As with any business software buying decision, comparing web conferencing solutions to one another can be a long, drawn-out and confusing process. The variety of features and the overall complexity of modern business collaboration can make choosing the right collaboration solution for your business an intimidating prospect.
The next time you or your organization are making a web conferencing comparison, use these best practices to help guide your decision:
Think in Terms of Needs, not Features
Feature comparisons are a huge component in any software purchasing decision. However, collaboration solutions like web conferencing are such a far-reaching addition to an organization with so many different use cases and applications that numbers and checkboxes don’t tell the whole story.
Think about web conferencing features in terms of your company or team’s unique needs, rather than simply looking at spec sheets. By doing so, you can get a more complete idea of what kind of meetings you and your team actually need to have and tailor your web conferencing choice accordingly.
For example, ask yourself:
- How many people are usually in my online meetings?
- What devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets) do my attendees and I need to join online meetings from?
- Are my meetings primarily content-driven, involving a lot of document sharing?
- Are my meetings primarily people-driven, focused on having online conversations and brainstorms face-to-face on webcam?
- Are there any specific security or compliance issues unique to my industry that a web conferencing solution has to abide by?
Prioritize User Experience
Business software has traditionally lagged behind consumer offerings in a key area: ease of use. Mobile apps, web apps and cloud apps today aim to provide frictionless, intuitive experiences to delight users and foster usage, yet many web conferencing tools feature needlessly complex, archaic designs.
And this is a problem for business purchasers. An unintuitive product leads to poor adoption rates, which means you’re spending money on a tool that no one is using.
Make user experience a key priority when evaluating a tool like web conferencing, something that your employees could potentially use multiple times a day. Easy meeting entry, simple-to-understand controls, a lack of messy plugins and intuitive mobile apps are all must-have features of a modern web conferencing solution.
End-to-End Support is Essential
Finally, don’t neglect a key area of any software decision, one that will impact you and your organization before and during its deployment: support. The underlying infrastructures and network configurations involved in deploying and utilizing a web conferencing solution are complex and constantly changing. Leveraging implementation assistance with technical and industry experts from your collaboration provider can make all the difference in executing a successful, cost-effective software deployment.
But the support needs don’t stop once the tool is deployed. Your users—whether they’re internal employees or external partners and vendors—will encounter support needs, and without access to support from your collaboration provider, the burden will fall entirely to your support staff to manage them.
Carefully review a web conferencing provider’s support structure before making any purchasing decision, including in-meeting support options and self-service support such as email, live-chat or customer communities.
Looking for more insight on comparing and buying web conferencing tools? Download the Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing today.