Category Managed services

How IT/AV Teams Can Answer Common Remote User Questions

Despite all the rapid changes our clients have made to the way they collaborate, and an over 50% increase in daily calls, AVI-SPL support teams have never wavered.  Standing strong (in their remote workstations) to assist end users as well as their usual AV-support department contacts, our support teams are ensuring everyone is capable of collaborating from wherever they are quarantining. 

I checked in with Michael Coleman, AVI-SPL national help desk manager, to see how his team is handling the challenges of being fully remote while teaching users to also be remote. Many of those users may not have routinely engaged video or collaboration technology. Michael gave me the rundown on how questions from users have changed and the best strategies for companies to ensure all their users are collaborating to their full potential. Common questions include:

  • “Which platform is best for video conferencing? I have Skype, and Cisco, and Teams on my computer – which do I use?”
  • “Which platform is best for webinars?”
  • “How do I get my audio to work?”
  • “How do I handle recordings?”
  • And Michael’s favorite – “How do I do that potato thing?”

It’s clear that end users are trying hard to collaborate, but there are some basic questions and guidelines for your IT and AV departments to address to ensure your users are well educated on video collaboration and your chosen flavor of product. This drives user satisfaction and ensures security of communications and corporate files. Let’s take a look again at those FAQ’s and provide some answers.

“What platform is best for video conferencing? I have Skype, and Cisco, and Teams on my computer – which do I use?

UCC/AV management teams can help users by providing a user guide or other clear messaging, such as:

  • Teams is our preferred collaboration platform. We use this application for chat, file sharing, and availability.
  • Pexip is our preferred video meeting application.

The major collaboration providers have made a suite of resources available for end-user training and adoption.  Place these in an easily accessible location so users can begin with self-help and education.  We have created a listing of these resources on our AVI-SPL website. It’s also a good idea to identify platforms that your users may be asked to join in meetings with other companies – and provide basic help documentation – so they can better understand the differences and your corporate preferences.

User experience has a huge impact on the adoption, satisfaction, and usage of collaboration and video conferencing applications.  On the management side, ensuring meetings can be scheduled with one click in Outlook (or your preferred email application) serves to greatly reduce confusion and improves the user experience.

 

“Which platform is best for webinars”

Your preferred collaboration platform may be your preferred solution for webinars, but if you have an alternate solution, be sure to have additional instructions available for this platform, including when it should be used. As dozens of in-person events have moved to digital formats, it’s important to ensure you have a webinar platform that allows in only who have permission, and that its information can’t be grabbed by those not invited. As for which is best — that’s a question with a number of relative answers. A variety of platforms offer different benefits, drawbacks, and cost structures.

 

“How do I get my audio to work?”

The most common problem we’ve seen recently is users who know how to get started but quickly run into frustrating issues that may cause them to revert back to a phone or other less feature-rich methods that reduce the ability to collaborate, not just work. While some users may not understand the need to dial in with their phone when their computer is connected to a meeting, many users are running into poor audio quality due to equipment that was not designed for daily use.

Ensure your end users are equipped with proper technology to achieve a quality collaboration experience. With the variety of distractions that can exist in the home office when spouses, children, and pets are together all day, the basic webcam and microphone included in a computer, or the headphones included with their cell phone, may not cut it for a full work day on a regular basis. AVI-SPL has a variety of work-from-home bundles that can solve this challenge.

 

“How do I handle recordings?”

The answer to this question depends on the underlying recording solution selected by your organization. Many times, a recording may seem to “disappear” after it is completed, making it a challenge for the recording employee to find the file. Or the file may be too large to share easily. Add instructions to your corporate UCC/AV user guide on how to use recording, when to use recording, and how to access files.

 

“How do I do that potato thing?” / “How do I use a virtual background”

Luckily, these questions are very easily addressed. Zoom offers a tutorial. And AVI-SPL published a video walkthrough for Microsoft Teams. Branded corporate images are a great idea for custom backgrounds. Consider building yours today!

If you have any questions about ways to improve support for your users, contact us now or call your local AVI-SPL office

Benefits of Staff Support for Your Collaboration and AV Technology

For those times when you wished you could have a robot clone of yourself (or at least a third or fourth hand), AVI-SPL Managed Services is here to help create a strong end user support experience while doing the heavy lifting to keep your systems functional.

How can AVI-SPL Managed Services strengthen your operations?

