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Collaborative Meeting Services Checklist: 5 To-Dos

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Blending video meeting and collaboration tools, collaborative meeting services have become essential for business today. Yet picking the right tool for your organization can be quite challenging, given the wide array of options on the market today: standalone collaborative meeting services from pure-play providers; meeting, calling, and messaging bundles from UCaaS providers; and third-party integrations into other platforms.
 
It’s a buyer’s market, and drilling down to make sure a solution meets your organization’s unique requirements is a must, said Prachi Nema, principal analyst at IT research firm Omdia, a No Jitter/Enterprise Connect sister company. During a session at Enterprise Connect 2021, Nema and a panel of collaborative meeting service providers shared five to-dos when putting your strategy in place.
 
  1. Prioritize your top-weighted capabilities — These might be integrations, user interface and platform intuitiveness, security and compliance, room hardware, support, and interoperability, in addition to AI-enabled services. “These are the capabilities that will help organizations embrace hybrid work,” Nema said.
  2. Look for flexibility — “We’re all coming back in some manner. … For enterprises to make that place for work special, [a flexible platform] will allow people to work in as many different manners as they want,” Gary Sorrentino, CIO of Zoom, said. “We have to be as flexible as the employees need us to be and provide them with tools that are easy to learn about,” he added. These tools will help them get the job done, whatever their job function is.”
  3. Ensure your selection meets security and compliance requirements — “Make no mistake, the number one criteria is security,” Paul Gentile, senior director of UCC product marketing at LogMeIn, said. . Protecting your organization from phishing scams the right way is critical, he added. “If [security] isn’t baked into your particular platform, then you’re toast.”
  4. Consider support for multiple platforms — “It’s a heterogeneous world” for users, Peter Verwayen, VP of product management, at BlueJeans by Verizon, said. When COVID hit, vendors scrambled to bring any capability to their products a user might need. As we come back, enterprises are looking to optimize technologies and consolidate costs. “If you look at what's going on with horizontal collaboration tools being used for everything, it's like trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole,” Verwayen said.
  5. Implement AI-based features and functionalities — “Start looking at [AI] immediately” if your enterprise hasn’t already, Gentile said. “There’s no doubt that [AI] needs to be front and center” to stay ahead of where this hybrid or flexible movement is pushing vendors, he added. Gentile used machine learning as an example, noting that businesses could benefit from a transcription service's automatic note-taking capability on an agenda item. “ Verwayen chimed in and said more work must be done in terms of automatically detecting anomalies, “similar to what we do in terms of fraud detection.” For example, if someone's account is accessed in an unusual way, AI could be put in place to lock it down and send a notification to the admin, he said.
 
Nema also shared results from the Omdia Universe: Collaborative Meeting Services, 2021 survey, factoring customer experience, solution capability and market presence for 11 key vendors including 8x8, Avaya, BlueJeans by Verizon, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Pexip, LogMeIn, Lifesize, StarLeaf and Zoom. “We find critical to evaluate [customer experience, solution capability, and market presence] in totality because market is shifting and market is in front of me moving away from real capabilities to a more customer centric sort of experience,” she said.
 
If you’re an Enterprise Connect pass holder and missed Nema’s “Collaborative Meeting Services: Your Enterprise Checklist” session, watch it on-demand here.

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