We hear a lot about the social enterprise and democratization of video these days. Organizations are recognizing that there’s no “seat of knowledge” that resides in a centralized group, such as a training department, but that knowledge lives among the body politic; among employees who have tribal knowledge, are masters of their subject matter, or possess specific skills or experience.

The challenge for organizations isn’t understanding the value of these pockets of knowledge, it’s figuring out how to harness the knowledge and make it available to employees who can use it. LMS’s weren’t designed to serve that model. Posting content onto You Tube or other public sites compromises security and control. Some companies have built their own portal but that requires resources beyond the scope of most organizations, and home-grown platforms often don’t work very well. InterCall’s CorporateTube faces the problem head-on.

Around InterCall, we refer to CorporateTube as a “You Tube™ for the enterprise.” It’s an analogy that clicks with all our key stakeholders—an intuitive, easy to use video portal. It’s completely secure and can be configured with any level of access; so everyone can add content or permission to share can be limited to a few, you can designate who gets to view what content, and so on. Plus we’ve integrated our webcasting platform so that all you have to do is click a box and the webcast is available in the portal. Using a webcast instead of a simple video allows you to add interactive elements like Q&A and chat, and lets you track and measure what your webcast viewers do when they’re in the webcast. Employees like it because it’s technology they’re accustomed to using, and video is far more engaging than any other learning medium. Training departments like it because it’s effective. CorporateTube is available as a cloud solution so there’s no hardware for IT to install or code to maintain.

Click here to see how CorporateTube can ensure that your employees never stop learning while they work.

Eric VidalEric Vidal is a Director of Product Marketing at InterCall and is considered a leading voice and expert in virtual business, which expands from marketing to collaboration to learning. He has more than 15 years experience in developing, implementing and optimizing strategies in these areas for numerous organizations and Global 2000 companies. As the director of product marketing for InterCall’s event services, Eric manages the strategy and initiatives for the virtual technologies that include virtual environments, streaming, event management services and operator assisted services. Previously from WebEx, Eric managed the virtual classroom product, as well as brand advertising and new media. Over the last several years, Eric has held management positions at Cisco, WebEx, IBM, BBDO Worldwide and Macromedia.

Five Tips for Better Conference Calls
August 23, 2013 @ 10:05 AM | By Sarah Murphy

Conference calls are one of the most efficient and cost effective strategies for reaching a business decision. When used properly, they can save thousands of dollars and several days that would otherwise be spent on travel when dealing with long-distance clients or coworkers. Yet when used improperly, they can be one of the biggest wastes of time in the corporate world.

Just think about the collective time executives have to spend away from their desks when they could otherwise be working. And when a 15-minute phone call turns into an hour-long debate that gets absolutely nowhere, everyone’s day becomes backed up. So how do you get the most out of your conference calls? By considering the following:

Be prepared ahead of time

Whether you’re hosting the meeting in a physical location or virtually with a conference call, starting a meeting without an agenda is a risky move. Having a bulleted list of necessary topics will allow for greater ease in jumping back and forth between key points and will mitigate the amount of awkward dead air space that can ruin a conversation. Know what you want to say ahead of time, say it and move on.

Reserve less time

One of the reasons that meetings tend to go longer than they should is that they are often booked for much longer than the meeting should take. As Parkinson’s Law dictates, work will expand so as to fill the time available for its completion. When people see that they have an entire hour, they will plan their agenda accordingly to accommodate for every minute. Instead, figure out how much time you really need for the meeting and schedule an appropriate duration.

Make sure to listen

It is easy to get excited on a conference call. And when you get excited, you will want to chime in to express your opinion. But just like in real life, remember that it is important to listen and go along with the flow of the conversation. Take notes, and when the time comes don’t be afraid to express that you have more than one point to make. Otherwise, by interrupting you risk opening the floodgates for others to do the same—and if there is no moderator, the call is usually downhill from there.

