Technology will never replace the chemistry of high value face-to-face meetings and even when people know each other well, there’ll always be a need to meet in person. Technology has undeniably reduced the number of journeys people have to take dating back to the introduction of the plain old telephone service.
When large enterprises make investments in real time collaboration technologies, typically Skype For Business, WebEx and Telepresence (in all its forms) the business case is typically based around savings in Travel & Entertainment (T&E) expenses. It’s easy nowadays to benchmark and monitor T&E costs through individual expense claims – and if adoption is done well, use of the technology goes up and T&E goes down.
The stand out case study over the years is Vodafone’s massive investment in Cisco Telepresence and Skype For Business, which achieved a 20% reduction in travel expense, with employees avoiding 100 trips per month per location, saving 200,000 hours of time over 3 years. Urban legend has it that Vodafone saved $400m over a ten year period.
But this isn’t the whole story and Vodafone didn’t get there with technology alone. Other ‘compensating controls’ related to human behaviour were also necessary. Travel policy rules changed to prevent people from booking unnecessary travel. They made it easier to book a video conferencing room than to book a flight, and when booking a flight people are prompted with reminders that immersive video rooms are available as an alternative.
Business relationships are crucial, especially in the early stages of development and we know that video meetings can never fully replace the chemistry of face to face meetings.
Adoption efforts continually communicate how video capable laptops and desktop video devices, through to purpose built video rooms, can be used for different types of meetings. Based on our experience, we’ve defined what we believe are five types of meetings.
This chart describes meeting types, their importance and the travel policy and protocol to be used in each with the corresponding process required to ensure people get the meeting experience they need.
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