Web collaborative technologies drive efficiency and add value to productivity of businesses
BANGALORE, INDIA: Virtual collaboration and online meeting technologies are advancing the small and medium service based companies’ reach without huge investments, thus allowing them to not only save costs and land more sales but to better educate consumers and business partners and serve a greater number of people lost by former logistical barriers.
In turn, this knowledge transfer is allowing such companies to gain greater mindshare and reach new markets through numerous, innovative applications for traditional web-based knowledge transfer technology.
Such programs include web conferencing, video conferencing, media streaming and web casting — all designed to allow companies to work together in real-time or archive presentations for on-demand retrieval, be it a polished sales presentation, in-house training or thought leadership seminar.
Some companies are going so far as to use these tools for IT troubleshooting, particularly by allowing remote access to ailing PCs and laptops in the field.
Accelerating Business and Increasing Sales
The service based companies’ have definitely jumped hard and heavy into these tools. Though larger organizations may view online collaboration tools primarily to improve internal communications, this segment is leveraging its investments to pump up a normally small sales force and provide training so product pitches can be perfected.
Such operational streamlining helps a company run more efficiently and at web-based speed. Sales teams now can take clients through a hands-on demonstration without either leaving the office. Not only does knowledge transfer vastly cut travel costs, but it also accelerates business and provides more promise in reaching busy executives who can view demos from their office desk, rather than a meeting room or off-site location.
Service based companies usually measure themselves closely through productivity or efficiency units. So if they can conduct 10 sales demos in a day instead of one or two, they’ve made their money.
The current trend across various business segments seems to be of adopting web-based conferencing in order to expand the reach of their messaging. The financial industry, often an early adopter of emerging technologies, also is a big believer in the power of these communications services. For example, a small mutual fund firm that needs to get the word out to their clients, and they need to get people with as much impact as possible. These tools can help firms like this to a great extent.
Consider daily tasks that can be aided or enhanced using the online collaboration services. For example, companies have discovered that their IT staff can troubleshoot and remotely fix computer problems in the field by opening an online meeting session. Such remote access could prove the deal-sealer if done just prior to an important presentation.
Collaboration: The Next Phase in Business Productivity
There is no question that web collaborative technologies drive efficiency. While the value proposition is widely recognized, measuring the real impact of the technology on information worker productivity and ultimately the impact on profitability remains a key challenge.
The challenge lies not in the benefits, but in the way they have been measured. Using a structured methodology to evaluate “hard” as well as “soft” returns from the investment in web collaboration enables organizations to quantify the impact that the solution will have on productivity. This ensures that any cost-benefit technology analysis accurately reflects not just travel cost savings but also the impact on employee productivity.
The author is managing director of Cisco WebEx