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Five steps for a successful video conferencing strategy

When deploying video conferencing successfully, you simply can’t install a video client and give users a webcam. Organizations with a robust video conferencing strategy see more deployment success than organizations with no strategy at all, according to a survey from Nemertes Research, a tech advisory firm based in Mokena, Ill.

A successful video conferencing strategy and deployment includes several factors, such as adoption programs and video analytics, according to a Nemertes survey of more than 400 IT leaders in various industries. Incorporate these five key elements identified by Nemertes to create a successful video conferencing strategy.

1. Funding. How an organization pays for video conferencing deployments is a major factor for success. The IT leaders with the most successful deployments had a dedicated collaboration team that funds video conferencing spending, while IT makes the buying decisions.

“IT has to own the decision,” Nemertes analyst Irwin Lazar said. “The core reason for that is because supporting video is the worst of both worlds from a network perspective.”

Video conferencing can be a nightmare for IT because it requires significant bandwidth and is latency-sensitive. Taking control of the buying decision ensures IT has better control over the system.

2. Adoption programs. A successful video conferencing strategy should include a user adoption and awareness program. Nearly one-quarter of IT leaders surveyed have adoption programs in their organizations. The programs include training, distance learning and train-the-trainer plans. More than half of organizations with a user adoption and awareness program have dedicated marketing staff within IT.

“It’s a hard sell,” Lazar said in a recent webinar. “You need to convince users of the benefits.”

Organizations with a dedicated marketing staff and adoption program had a 67% higher success rate than organizations that simply rolled out video and moved on to the next project, Lazar said.

3. Analytics. A successful video conferencing strategy should include analytics to measure video usage. The majority of organizations use analytics to measure metrics such as video performance, quality and length of calls, Lazar said.

Most organizations use the metrics available from their video conferencing vendors, while a small percentage uses third-party analytics vendors. Lazar said there was no difference in success for organizations using analytics from their video conferencing vendor than organizations using third-party services.

4. Single video vendor. Organizations with a successful video conferencing strategy also used the same provider for their room and desktop video conferencing.

“A single vendor is better than trying to cobble systems together,” Lazar said. Organizations that used a single provider were 22% more successful than organizations that mixed and matched their video conferencing services.

5. Room and desktop video. Successful organizations also used dedicated room systems in small meeting rooms instead of equipping rooms with a PC or laptop and webcam. Lazar said control issues can arise when a laptop or PC is used as the video conferencing endpoint instead of a dedicated system. For example, a software update could keep a PC offline for several hours, or a laptop could be replaced with a newer version that isn’t powerful enough to run video.

Organizations also prefer to use dedicated room systems for noise cancellation, active-speaker tracking and connecting to multiple types of meeting services.

In addition to dedicated room systems, organizations with a successful video conferencing strategy use desktop video conferencing. Two-thirds of IT leaders said they’re using or planning to use desktop video conferencing. Many desktop unified communications clients offer video, which helps boost adoption of desktop video conferencing, Lazar said.