Tag Archive | teleconferencing

Organizational Transformation Calls for a New Communications Infrastructure

Rise of the Virtual Organization

Today, we are witnessing a powerful transformation in the business space. The very nature of the workplace is changing, as more and more people are working in locations that are different from those of their colleagues, managers and direct reports. It’s no longer the case that road warriors—sales people, service personnel and executive management—are the only people who routinely work outside the office. These days, everyone from contact-center agents to HR managers to general knowledge workers are likely to spend at least some of their time working from a remote or home-based location, and as the lines between home life and work life continue to blur, many employee find themselves “on the job” even as they watch their kids’ soccer games or commute on the train to the work.

One key factor driving organizational sprawl is the globalization of business. As businesses tap into new markets looking to expand customer reach and grow revenues, they also acquire local talent and maintain local presence through a growing number of branch offices and remote sites. As a result, functional teams increasingly span multiple, geographically dispersed locations.

But there is also a growing tendency to offer employees a better, more balanced life style. Many businesses today are creating flexible work programs – with flexibility extending to both employee workplace and working hours. Such programs enable businesses to accomplish three key objectives:

  1. Reduce facilities costs (including real estate, utilities, equipment, furniture, etc.),
  2. Reduce employee commuting costs and improve employee satisfaction and retention (and possibly productivity),
  3. Spare the environment by reducing fuel emissions.

Some refer to these benefits as the Triple Bottom Line. There’s no doubt that the virtual workplace offers significant advantages to companies and their employees. Myriad third-party research supports the benefits. For instance, in a 2009 study, the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) reports that 84% of companies believe that flexible work arrangements in their organization boost employee morale. That’s up from 76% over 2008. And 78% of polled companies say flexwork options bolster retention rates, up from 64% the previous year.”[1]

Meanwhile, a 2008 report from Corporate Voices for Working Families[2] notes that in a 2007 survey of senior-level executives at large corporations, respondents reported an overwhelmingly positive experience with flexible work strategies. By a ratio of 9-to-1, respondents reported that flexible work strategies have a positive effect on helping organizations reach business goals.

[1] http://www.i4cp.com/news/2009/08/17/i4cp-study-flexible-work-arrangements-gaining-more-attention-in-the-workplace

[2] http://www.cvworkingfamilies.org/system/files/FlexibleWorkStrategiesExecutiveSummary.pdf

Mobility and Mobile Communications Drive a Paradigm Shift

Mobile communications have brought down the walls of the confined business space and the physical establishment. Individuals can now communicate and do business from their homes, cars, airports and hotel rooms, virtually anywhere.

Today’s employees are much more tech-savvy than they have ever been before. They have access to various high-end communications and collaboration tools as consumers and they demand the same tools and capabilities in the workplace as well. We acknowledge a growing trend of “consumerization” in the enterprise, which manifests itself in the increasing use of consumer devices, applications and tools for business purposes, with or without the official support of the IT department. This trend is most evident in the use of mobile devices – smart phones, tablets, and so on. A 2010 Frost & Sullivan survey of 200 North America-based C-level executives and IT managers revealed that 70% of the respondents used mobile devices for business purposes, and 49% claimed that mobile devices represented the primary communications endpoints used by the majority of users in the organization.

Consumerization is having a significant impact on technology investment decisions in the enterprise. Business IT and telecom managers have been somewhat reluctant to support all these consumer devices and applications, mostly due to cost, interoperability and security concerns. In fact, only 50% of the respondents in our survey reported that their mobile devices were integrated with the corporate communications systems and applications. Yet, 91% of those respondents reported that mobile extensions of corporate communications were either very important (61%) or somewhat important (30%) to their daily operations.

Discussions with CTO and CIO professionals reveal that technology investment decisions now involve a variety of stakeholders. Line-of-business (LOB) managers and even end users are forcing IT to take into account their preferences and needs when deploying new technologies and solutions. In fact, end users are the primary driving force behind the adoption of advanced mobile devices in the workplace. Going forward, as the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, IT will need to support the right set of mobile communications tools to enable employees to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

So What Can you Do? Gain a Competitive Advantage through Advanced Communications Solutions

The changing nature of today’s dispersed and diverse workforce demands employees be able to access a wide array of collaborative communications tools, regardless of the de-vices they’re using, or where they’re using them. Mobile workers, teleworkers, “corridor” warriors and the so-called “digital generation” have varied needs, but they all share several things in common:

  • They require an “in-office” communications experience regardless of where they are based;
  • They use a diverse set of software tools and devices to communicate (ranging from, but not limited to, instant messaging, web and video conferencing, soft and hard phones, social media, Blackberries, Android phones, iPads and iPhones, and even lowly PCs.).
  • Users and business managers wish to be able to present a uniform public identity – a single number and a single mail box where users can be reached by customers, partners and co-workers.

