Recently, I helped set up a demonstration of a video collaboration huddle space at an East Coast law firm. My partner and I expected the lawyers to use the equipment for a couple of minutes to test it out with their colleagues in another office, but two minutes stretched into five, and five stretched into 25. As the call went on, steady voices rose to angry shouts. When I peeked inside the room, I saw that one of the lawyers was growing red in the face as he strenuously argued his point.

My partner and I looked at each other, sure that we’d blown the demo. We knew we’d set up the equipment correctly, but things were clearly going sideways for some reason.

However, when the legal team emerged from the room, one of the managing partners looked at us and said, “Please move forward with the project.” Then he walked away.

Later, we learned that the lawyers were pleased with how natural the video meeting experience was. The technology effectively melted away into the background, allowing them to conduct business as usual (which, in their case, sometimes involves a raised voice or two).

The power of huddle spaces to bring people together (even if they’re on opposite sides of the planet) is clear. But to achieve the full promise of the solution, organizations must get certain things right.

Standardize, Standardize, Standardize

In many organizations, different departments use different video solutions, choosing one that meets their unique needs. This makes it difficult for IT teams to support the technologies, and makes it even more difficult for users to make sense of the solutions. It’s important to get executive buy-in around a standardized videoconferencing software solution and hardware provider. Often, a particular line of business (such as sales) will drive the decision about which technologies to choose. Some organizations may need to adopt multiple solutions for very specific use cases. But once those decisions are made, organizational leaders must emphasize that departments throughout the enterprise need to follow the plan, rather than implementing their own solutions.

Clear Adoption Roadblocks

Frequently, I’ll see someone driving a brand-new luxury car, holding a smartphone to their ear. There’s no reason for them to do this; any new, high-end car has the ability to connect a phone to its speakers through Bluetooth. So why are people still using their hands? Because it’s what they’ve always done, and change takes effort.

If people can’t be bothered to take two minutes to connect their phones to their cars, it’s no wonder that many of them also balk at even the slightest bit of friction in a huddle room. And so, in addition to standardizing their systems, organizations should take steps to integrate their videoconferencing solutions with other internal and external tools — and remove any other roadblocks standing in the way of adoption.

This is where many organizations turn to CDW for help. Our adoption services not only help build excitement around video solutions (and train employees to use them), but also sniff out and fix problems that turn users off from the technology.

Learn More About Adoption Services.

Take Care with Design

Huddle spaces need high-end audio and visual tools to connect onsite employees with remote users. But organizations also must give careful thought to every aspect of the room design, from furniture to acoustics. If you select the wrong table or chairs, the camera or microphone might not pick up everyone in the room. If you prop a display too high on the wall just because that’s where you can find a beam, you’ll create an uncomfortable collaboration experience.

Identify High-Value Use Cases

If you can find business-critical use cases that are obviously enhanced by huddle spaces, that will go a long way to building buy-in, both among users and executive leaders. For example, a major book publisher recently adopted video collaboration, and editorial teams love it because it allows them to share book cover images and hash out ideas. That’s a huge win in an industry where an image can make or break a product.

Personally, I believe that video enhances nearly any collaborative workflow — for the same reason that it makes more sense to open your eyes when you speak with your colleagues than to conduct conversations with a blindfold on. With video, you can see facial expressions, check for understanding, and read body language and other nonverbal cues. In short, it simply creates more natural interactions.

Remember those lawyers from my earlier story? They weren’t using video for any particular visual purpose. They were simply having a meeting about whether to close and consolidate some of their remote branches. Ultimately, they decided against it. They’re going to support those branches with video collaboration instead.

Want to learn more about how collaboration technology can help you improve your workplace? Visit CDW.com/collaboration.

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