What IT Needs to Know about Web Conferencing

In the Know

While the users of web conferencing systems (WCS) are most concerned about how the system works to meet their communication needs, the IT group has an important interest in how well the system operates and the amount of effort required to maintain it. To find out more about IT requirements for a good system, several members of a small company IT department were asked about the important considerations for selecting a good WCS.

Meeting the important user requirements was the primary goal for the change in systems. The previous system did not provide a quality user experience, with audio issues and occasional delays initiating meetings. Network speed at each location impacted the quality of video and VoIP, so any new system would need to operate efficiently. High quality and reliability are at the very top of the requirements list. The top of mind considerations for a new WCS were the ease of configuration and set-up of the new system. There is a desire to have a system with easy administrative procedures to minimize the work for entering new users and modifying the user base. Having the capability to link directly to the company directory for system access maintenance is very useful.

The next consideration is the ease of loading software onto all the devices that users require. This includes desktop computers, laptops, smart phones, Blackberries and tablets. As the workforce is highly mobile, it is very important that the system selected works on any device that is used. The downloading and setup process must be easy and work seamlessly. This is not only important for employees, but also for customers, clients and vendors that are routinely reached through web conferencing. If the system will be used for marketing webinars and web training, then additional options must be evaluated to ensure the system works smoothly across many different networks.

System ease of use is important to end users and occasional participants as well as to IT for development and delivery of training. Intuitive controls make a system more desirable and easier to administrate. Connectivity to the company calendaring system was also highly desirable to facilitate setting up and changing meetings (especially recurring meetings) with globally dispersed teams. The IT team emphasized the importance of having users test out different vendor options for ease of use and high quality performance before selecting a new system. User input is essential.

Cloud based systems minimize the IT workload and are used by companies of all sizes. This minimizes additional costs as technologies improve over owning embedded hardware and allows their users to benefit from the latest features. Some large global companies may want to have their own managed system to maintain control and efficiency. However, larger global companies often find the need to outsource for additional capacity or for some divisions or geographies. This allows flexibility to expand as necessary to meet their changing requirements.

June 11, 2014 | Categories: , , | Tags: ease of use, IT department, quality user experience, web conferencing, web conferencing systems


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