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Three-Quarters of Companies Will Adopt Video Conferencing Within Two Years, CDW Report Finds

April 25, 2011 | William Zimmerman
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Citing Reduced Travel, Improved Collaboration, Nearly Half of Companies Will Pursue Immersive Telepresence

CDW LLC (CDW), a leading provider of technology solutions to business, government, education and healthcare, today released the findings of its Video Conferencing Straw Poll Report. The report finds that half of companies use some form of video conferencing today and another quarter plan to implement the technology within the next two years. Video conferencing adoption, driven by reduced operating costs, improved decision making and improved communication, will branch out beyond simple peer-to-peer devices into more cutting-edge collaborative video conferencing systems, such as immersive telepresence.

The report is based on two surveys and includes a total of 631 information technology (IT) and telecommunications managers at U.S. companies, with the goal of understanding drivers behind the three major categories of video conferencing: desktop, multisite meeting rooms and immersive telepresence. While desktop and multisite meeting rooms are the main video conferencing tools for companies now, IT managers show increasing interest in immersive telepresence. Within the next two years, almost half of those surveyed indicate that they plan to implement immersive telepresence, which uses high-definition, life size images to simulate an in-person meeting, from the experience of entering a conference room to the sensation of being at the same table with users spread across multiple locations.

"Companies see video conferencing as a great tool to collaborate remotely while cutting travel costs. Without video conferencing, you had to plan travel and pay all of the associated costs to get quality face-to-face time with a client. Now, at a moment's notice, you can have the same benefits of that meeting, without any of the travel planning and at a reduced cost over time," said Christine Holloway, CDW vice president of converged infrastructure solutions. "However, IT managers must still take a few key steps to prepare for a successful implementation."

Companies that have implemented video conferencing say they took the following steps to ease their implementation:

  • 69 percent completed a network assessment
  • 66 percent changed or upgraded their IT networks to handle video conferencing
  • 54 percent purchased managed conferencing services
  • 44 percent built and manage their own conferencing infrastructures
  • 32 percent use free conferencing software
Respondents report that the top implementation barrier they face is the inability to justify the investment, which reduces management support. Yet, just slightly more than half of the respondents who implemented video conferencing track ROI. Of the companies that track ROI, 62 percent are charting costs saved from trips avoided. In addition to travel costs, there are other aspects of ROI that some companies track:

  • Dollars saved from reduced meeting time
  • Dollars saved from reduced downtime (or, "windshield time")
  • Dollars saved from faster time to market
  • Dollars saved from reduced employee turnover
  • Employee productivity
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Supplier relationships
"The ROI disconnect prevents many companies from implementing video conferencing successfully," said Holloway. "Executive decision makers need to see the bottom line to determine whether implementing the technology is worth it, and in most cases the value of video conferencing is easily demonstrated."

Survey respondents offer the following advice to peers considering video conferencing:

  • "Consider prorating the cost of network infrastructure upgrades, as many of these upgrades would have been necessary anyway."
  • "Keep track of money saved on trips that could have been. Also, focus on the number of client relationships in terms of new business (revenue)."
  • "Absolutely track travel avoided and employee satisfaction from not traveling."
  • "Present your tracking data in an easy-to-understand, clear way for executive colleagues to quickly understand the importance and usefulness of new-media technology."
  • "Establish an agreed-upon business plan and well defined mission."
  • "Two words: employee satisfaction - that's the ROI you need to gain ROI everywhere else."
For a copy of the complete Video Conferencing Straw Poll, which includes recommendations for successful implementation, please visit www.cdw.com/videoconferencingstrawpoll. For more about CDW's video conferencing capabilities and offerings, please visit www.cdw.com/videoconferencing.

About CDW

CDW is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and healthcare. Ranked No. 38 on Forbes' list of America's Largest Private Companies, CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to meet their needs. The company's solution architects offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. Areas of focus include software, network communications, notebooks/mobile devices, data storage, video monitors, desktops, printers and solutions such as virtualization, collaboration, security, mobility, data center optimization and cloud computing. CDW was founded in 1984 and employs more than 6,200 coworkers. In 2010, the company generated sales of $8.8 billion. For more information, visit CDW.com.






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