BT: Converged Conferencing Communications
We've come a long way in business since the only practical way to communicate effectively was to hold a face-to-face meeting, regardless of the distance you had to travel. The latest audio, web and videoconferencing services can change the way your business works, save you time and money and even contribute to a cleaner, greener planet.
Whatever our trade or sector, all businesses share a common agenda. In a competitive world, every organisation needs to drive down its costs, maximise its potential for innovation and speed up its decision-making. Everyone needs to ensure a good return on technology investments, to save on unnecessary travelling costs and to make best use of our time each day.
We must be prepared to respond and recover from emergencies, disasters and other contingencies quickly and, to do this, we need to be able to communicate easily and reliably. There is also a common focus to minimise the environmental impacts of our operations. The bottom line is that we all need to be able to do all these things quickly and effectively.
Aaron McCormack, CEO of BT Conferencing, explains how conferencing and collaboration services can help address these issues, enabling you to make more of your meetings, reduce travel costs and ineffective travelling time and speed up your decision-making process.
HOW CAN YOUR TEAM WORK SMARTER?
We’re all familiar with the one hour meeting that takes the best part of a day – or even longer – to attend. Conferencing services have provided solutions to this problem for many years now – helping executives work smarter, save precious time and reduce costs. The advent of a new generation of conferencing services has increased the kinds of meetings that can be handled in this way. Whether you are talking with two people or two thousand, you don’t have to be in the same room to have a successful meeting.
The cost and ineffectiveness of much of the time spent on business travel is already widely known - in the UK, business travellers spend up to 689,000 hours each month just waiting in airports.¹ There is no doubting the necessity and effectiveness of some face-to-face interactions, but there are many occasions where such a trip is not necessary.
Today's flatter, geographically dispersed companies need tools to help make their internal company communications as effective as possible. New conferencing services offer an efficient way to reach a large audience simply and immediately, without having to worry about - or pay for - the logistics of organising a high-profile physical event.
Truly productive meetings enable debate and then conclude in decisions or action plans - these usually require documents, slides or spreadsheets to be reviewed and discussed. In the past, this had to be done face-to-face. Web conferencing now enables you to share whatever you have on your desktop with your virtual audience instantaneously - no e-mailing out slides before hand and rustling to find where you are. It's an easy and extremely cost effective alternative that substantially reduces time spent travelling to meetings, whilst enhancing your decision-making.
Of course, sitting down together will continue to be the best option for some important meetings but it’s increasingly unacceptable for key people to be unnecessarily tied up in unproductive travelling, especially on internal company matters. It's just too expensive, both in impact on individual productivity and direct cost.
HELPING YOUR BOTTOM LINE
How many technology investments actually deliver the return they promise? Conferencing can significantly reduce unnecessary business travel costs and boost staff productivity. It’s one part of your communications strategy that you can rely on to deliver the returns you expect.
Competitive businesses simply cannot afford to buy technology to sit on desks gathering dust. That is not investment, it is waste. Technology investments should be fully justified and we need to extract the maximum possible return from every penny we spend. That means making sure that the technology is fully utilised so the promised benefits can materialise.
Making conferencing your 'business as usual' option for holding meetings does require a change in approach. Even though conferencing services are easy to master, some of your people may be apprehensive about taking the first steps. We therefore recognise the importance of offering our tailored programmes that help you establish conferencing as the routine way of holding meetings – a part of your everyday communications culture.
This unique education, training and adoption package is an integral part of the BT Conferencing service. Our own figures show that such programmes increase the number of active users by 20% and drive usage up by an average of 30%.² This ensures that you aren’t investing in technology that isn’t being used.
GAINING A GUARANTEED RETURN
Cost reduction is a key strategy for most businesses and studies by BT indicate that every pound spent on conferencing typically saves many times that amount in travel costs and unproductive executive downtime.
In fact, BT is so confident of the savings, that we guarantee you will make a return of up to 25:1 on your conferencing investment over a set period, providing certain agreed criteria are met ³ - with many organisations, particularly multinationals, exceeding this level of return.
TACKLING WIDER BUSINESS ISSUES
Like all the best innovations, conferencing services don’t just replace an existing method - they create altogether new ways of doing business to help you work more effectively. As Matt Bross, BT's Chief Technology Officer, says elsewhere in this edition, all businesses now need to innovate and take a more creative approach to business strategy.
Businesses these days confront an ever widening array of commercial and operational pressures. Success requires an effective response to a range of opportunities, risks and threats. Increasing competition, new legislation and new regulations all require new approaches. As part of your business communications strategy, conferencing can contribute on a surprisingly wide front.
Innovation has to be a way of life for businesses and public sector organisations As Matt Bross says, that innovation should be happening at all points in the enterprise and its value chain. Conferencing and collaboration tools provide an instant and interactive environment for people to create and debate – maximising the time spent innovating as well as helping drive clear outcomes.
Reduced time-to-market and more intense competition mean that organisations need to react faster by making speedy, informed decisions. Using conferencing, you can communicate quickly and effectively with dispersed sites and offices, briefing people and getting an immediate response to the latest issues. Managers have to be effective without spending all their time on the road - conferencing speeds up communications and the ability to respond, whatever the situation.
DOING BUSINESS GLOBALLY
More and more businesses now have international interests. The expansion of market opportunities in Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe, as well as growth by acquisition, mean that many more companies now have organisation structures with key functions and individuals located in different countries.
Businesses have to be able to communicate effectively irrespective of national boundaries, time zones and technical platforms. Conferencing meets this need without complicated and expensive infrastructure and without incurring huge travel costs. It's the ideal way to bring people together, wherever they are.
ASSURING BUSINESS CONTINUITY
In an increasingly uncertain world, all companies should have plans in place to ensure continuity in the face of external emergency or disaster, whether caused by a terrorist threat, a disease pandemic or a weather-borne act of God. Conferencing can be a vital part of your continuity and recovery planning. Familiarity with conferencing means your people can easily work together to minimise further disruption and enhance recovery.
Your company’s ability to respond to such contingencies and continue to function effectively will be greatly enhanced.
HELPING YOUR GREEN STRATEGIES
Conferencing can make a substantial and measurable contribution to your Corporate Social Responsibility strategy too. An independent survey confirmed that last year BT saved 54,000t of CO2 emissions by using conferencing - equivalent to more than 280,000 London to Edinburgh round-trips by car. And this represented a considerable company-wide saving of £146 million in unnecessary travelling costs.
Conferencing can also help employers meet their responsibilities under flexible working legislation and directives, enabling employees to participate fully in meetings when working from home.
To see if conferencing could help your business, consider these questions:
- Does your business have multiple sites?
- Are you doing business globally?
- Are you trying to do more with less?
- Are your executives on the road a lot?
- Are your business travel costs rising?
- Is much of your travel for internal business?
Answer yes to at least one of these questions, and you should be considering conferencing.
WHY BT CONFERENCING?
BT Conferencing has more than twenty years' unrivalled practical experience providing and supporting conferencing services in over 50 countries. BT Conferencing is a global market leader in conferencing, winning awards including the Frost & Sullivan award for market leadership in European Audio Conferencing in 2005.
- David Lewis Consultancy research; published in ‘BT WirelessBroadband Useful info, July 2006'
- BT internal statistics, June 2006
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