5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Video Conferencing System (That Are Not in the Manufacturer’s Literature)
Establish the Purpose for Your System
Figure out what your organization is looking to get out of the video conferencing system (what will its purpose be?). This can be determined by reaching out to your employees and departments to determine what type of functions they believe could be beneficial to your company’s success or their own. During this process, it is likely you will produce a long wish list of features and functionalities that are completely unnecessary. Here are a couple of beneficial questions to specify the most essential functions to implement and narrow your search:
- How often would you use that feature / functionality?
- How do you handle that need currently?
In most cases you will find that many required features are not requirements at all. They can take a simple video conferencing deployment and escalate it into a complex and pricey deployment for no good reason.
Make Sure your Network’s Infrastructure is a Good Fit
You need to validate that the network can handle the traffic and security needs before implementing any type of system. Look at it this way, if your new video conferencing solution is a Ferrari, you want to make sure your infrastructure is not a dirt road. If the road is too bumpy for such an engineering wonder, it would negate everything cool about driving the Ferrari.
The same is true for your video conferencing system. Many vendors provide tools that will allow you to assess your infrastructure readiness. This is important because in some cases, the infrastructure changes required may cost several times that of the new video conferencing solution itself.
Consider the Ease or Difficulty of Using the System
This is likely the top consideration that no one thinks about when determining if your video conference solution will be successful or become a boat anchor. You could purchase the system that has all the best bells and whistles, but if your staff does not feel comfortable using it, it will remain unused. Ensure that the complexity level of the video conferencing solution that is being implemented matches that of the staff that will be using it.
Who Will Support the System if You are Having Trouble?
Who is going to support your deployment? You know that most video conferences start about 5 seconds before the scheduled start time, and someone is always scrambling to get their content finished and shared. Who do you call when the meeting starts in two minutes and something is not working?
Unfortunately, unless you have an in-house expert to support video conferencing deployments, the only answer is “get ready sooner.” However, that is not always an option. Many organizations do not have in-house expertise to support video conferencing deployments. If your organization does not have someone in-house, it is important to make sure you have a support contract with a reputable managed service provider or vendor direct support. This will ensure that you know who to call prior to the presenter’s stress level elevates to DEFCON 1.
Determine the Cost That Will Provide You with the Most Value
Most people think cost is one of the most crucial factors to which I would respond, it is! Just ask anyone in your finance department. However, many organizations still purchase the most expensive solution with all the fun parts and pieces only later to find out that only 3 of the countless features are being utilized. On the other hand, some organizations opt for the cheapest solution and then struggle to achieve their goals due to lack of features.
The correct price of a solution is the one that meets your needs and allows for foreseeable growth without breaking the bank. For this reason, eliminate any added features that might raise the cost without bringing any additional value.
These items are just a few examples of things that should be considered but are not often highlighted by vendors or vendor literature. Hopefully, this information will assist you in making an informed decision when selecting the correct video conferencing system for your organization.
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