Assume everyone is on the line

A common mistake that can absolutely ruin a conversation—and your reputation—is to make a comment over a conference phone thinking that you are in private with your fellow coworkers. Even if you are 100 percent certain of who else is in the room, be mindful of the fact that others might be listening in silently. And never forget that conference calls can be recorded and played back later for others to hear. One way to ensure you always know who’s on the line is to use an online call manager platform so you can see who’s talking.

Speak slowly, and clearly

We all have to occasionally deal with the fast talker. This person will speak a mile per minute and will jump recklessly from topic to topic, leaving those on the other end who might be taking notes or strategizing in real-time at a complete loss. Therefore, it helps to speak slowly, as if you are giving a speech to a large crowd or in a room with an echo. Don’t be afraid to pause occasionally, either.

What are some of your best tips for superior conference calls? Let us know below. 

 

Sarah MurphySarah Murphy is a marketing manager at InterCall. With over ten years of experience in the conferencing industry, Sarah has worked with customers and products that cover all segments of conferencing, including traditional operator attended services, video and online meeting solutions.

How the BYOD Movement is Affecting the Work/Life Balance
August 22, 2013 @ 09:25 AM | By Christina Todisco

Just a few years ago, employees were told to leave their mobile devices at the door. Coming to work implied a clear separation between personal and professional matters. And while mobile devices such as pagers and cell phones were used in day-to-day company operations, seldom were they the same devices that were utilized at home.

Over the past several years, however, as mobile devices have become more and more prevalent, business executives have finally stopped trying to combat the use of personal devices in the workplace. Instead, they are seeing the benefits; this phenomenon is being referred to as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement.

Now, whether you are in the office, at home, on the road or working from a remote location, employees can connect precisely where and when they need to. And the BYOD movement doesn’t just refer to smartphones. It also refers to the integration of desktops, laptops and tablets—although smartphone users account for 44 percent of the U.S. mobile population. Currently, 31 percent of people are using smartphones and tablets in the office, while 52 percent are integrating smartphones and desktops at home.

For business leaders, the BYOD movement has completely revolutionized the traditional office setting. While an organization used to be contained by its brick-and-mortar facility and hardware, now the office has expanded. It is in the coffee shop down the road and on the airplane. It is in the car and on foot. And InterCall works to ensure that no matter where you are trying to connect from, your online meeting experience will not be compromised. With the InterCall solution, you can access crystal clear communication from any device that you choose.

InterCall does this by providing a free app that gives you complete, secure command of your meetings while you are remote. Push reminders, live chats and VoIP are some of the benefits that this app provides, and it is available on both Android and Apple devices.

As any employer will understand, the days of checking your personal life at the door are over. The demands of 21st century business operations mean that employees need to be connected at all times. Being able to do this seamlessly, is no longer just about leverage—it is imperative.

Anyone who hosts OR joins a meeting using InterCall’s conference call services can get more information or download the mobile app from iTunes, Google Play or http://www.intercall.com/mobilemeet.

Christina TodiscoChristina Todisco is a marketing manager at InterCall and has been in the conferencing industry since 2002. Christina currently provides product marketing support for InterCall’s audio services, reporting and invoice solutions and InterCall Online. When not working, Christina enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, family and friends.

Top Tips for Optimizing Your Meeting Time
August 21, 2013 @ 01:11 PM | By Jill Huselton

If you currently work in an office environment, then you know the struggles of trying to balance multiple spinning plates. You’re managing three email accounts and returning phone calls, all the while trying to set aside enough time for that important business meeting.

The workplace is now more consolidated than ever thanks to tightening budgets and high demand for multi-faceted employees. Nowadays, it’s all about doing more with less and optimizing the little time you do have to spare (something you’re most likely all too familiar with).

