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Web conferencing has been around for years now, and can potentially provide many benefits for your organization. Here are some reasons to take advantage of this great way to communicate and collaborate.

* Save on travel costs

Cost is usually the first item in the list when an organization is considering Web conferencing. One of the major expenditures alleviated by Web conferencing is business travel. Although Web conferencing can't reduce your travel budget to zero, it can assist in bringing the costs down. Web conferencing will reduce hard travel costs (flights, hotels, meals, and ground transportation) and soft travel costs (saved employee time). Time saved by conducting a Web meeting instead of traveling to an on-site meeting averages 17 hours per meeting participant.

* Promote productivity

When business travel is required, productivity is lost. A Harris poll conducted for Delta Air Lines reported that only 5% of business travelers consider themselves focused on work while they are on an airplane. Workers can use Web conferencing technology to stay in their offices and maintain their productivity.

* Provide flexibility

Organizations can use Web conferencing to be flexible with planning, because Web conferences can be arranged on short notice. If you need to connect a group of people who are in different locations, the connection can be made in minutes. Not only can an effective meeting take place, but any visuals, including whiteboarding, document sharing, and text chatting (just to name a few), also can be shared during the meeting as if the participants were together in the same room.

* Use technology easily

Web conferencing can now be carried out with nothing more than an Internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone or phone. Almost any office setting will already have in place the technology needed for Web conferencing.

* Encourage effective teamwork

Web conferencing promotes more effective teamwork among people working on the same project but who are in different locations. If you are using a Web conferencing software program, teamwork is enhanced, for example, by media-sharing capabilities like whiteboarding (a feature that remote participants can use to draw or write simultaneously on a virtual whiteboard). It is much easier to conduct a collaborative whiteboard session with a distributed team than to try to explain thought processes by using an audio-only media like the telephone. Dynamic Web meeting software features give meeting participants a greater sense of contribution because they can express their thoughts in both an audible and a visual way.

* Help diminish resistance

Even after working through cost, productivity, and people issues, you or your organization might still be left with some die-hard resistance to Web conferencing. The good news is that the resistance is diminishing all the time. Some of the walls coming down include:

  • Lack of knowledge about the technology.
  • Workers who aren't comfortable with change.
  • Leaders who aren't sure where to begin and how to make the right choices.
  • Top executives or decision-makers who are not computer or Internet users.
  • System security concerns.
  • And last but not least, hesitation about being seen on video!
Fortunately, advances in and increased adoption of Web conferencing software are making its use common. If you've been afraid to approach your organization about rolling out Web conferencing, the time is now and we can do it for you.

* Capture entire meetings

In a Web meeting, participants are sharing and viewing the same data at the same time and are able to discuss, annotate, and collaborate as if everyone were in the same room. Using Web conferencing, you can record these important collaboration sessions so that colleagues can refer to captured information. It is also valuable to have entire meetings on record for anyone who was unable to attend.

* Deliver content efficiently

Web conferencing isn't just about meetings; it's also a great way to deliver content. For example, you can make broadcast announcements to large audiences (customers or clients), who can watch and listen from anywhere in the world. Web conferencing is also ideal for delivering other external communications, such as training sessions and sales orientations.

* Provide a fully capable digital workplace

Web conferencing can facilitate efficient business processes. For example, it can be used between entities (internal and external) to conduct approval processes, ask questions, and negotiate details; it can also be used for other facets of project management. The entire interaction between partners in a project can, as a bonus, be recorded for reference. Web conferencing provides a way to effectively collaborate with remote teams and resources, and it's also a way to keep things organized without losing any of the creative energy of the participants.

* Stay ahead of the game

If it's not obvious by now, Web conferencing is a technology that is going to be omnipresent in most, if not all, organizations. Because Voice over IP (VoIP) products and services are becoming more commonplace, there is little doubt that any organization that currently uses a telephone (and that would be all of them) will soon have an integrated Web conferencing strategy in place to take advantage of the VoIP infrastructure. This will be the unified communication (voice, data, fax, e-mail, interactive voice response, voice mail, and call centers) model that we have been driving toward for years now, transmitted over the Internet from a single server.

Web conferencing is a technology that must not be overlooked. If your organization hasn't yet considered the value it provides, the time is now.

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