The value of video communications

Industry News Tue 30th, Apr 2013 by Dave Simpson

Softcat's Services Director and resident tech guru Sam Routledge chats to Simon Herbert, Cisco Collaboration Sales Manager about the value of video communications in the modern workplace.

If you are reading this, you are probably aware of Softcat’s crazy culture and our desire to keep communication flowing and to make everyone feel part of something. As our organisation continues to expand (500 people across four offices, if you count Chris in Sunderland!), we are very consciously doing everything we can to maintain that culture. For all my fifteen years and counting, we have had an ‘all hands’ management meeting on a Thursday morning. That became difficult once we opened our Manchester and London offices, but we have carried on dialling them in via a conference call. We’ve recently implemented a video solution (yes, by our friends at Cisco) to enable us to bring the other offices into Marlow for an hour and a half every Thursday morning. Shame the technology will not yet let us share the bacon sarnies…

I’ve found myself using video more and more on calls with customers and partners, as well as for the first stage of recruitment. That face-to-face element does make a difference, and I also find it keeps me honest – it stops me doing my email in the background and keeps me focused on the task in hand.

I have had my suspicions for a year or so that the advent of easy, consumer-grade point-to-point video solutions such as FaceTime will accelerate adoption of corporate video solutions as people get used to it being an option. That certainly seems to be the case in Softcat! I recently caught up with Simon Herbert at Cisco to find out more about their thoughts on the virtues of VC.

Sam – Why should Softcat's customers be considering video communications?

Simon – A recent study showed 4 out of 6 key attributes in building rapport, relationship and success could only be achieved through in person communication. 95% of the fortune 500 companies use Cisco Telepresence and Video technology to fundamentally drive the growth and success of their staff and business. Excellent video communications have quickly become accessible to businesses of all sizes  and having video as an integral part of your communications is already becoming an essential component. Cisco strives to make that experience easy, fully integrated with how you want to work and on any device.  I’d encourage any company who hasn’t experienced what is possible today to contact their Softcat account manager to discuss the opportunities available.
 
Sam - What is the business value of video technology?

Simon – The true business value of Video or Telepresence technology in your organisation is realising what it can do for you. Key trends show 53% of Cisco enabled businesses strongly agree that video enables richer, more productive relationships with colleagues. Whereas 45% strongly agree it saves them time and subsequently money. But as I said it’s all about you. For me Cisco Telepresence technology helps me work more closely with our partners and customers. We save hundreds of millions of $ in airfares and fuel. I see more people, have a more personal relationship and get more done having this technology.
 
Sam - What are the recommendations in choosing the right solution?

Simon – Telepresence and video communication needs to be is integral part of your Collaboration strategy  allowing you to move from an instant message to voice and video seamlessly. I can honestly say I use video every day. If you’ve not experienced what good video communications really are and dispelled those visions of TV’s on wheels with complicated controls and the bad experience. Come in to see what’s possible at Softcat’s offices or with Cisco. Making it easy, available anywhere, on any device and enabling a great experience is key to realising the business value for the entire organisation. Things in life are rarely free but here is a little something from Cisco. Download our free video client www.ciscojabbervideo.com which is free to use and dial any standards based video system from a PC or MAC. Most important of all, after you’ve got your account, is to speak to your Softcat account manager over video to discuss what telepresence can do for you and your business.
 
Thanks to Sam and Simon for their time. For more information on how collaborating with video will benefit your organisation contact your Softcat account manager or visit: http://www.cisco.com/web/products/collaboration/midmarket.html