Driving Enterprise Video Adoption: a Q&A with Dimension Data Americas’ Director of Converged Communications
With the recent launch of Dimension Data’s Managed Service for Visual Communications, we sat down with Scott Cruikshank, Director of Converged Communications at Dimension Data Americas, to discuss the new managed service, video’s “golden two minutes” and the future of video communications.
The recent launch of the new Managed Service for Visual Communications (MSVC) is evidence that video is becoming a top priority for businesses. Why is this?
Well, there are multiple factors driving it. First, businesses are expanding beyond their traditional markets – to gain new clients, access to additional resources, etc. – and as they build out their businesses, they need to be able to communicate effectively. Verbal communications can only do so much. 60-70 percent of communication is nonverbal, making face-to-face interactions a priority. This is where video comes in. Video allows companies to break down the barriers to communication and enable face-to-face meetings anytime, anywhere. As a result of access to video communication tools, companies are realising greater access to customers and partners, no matter where they are; expedited product time to market; and an increase in product awareness within the customer base, while also improving productivity and collaboration, and reducing travel and operational costs.
Why did Dimension Data create the new Managed Service for Visual Communications?
We repeatedly saw clients struggling to realise the expected benefits and cost savings from video deployments. The main areas they needed help with were driving end user adoption and providing ongoing, on-demand support. Given our internal expertise with eliciting end user adoption of new technologies, and our global footprint with the ability to provide 24×7 technology support, monitoring and maintenance, we felt that we were in a very unique position to help our clients in this area.
Where does Dimension Data’s video communications expertise stem from?
We’ve worked with thousands of organisations worldwide to deploy a range of video and unified communications (UC) technologies and services. Additionally, we “drink our own Kool-Aid”, so to speak. We launched an internal video communications pilot program two years ago – with new conference room systems, as well as desktop video for all employees across the Americas – and within two months we realised a 95% adoption rate. We also realised a 60% reduction in company travel and a savings of US$20,000 per executive meeting! Our internal efforts were so successful with this rollout that we formalised the methodology and created our commercial Adoption Management Program (AMP), which has helped clients such as Pepsi Bottling Co. drive technology adoption with their employees and achieve ROI.
What are some specific ways that businesses can foster employee video adoption?
Adoption is not a silver bullet. Historically, the perception has been that video is difficult to use. The reality, though, is that employees often don’t understand how to use the technology, and support isn’t always widely available. To create a successful video program, companies must create a customised adoption plan that is multi-faceted and ongoing.
The first and most important step when transitioning to video is to assess and understand the needs and requirements of the business as well as how employees want to communicate. There are a wide variety of options for video today that can meet a range of needs, and choosing the right one is a core prerequisite to driving adoption and realising ROI later on.
Once they have selected their video technology, a company must market the new tool to employees to create awareness and generate excitement. In order to adopt new technologies, users need to know the benefits and how they can use it to improve their daily work. One way that companies can do this is through executive sponsorship. Having top executives show employees how and when to use new tools is a key way to overcome barriers to new technology adoption.
Training is another tool that companies should not underestimate. To maximise adoption, companies should also go beyond initial training and provide ongoing, “on demand” training. For instance, an employee might not need to use video tools for months at a time but will need a quick refresh before their meeting (via video) next Wednesday. This is where Dimension Data’s managed service is helpful — we can provide that training, on the fly, whenever needed.
Another road block to adoption that organisations frequently face is the end user experience. If that experience is not positive, users can quickly get frustrated or confused, and they will resort back to their traditional communication tools. To avoid this, it’s critical that IT is able to assist the end user in real time to ensure a video session operates seamlessly within the “golden two minutes.”
What are the “golden two minutes”?
The “golden two minutes” is a “make or break” window of time that we believe all organisations should be aware of when dealing with video. Based on our experience with customers, from the time a video meeting is scheduled to start until it actually begins, companies essentially have approximately two minutes to deliver a seamless user experience. If there is a glitch and the meeting fails to begin in that timeframe, the user will typically view the technology as unproductive and will resort back to other methods of communication like the telephone and email. Ultimately, users want to be able to use video, but it should be easy for them – they shouldn’t need to deal with delays, poor quality, and ultimately, lost productivity.
In order to ensure that the video experience is smooth, companies need to proactively monitor and manage their video equipment, in addition to providing real-time support to make sure the call is working. Creating an always-positive end user experience will go a long way toward driving adoption, which then drives ROI and overall success. Our new Managed Service for Visual Communications was created to monitor and provide support for video solutions since this “on-demand” service can be difficult for organisations to provide internally.
Why should companies turn to Dimension Data’s new Managed Service for Visual Communications?
The key to success with visual communications is adoption, and the better the user experience is, the higher the adoption rate and return on investment. Our tools and processes are all based around that end user experience. We provide end to end support for clients’ video solutions, from strategic consulting and planning to implementation to the end user experience with on-demand management and support. Additionally, as Unified Communications are converging on one another, our expertise in this area allows us to support clients’ overall UC architecture.
Finally, video – possibly more than any other technology – is global in nature. Businesses can install video solutions in each of their offices around the world, and with our global footprint, we are able to support that. We have feet on the street in 51 countries around the world with support in 114 others through partners. This reach also gives us the flexibility to customise support for each client.
What do you see happening in video in the next five years?
It’s going to be a part of our every day communications; it’s going to be everywhere. I was in Miami last week and before I left, I said to my kids, see you Saturday, but they said, “No Dad, I’ll Skype you tonight.” Consumerisation of video with younger generations will continue to drive IT into the corporate world. Organisations are moving from their room-based, AV-based video systems to a more pervasive and ubiquitous environment where no matter the end point, you can communicate with people. For the most part, people prefer to talk via video, but it has to be effortless, and how companies bring the corporate and consumer worlds together will be the key to growth in video.