productivity and their morale since his marketing managers across the Bay feel trusted and empowered. Mark has deployed a video solution integrated with document sharing so that they can easily review marketing presentations and programs.
Another IT executive, Gene, is adopting mobile video so field technicians can actually show engineers what’s happening live, and making sure the installations are accurately performed. Aric said that one of video’s greatest benefits is simply enabling him to look someone in the eye when asking them for commitment. Whether discussing the forecast during their weekly sales commit calls or when reviewing a proposal with their customers, reading the body language significantly increases the reliability of communication.
As Forrester Research puts it, video “helps to put a face and mannerism to a name and voice, enabling remote and distributed teams to feel more connected and more committed to shared goals.”
That was echoed by Carson, who says video provides his team with a level of alignment you just can’t get over the phone. When his product management team reviews and passionately debates the specs for a new product proposal with their overseas R&D teams he knows that at the end of the video meeting all the participants have “bought” into the plan and they will carry it out as their own.
The Advantage Of Mobile
Patrick not only streamlined the claim process in his insurance company using video, but also increased the level of trust with his customers since their claims examiners can show the damage to a car with a live video feed to his supervisor directly from his iPad.
Dan talked about a “collaboration first, mobility second” approach, focusing on building a trust framework and streamlining processes to facilitate collaboration across teams. Anne, who works in the “safety and security first” realm of nuclear power plants, is also focused less on mobility and more on enabling collaboration with a high level of security. Such examples will grow quickly, as tablets outsell desktop PCs this year, according to IDC, and notebooks next year.
In some settings, video is making possible things that simply couldn’t happen before because of limited time or resources. For example, hospice nurses bring the doctor or family members to a patient’s bedside via video conference; a school contracts teachers from another county to teach remotely; and children are able to take a virtual field trip to NASA when a physical field trip is impractical due to lack of time, funding or other resources.
As I mentioned earlier, the type of video matters. A couple of people mentioned that their expensive video conference or telepresence rooms are gathering dust. Simple-to-use desktop video is picking up steam, but a complete solution needs to have rich video running on the device of the employee’s choice: from Android to iPad, iPhone, Mac, etc.
Practicing What We Preach
I had the opportunity to describe Avaya’s own internal use of video that has skyrocketed since the introduction of Scopia® since last summer. Within the first six months, more than 100,000 meetings had been held with Scopia, with over 310,000 attendees participating in point-to-point and multipoint video calls. This will only increase when we complete the worldwide roll-out of Scopia across our 15,000 employees.
We first started using Scopia during the due diligence process of acquiring Radvision. Because Radvision has such a globally dispersed organization with development locations in Israel, China, Italy and the US, it quickly became apparent how valuable Scopia was. It not only allowed very productive meetings without the need to travel, it also spanned timezones and cultural differences. As a result of this we decided to deploy Scopia across the company. Since then Scopia has literally changed how we collaborate in Avaya.
Why? Because the soft-client runs on all the most popular devices our employees use, it can be launched very quickly after a very easy download, it securely connects through the company firewall, and it provides a low-bandwidth high-quality of experience even over lossy Internet connections. The results? We now communicate with our customers and channel partners every day and conduct staff meetings and work groups over video, bringing team members from multiple locations together that had only known each other voices for many years.
The ironic thing about most collaboration technology today is that they sacrifice intimacy for speed. The miracle of video is that it gives us back the gift of sight. That’s why CIOs see video as a key way to strengthen trust, deepen collaboration and therefore accelerate execution in their business. That’s Business at Light Speed.
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