by Jacob Heinz, Executive Marketing Director at Verizon Business Markets
Twitter | @jlheinz
Working with people in other offices—whether that’s the other side of the country or the other side of the world—is a reality for most of us now. It might be a distant branch, a home worker, corporate headquarters, or an overseas supplier. The pace of modern business means that we can’t wait to see people face-to-face—that would be massively expensive too—and sometimes email just doesn’t cut it.
94% say video collaboration increases productivity.
But we’ve all suffered bad online meetings, right? People scrabbling around under the table for the right cable, noisy mobile connections, the list goes on and on. Only the other day a friend was telling me how the post-merger integration project she’s been working on has been held up by problems doing something as simple as sharing a large file. She reckoned that close to half of each meeting has been wasted. It’s such a common experience that it’s been parodied many times—like in this great video.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Good technology isn’t a “nice to have”
We all have fantastic communication tools at our fingertips these days. Smartphone messaging and videocalling apps are now incredibly powerful and easy to use. That’s why when we—especially the millennials among us—come across outdated collaboration tools we find it so shocking.
So why are business collaboration tools still such a laughing stock? The answer is that they’re not—at least not all of them. If you’re still suffering from a bad user-experience then it’s time to upgrade. The days of hunting around for dial-in numbers, poor-quality audio or video, and cumbersome reservation systems are gone.
By 2020, the majority of the workforce will be millennials.
It’s not only staff productivity and morale that can be affected by not keeping up. If your technology is out of date then you’re going to struggle to recruit the best new talent. These days candidates aren’t just looking at your latest earnings figures, they want to know about your culture too. And if you haven’t invested in the technology that they expect, then it might be them sending the “thanks, but no thanks” email.
The answer is out there
There’s no need to put up with technology that wastes your time and gets in the way of you achieving great things. There’s no need to leave your desk, the tools available on the desktop are now pretty impressive. And it’s not just the big screen, you can do a lot on your smartphone—including sharing applications.
Services like video conferencing have become much better as connectivity and network management have improved, but some of the biggest improvements have been in the user experience:
- “Call me” services eliminate the need to scrabble around for dial-in numbers.
- Screen sharing and whiteboarding are now easier to setup and more intuitive to use.
- Instant meetings and personal meeting rooms make it a piece of cake to start an impromptu meeting.
- And capabilities are expanding all the time. Products like Microsoft Surface Hub and Google Jamboard mean that conferencing can be almost like being in the room.
So what’s holding you back?
The technology is there, but implementing it well takes skills that many businesses don’t have. And no matter how good the technology, a bad implemention can damage return on investment. That’s where a specialist IT services provider, like a Verizon partner, can add tremendous value. Their experience can help you accelerate deployment, avoid common problems and build better a better user experience.
Guest blog post from Jack Weixel, Business Development Manager, Google.
Ask almost any small business owner what they need most and you’ll hear “more”: more time, more resources, and more money. At Google, we aim to help small businesses tackle these big challenges with tools to communicate and collaborate faster, easier, and more cost-efficiently. With these goals in mind, we’re excited to announce that Google Apps for Business – a suite of online tools that includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and more – called Google Apps for Verizon – is now available through Verizon with the option to be bundled with Verizon’s other business solutions.
Combining Google technology with Verizon’s service offerings provides small businesses with a complete package to get online and start running their business.
With Google Apps for Verizon, businesses can operate with less hassle and have easier access to information than ever before. Because everything’s stored online, you can access email, calendars, documents—all your apps—from anywhere you have Internet access. Update a document from your smartphone, access email even if your computer crashes, or work on your website from home. And no hardware or software to install means freedom from maintenance headaches and unnecessary infrastructure investments.
Communicate more easily
Gmail for business (with email addresses @your-company.com) includes integrated voice and video chat and instant messaging. Hold face-to-face meetings over long distances with video chat or get a quick response with instant messaging. With 25GB of storage, you won’t have to waste time deleting emails and robust search capabilities help you find the message you need in seconds.
With Google Calendar you can do more than just schedule and track appointments. Planning the next company party? Send invitations and manage RSVPs with just a few clicks. Coordinate schedules quickly and precisely by sharing calendars company wide or only with specific individuals, and maintain security and privacy with a range of controls.
Collaborate more efficiently
Google Docs enables you to create and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations online. With the ability for up to 50 people to simultaneously edit the same document, you can work together as though everyone’s in the same room and always have the most up-to-date version without the pain of attachments. Your documents are all stored on the web so you don’t have to be in the office to access them.
Create websites using Google Sites as easily as you would edit a document - no HTML skills required. Use Google Sites for project workspaces, team sites, intranets, and more. By centralizing documents and information you can provide access while maintaining control over who has permission to view or edit each site.
Get up and running faster
Verizon bundles services together to provide more offerings at a lower cost, making it easier for small businesses to get started. In addition to Google Apps for Verizon, you can bundle other business essentials – high speed Internet, unlimited nationwide calling, Verizon Websites powered by Intuit, Verizon Online Backup and Sharing, Verizon Internet Security Suite and others.
Whether you use other online applications or Google Apps for Verizon, is your first step in moving your business online, the power of the web offers substantial benefits. With easy-to-use applications that enable you to access your information anywhere, you can boost productivity and set your business up for success. Plus, you no longer have to spend scarce resources building an infrastructure that can be more efficiently run 100% in the cloud. Together, Verizon and Google will help you achieve business goals faster and be more productive than ever before.
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