When it comes to running the day to day operations of your video conferencing environment, you have a choice; manage it yourself or outsource management to a service provider. How do you make this decision? What are some of the key points to help understand your organization’s needs?
Option 1 – Do It Yourself
The natural choice for many organizations is to implement video conferencing and then turn it over to IT for day to day support of both the technology as well as end users. This can be incredibly successful or it could be a massive disaster! These are the key questions that should be asked:
- Do we have IT team members who are familiar with video conferencing technology, its impact on the network and how to do basic troubleshooting?
- Are we prepared to purchase all of the needed infrastructure for bridging, mobile devices, firewall traversal, scheduling, management and more?
- Do we have the resources to define and implement best practices and processes for scheduling of shared conference rooms, launching of video calls and who to escalate support issues to?
- What is the potential impact on IT’s workload with the addition of video?
- Do we have the personal to help manage special events such as CEO meetings, earnings calls, and departmental meetings?
- When we do need assistance, what is the escalation path to have our problems addressed?
- What will happen if video calls do not work well for our end users?
- What steps will we take to train IT as well as end users?
Certainly there are many questions to be asked when deciding how to manage your video environment yourself. Many organizations do this and do it successfully. It’s just a matter of being prepared and making sure you have the right people, processes and technology in place.
Option 2 – Outsource It
There are a lot of consideration when implementing video. The questions above can be quite daunting and ultimately lead an organization down a path to outsource the management of their video environment. When choosing a service provider to partner with, there are several key areas to focus on during the evaluation period:
As evident from above there is a lot of knowledge and technical expertise required to run a successful video operation. Any service provider you evaluate should have expertise across all areas of video including meeting management, network operations, technology best practices, user behaviour and more. The service provider should also be equipped with a full service desk to help with equipment failure and replacement.
No two video environments are the same as unique companies have unique needs. A service provider should understand that and be incredibly flexible with the way they deliver service. This includes flexible contracts and the ability to adjust the operation quickly and easily.
Companies are constantly popping up as “Managed Service Providers” or “Cloud Service Providers” but it is important to ensure your service provider has a long history of success and experience working with companies in many industries and of many sizes. Managed Services are a hot topic these days and everyone is trying to get in on the wave.
Video conferencing security is of the utmost importance. A provider needs to be keenly aware of all security vulnerabilities possible in a video conferencing deployment and provide recommendations and best practices to ensure access is locked to the appropriate parties. During your service provider evaluation makes sure to ask about security of the provider’s management systems as well as how they will ensure your environment remains secure.
A managed service provider is providing a mission critical service that requires them to interact with users at all level s within your organization. The attitude of the organization and its people will be critical to your success. It is important to understand the customer service policies of your provider as well as their stance on going the extra mile and thinking outside of the service box. The worst thing that could happen is that your executives deal with a not so friendly video producer managing one of their calls.
- Technology Resources
Many service providers can leverage their own infrastructure to help run your operation and allow you to save money on the purchase of your own. This could include bridging, management applications and registration. During the evaluation, understand what technology will be available as part of your service contract and how to leverage for maximum cost savings and flexibility.
The decision to manage video yourself or to outsource to a service provider is a big one. With video becoming more and more critical to business operations, video calls cannot fail and the technology must work every time. If you decide to manage it yourself make sure you have the staff and the resources to devote to it. Training on the technology and user best practices will be critical. And if you decide to move to a managed service provider, make sure you ask the questions discussed above and anything else that is relevant to your organization.
With the right management in place (either internal or outsourced), video can be a huge success for everyone and help move your business forward!