Improved Response Times

When we place our staff on site, whether augmenting your current support staff or providing staff in a remote office that needs it, we’re removing the phone call barrier to support.  The ability to walk into a conference room and demonstrate how to conduct a meeting, and to begin troubleshooting immediately when an issue arises builds your workforce’s trust in their collaboration technology and improves their experience.  We’ll even provide backfill when your employees are out for a day – ensuring you always have a smiling face with expert knowledge available to help. 

Improved Staff Capabilities

As the industry and technology evolve, you need staff who can support your current and future environments.  AVI-SPL has some of the most knowledgeable staff in our industry, and our size and scope make us a top prospect for potential employees.  All AVI-SPL employees, including those at your site, have access to our internal training initiatives, as well as partner and industry training.  We remove the cost and time associated with employee training from your budget, while providing staff who are extremely capable and incentivized to continue learning and improving.

Best Practices of the Industry

AVI-SPL follows documented industry best practices.  This means that your organization will benefit from processes that provide the best operational efficiencies, security, and lifecycle management.  Our ITIL-certified staff are experts in IT as well as collaboration technologies, ensuring clear communication with your IT department and compliance with their standards. We also follow best practices with regard to the training and development of on-site personnel, so that you are assured of support from staff members who follow mutually approved documented processes. Your on-site staff effectively coordinate the response to incidents, collaborate with your teams, answer their questions, and make recommendations to your operations and technology based on their qualified assessments.

Even More Efficiency with Symphony

Beyond just managing your day-to-day collaboration estate, our patented AVI-SPL Symphony remote monitoring and control application can provide operational efficiency and reduce staff costs.  Integrating all your workflows into a single workflow provides easier management, while also automating previously manual procedures.  Our Room Sweeps provide a daily health check of each space, alerting you to issues before they impact an end user.  Beyond daily support, Symphony provides analytics and actionable business intelligence to ensure your current and future systems continue to meet your collaboration goals and unlock business value. 

With over 350 employees on site at client locations daily, AVI-SPL has the operational experience to support small, one-location organizations up through multinational Fortune 50 enterprises.  We have the standardized roles and the flexibility to create a role for your specific needs. so tell us about your support staff challenges and let’s begin strengthening your operations with AVI-SPL Managed Services.

Coronavirus Highlights Value of Remote Work

With the recent news of the coronavirus dominating world headlines, this is a good opportunity to evaluate your company’s emergency plans. We’ve already seen the effects of the virus, also known as COVID-19, on the global markets. On Thurs, Feb. 27, the Dow fell almost 1,200 points, its highest one-day point drop in history. Much of that is being attributed to the effect of the virus on supply and demand. As a result, some of the largest companies in the world are restricting their employees’ business travel while also allocating more resources for virtual work

At around the 3:40 mark of this TechCrunch podcast, the speakers discuss Zoom and its ascent in price from the low $70s just a month ago to reaching over $120 in early trading on Friday, Feb. 28. That notable rise is occurring as video conferencing has become not just attractive but necessary. The TechCrunch discussion notes a number of major conferences – including Facebook’s F8 – that have been cancelled out of caution against the coronavirus.

Whether the cause is a virus, natural disaster, or some other disruptive event: How you will handle interruptions and minimize a negative impact to your business?

Uninterrupted Workforce Collaboration

Branch office locations need to function even if a main office is closed, and employees need a reliable, agile collaboration environment to enable them to work from home without missing a step.  AVI-SPL’s digital workplace solutions can ensure your workplace has the collaboration tools to handle any challenge and keep your talent and operations connected even amidst a crisis like the one we’re currently facing. 

By deploying a solution such as Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex Teams, your workforce can continue to communicate regardless of distance or time zone.  These platforms also provide video conferencing to enhance the collaboration experience.  Popular cloud-based solutions like Zoom and Pexip can be easily integrated with these collaboration platforms.

A Better User Experience of Collaboration Technology

Some offices may have to close because of an event like the coronavirus.  But that circumstance only underscores the need to support those offices that are still open for business. AVI-SPL Symphony enables you to keep your operations functioning and your workforce productive – even when some of them can’t be at the office.

You can remotely monitor and control all collaboration technology from any of your locations. By leveraging Symphony, either as a managed service or Symphony as a Service, organizations can manage their meeting scheduling and launching. They can also monitor their meeting health status while it’s in progress by monitoring connection status and giving staff the information they need to provide in-meeting support without being in the room. You will know what rooms and devices are ready for use and can make fixes before the participants are impacted.