The only problem is, it becomes increasingly difficult tokeep those plates spinning when time feels like it keeps slipping away. In fact, a recent poll conducted by McKinsey Global Institute shows that the average worker now spends two-and-a-half hours writing emails every day. This occupies more than 25 percent of employees’ time, which could be better spent on higher priority tasks.

One way to ensure that those higher priority tasks are being efficiently handled is to cut back on meeting time and optimize the time you do have.  If you’re afraid those plates are going to crash any second, take a deep breath and take a look at these tips on how to better optimize meeting time.

Scheduling on the quarter hour mark: Trying to schedule a call from 2-3 pm? Push it from 2:15-3 pm and you’ll find a much better result Research shows that scheduling calls on the hour is ineffective because it tends to be the busiest time for working professionals.

Don’t schedule more time than you need: Meetings can become pretty costly when you think about time wasted in meetings that are schedule for more time than needed. For example, the one-hour meeting that really could have finished in 30 minutes takes your team to get off track. The result, as you can imagine, is frustratingly working late or delaying deadlines as you try to catch up. Sometimes the best thing you can give co-workers is more time back on their on schedule.

Leverage Online Meetings: Online meetings can significantly reduce the amount of time needed during a standard phone call by taking conferencing online for increased collaboration and information sharing. Even more, participants that are remote or on-the-go can join in via their mobile phones so that they can make the most of their time outside the office. Actions are made more decisively and results are more quickly seen.

Jill HuseltonJill Huselton is a senior marketing manager at InterCall. She's been in the conferencing industry for nearly 15 years, working in operations, account management and marketing, mainly based in Colorado. Before leaving the Mile-High City, she hiked a 14er, one of her top accomplishments. Now she's traded the mountains for the beach and works from a home office in North Carolina.

Shadow IT – What is it and should I fear it?
August 20, 2013 @ 02:21 PM | By James Whitemore

Over the last couple of years we’ve seen the rise of something we call Shadow IT. Shadow IT is the “gray market” of hardware and software being used by employees that is not supported by a company’s central IT department. This includes mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and USB drives, but can also include applications like DropBox, Gmail or Skype.

In the past, Shadow IT was often the result of an impatient employee’s desire for immediate access to hardware or software without going through the necessary approvals. But now many employees are using them out of necessity, especially where niche products help them perform their job better.

For the IT staff, Shadow IT can feel like an invasion of the established system and pose a problem when it comes to infrastructure management. The adoption of these types of applications requires consideration within your existing network infrastructure to address security risks when non-sanctioned applications are not subject to the same testing as other technologies. In addition, these applications can negatively affect the user experience by slowing the speed of the network and/or bandwidth requirements.

There is a secret to mitigating the challenges of Shadow IT: the corporate network. With the right network, IT can address these issues head on. The right network is one we call an “application aware” network, one that allows the IT team to determine appropriate Quality of Service (QoS) settings, prioritizing certain applications above others to ensure that business critical apps get the most bandwidth. This means that regardless of device, video conferencing (for example) won’t be interrupted because someone is watching last night’s ESPN highlights.

By deploying a solution that leverages an application-aware, enterprise-grade network with built-in intelligence, organizations can also leverage capabilities like comprehensive Unified Threat Management and managerial reporting capabilities that provide you with exceptional visibility into how your network is being used. Taken together, these elements allow the IT infrastructure to intelligently and efficiently respond to the proliferation of application requests and establish the necessary flexibility and scalability that the organization requires to maximize productivity across the team.

Shadow IT – it’s here to stay, but now it’s manageable. Learn how at the West IP Communications web site.

James WhitemoreJames Whitemore is senior vice president of sales and marketing at West IP Communications, the team that delivers InterCall’s unified communication services. InterCall and West IP Communications are both a part of West Corporation. James holds a B.A. (Hons) degree in Business from Newcastle University in the U.K. and currently resides in Boulder, CO. In his downtime, James is an avid skier with an enthusiasm for traveling and car collecting.

« July 2013 | Main | September 2013 »