6 Benefits of Cloud-Based Video Conferencing

“Savvy corporations will collaborate with the empowered people. Savvy corporations that want to benefit from [the sharing economy] … will collaborate with these empowered people, and, in return, create resiliency within their corporation. Make no doubt about it, this is a business opportunity. But if ignored, this is a threat that could unravel corporations. What it means: Corporations who want to be resilient know the crowd becomes part of their company.” – Jeremiah Owyang

People often ask me why they would want or need a cloud-based video conferencing solution. Why is it better than a premise-based solution? My answer is invariably, “’Better’ is the wrong way to think about it.”

The question really is, “Does a cloud-based solution fit your business model and needs?”

If companies are going to engage with the crowd, as Jeremiah Owyang suggests above, then the implication is clear–they need a publicly-available platform on which to collaborate, so that they can seamlessly engage the cloud. If this is a clear part of your strategy, the rest of the reasons don’t matter. You need to get on the cloud before your competitors do, so quit reading and go call your Avaya reseller now.

If you are not sure you are going to engage the crowd and participate in the sharing economy in the near term, then here are five things that indicate a cloud-based video conferencing solution may suit your business:

  1. You don’t have the skills to maintain the solutions: I completed a consulting engagement with a large government organization once–they had a premise-based solution they had bought three years (or more, no one was positive) before and were looking to determine why utilization was so low. The unequivocal answer? No one had ever learned to configure the multimillion dollar MCU, and so the service wasn’t actually working! If this even remotely reminds you of your organization, the cloud is for you.
  2. You experience significant demand seasonality: The classic example is tax return preparation firms–a vast majority of their business is in the springtime, with very low activity levels through the rest of the year. To build capacity to support seasonal peak loads would require a significant investment, making video communications with clients prohibitively expensive. Significant demand variability is another key driver of the business value of cloud solutions.
  3. You are an early adopter of new capabilities: Some companies have a culture of always pushing the limits of their technology. Technology vendors consider these types of companies great beta candidates, because they have an innate desire to try new things, are anxious to make suggestions, and insert technology solutions into daily processes. If a supplier has ever said to you, “You were the best beta customer, we really appreciate your feedback and ideas for product enhancements” then the cloud may make you happy. Why? Because cloud solutions typically have faster update/refresh cycles and deliver new capabilities to all users automatically. AvayaLive Video already offers great collaboration and desktop sharing capabilities, and more features are rolling out regularly.
  4. You are opening a new office or division: For companies opening a new branch office, moving to a new geography, or launching a new division, the cloud allows them to avoid the consequences of the “build it and they will come” business trap. One of our clients was completing a merger and needed to enable communications between the two legacy organizations quickly. AvayaLive Video was up and running, connecting individuals from opposite sides of the merger within days of making the decision to use it.
  5. You are unwilling to bet on the technology: Video conferencing is a technically dense field–H235 or H.234 SVC? SIP or H.323? 4:3 or 13:9 aspect ratio? Dynamic or static addressing for ports for NAT and firewall traversal? With the market moving so rapidly, some companies lose their appetite to invest and would rather pay someone else to take the technology risk. This is the classic “stick to your knitting” management philosophy taught in MBA schools. There is no shortage of things to learn and master; why not concentrate management attention on those things that will differentiate your business, and not on the care and maintenance of constantly-changing technology infrastructure.
  6. Your company believes work is something you do, not someplace you go. For companies that have many locations, engage deeply with customers and suppliers, and have a lot of mobile workers (not just road warriors, but coffee shop workers, corridor warriors, and teleworkers as well) cloud-based video makes sense for two reasons. First, bringing all those streams back into your data center on your network to your MCU can get complicated and expensive in a hurry! When it’s in the cloud, your service provider can leverage economies of scale for you. Second, a cloud-based solution is designed from the ground up to connect Web-based endpoints, whether tablets, PCs, or dedicated rooms, assuring a more engaging and useful collaboration experience.

There are some businesses where the nature of their communications, or the content of those conversations, may make it appropriate for them to install an on-premise solution. However, for most of the market, we at Avaya believe that cloud will be the architecture of choice. The deployed volume of cloud-based unified communications and collaboration seats is likely to double over the next four years. Will some of those seats be yours?

To evaluate AvayaLive Video today, visit www.avayalive.com/video and start your free 30-day trial.

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