Be Prepared – And Reap the Benefits at the Same Time

Digital workplace collaboration can’t just be part of a contingency plan in the face of rare – we hope — emergencies. This is the way we work today, and it’s a big reason why companies can so easily expand into locations and markets and attract the talent that drives their success.

How can you ensure that your investment in collaboration is having the desired impact? The key is having the data. AVI-SPL Symphony provides tactical and strategic business intelligence through analytics as customized insight through Build Your Own Reports. You can then make informed decisions about room construction/repurposing, technology refreshes, and addressing issues like technology adoption.

Not only will you gain more insight into your environment, but AVI-SPL digital workplace solution deployments will help your organization save time and money.  In 2018, Forrester Consulting’s “Total Economic Impact of AVI-SPL’s Digital Workplace Solutions” found a meeting productivity increase worth $11.9M over three years for a large enterprise organization, and savings of 122,500 hours per year due to meetings that start on time.  In an uncertain economic environment, these savings will help your organization maintain its agility to meet the ever-changing climate.   

While we all hope that no emergencies ever impact our offices, events like the coronavirus bring into sharp relief the value of collaboration technology. Build your digital workplace, and your company will have more than a set of just-in-case tools; it will be equipped to compete in today’s business environment by empowering your people to share the ideas and create the value that leads to growth.

How to Calculate the Value of Your Digital Workplace Solutions

Just about any significant expenditure you make in business needs to be justified with an estimated return on investment (ROI). Because AVI-SPL provides the digital services that are designed to improve how your business operates, we’ve created a calculator that you can use to figure out the financial value of digital workplace solutions.

Our new productivity calculator will factor in your company’s information and show the benefits of solutions that improve the employee experience and productivity in the workplace.

Forrester Consulting’s “Total Economic Impact of AVI-SPL’s Digital Workplace Solutions” shows the kind of value you can get from improving your collaboration solutions and outsourcing their support to AVI-SPL. Based on a three-year model, the study showed a meeting productivity increase worth $11.9 million. Other findings from the report, which aggregated four different AVI-SPL customers into a composite company, found:

  • 14.3% net reduction in total cost of ownership of digital meeting solutions 
  • 20% increase in meeting-room utilization
  • $1.5M in savings on management and support costs

To estimate your savings, go to this landing page to access the calculator. Once you’ve downloaded the spreadsheet, you can enter information like:

  • The number of meeting rooms in your company
  • How many rooms will be equipped with video conferencing systems
  • Hourly cost of your full-time employees
  • Cost per square foot of meeting spaces

Take a few minutes to gather the info needed and a few seconds to enter it into the spreadsheet. Our calculator will then determine the value delivered by higher meeting-room utilization, improved staff productivity, and AVI-SPL’s managed services. And you’ll have the ROI numbers that clear the path for digital workplace transformation that improves the culture, productivity and efficiency of your business.

Download the AVI-SPL Digital Workplace Solutions ROI Calculator >

See the Real-World Impact of AVI-SPL Symphony

We know that AVI-SPL Symphony improves your collaboration experience. Now we’re excited to share real-world statistics from one of our clients to demonstrate how large that improvement can be.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) relies heavily on distance education and online collaboration to overcome the challenges in delivering education across such a vast region. Our RMIT case study explained the positive impact that Symphony had on the user experience and the support staff.

Since that study, an audit of the Institute’s 2019 data found:Issues RMIT resolved with AVI-SPL Symphony

  • 580 auto-detected faults
  • 761 proactively resolved critical tickets
  • 30% fewer client-led tickets

These led to the following savings:

  • 380 teaching hours
  • 1,160 classes and events
  • 750 tech hoursTeaching and tech support hours RMIT saved with AVI-SPL Symphony

Overall, Symphony has helped nearly 32,000 students and faculty avoided a negative impact.  This impact avoidance increases end user confidence and adoption of the technology provided – thus increasing ROI of the environment. 

These results provide evidence of the improved user experience that attracts and keeps talented students and faculty engaged with each other and enhances the ability to reliably collaborate across locations. By ensuring that its collaboration technology is available and ready for use, RMIT has experienced overall adoption increases and collaboration satisfaction.