Companies must embrace the virtual workplace, but as they do so, they must deploy technology that supports this new way of working. Communications solutions must conform to the needs of individuals and to specific job functions, not the other way around.

How do you Chose the Right Solution for your Organization?

I was recently on a panel with Jim Davies, Mitel’s CTO, discussing evolving business needs and changing requirements for communications solutions. Jim talked about the founding principles of Mitel’s Freedom Architecture and I found those in line with key market trends. Mitel’s next-generation architecture is based on the following building blocks:

  • Flexible, software-based solutions that allow integration with other vendors’ best-of-breed technologies,
  • Support for a broad range of endpoints, including UC application support on a variety of mobile devices such as Nokia, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Android and iPhone smartphones,
  • Alternative deployment models including on-premises virtualization, Mitel-hosted cloud (Mitel AnyWare) or carrier-hosted solutions (Multi-instance MCD).

Fred Crespo, VP of Information Technologies at Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, who was also on the panel, affirmed, that the walled-garden approach is no longer acceptable to end users. He also gave examples of employees demanding support for the mobile devices of their choice and the resulting need for proper integration with the rest of the company’s communications infrastructure.

Businesses looking to future-proof their investments need to develop their next-generation architectures taking the above factors into consideration. A business’ communications infrastructure must support a single user identity and integrated access to a variety of communications software and devices for a user without adding cost and complexity. That technology should be open and flexible, software-based, and be able to run on any device and accessed from anywhere.

Lypp for Business – the new Gaboogie


Thanks for the mention Om. I thought I would chime in (albeit late) and provide some details on our upcoming re-launch of the Gaboogie.com services that will be known as Lypp for Business. Without getting into a long-winded sales pitch, Lypp for Business will deliver all of what Gaboogie was (business teleconferencing on steroids) and then some.

It will combine both traditional conferencing plus the mobile features that we offer in the Lypp mobile service today. The existing low-level API will also include these new Enterprise features.

Oh yeah, I thought I might mention that the company name is still Gaboogie. We changed the service name to Lypp mostly because of the difficulties that people were having with spelling, remembering, pronouncing Gaboogie <gah-boog-eee>.

Gaboogie delivers conference call notification for mobile users and attendee phone number updates mechanism.

The most obvious pain in setting up conference calls is the coordination and notification / invitation of those calls but also the hassle of having to remember the PIN and 1-800 number to call at the precise moment the call is happening.

Gaboogie's main selling point from the beginning was scheduled conference calls that call every participant at 3 different numbers without the need for a PIN. The conference call notifications are sent out via email which also includes the Toll Free number for users to dial into if they simply could not be called. Last Monday Gaboogie released conference call SMS notifications for mobile crowd.

In addition to SMS notification for conference calls a new feature was added that will help solve many of the age-old problems related to importing contacts into the phone book. Gaboogie now has a phone number update feature that helps with this. If you add a contact to your Gaboogie phone book and you do not have a phone number associated with that contact Gaboogie sends out an email that requests the user to add their relevant phone numbers and provides a link in that email which brings the attendee to a web page where they can update their phone numbers for that Gaboogie user's phone book. Now the moderator does not have to worry about having the most current numbers for gaboogie to call, the attendees will update that themselves.

This has been invaluable for some of the Gaboogie customers that have many recurring conference calls. The larger enterprise customers can now mandate that the attendees (usually staff) update their phone numbers so they can be called. Of course each attendee receives a conference notification via email (and SMS for mobile users) anyways so if they have not updated their numbers they can still dial into the call.

Some of the other features include conference call recording, private sub conferences and a real-time moderator console to assist in managing in-progress calls.

Gaboogie Launches Alternative to Traditional Conference Calling Services

Gaboogie v1.0 - conference calling updated - is ALIVE! 

Vancouver, Canada, May 7, 2007 – Gaboogie (www.gaboogie.com) announced today the launch of its alternative to traditional conference calling services. "Traditional services require users to remember dial-in numbers and PIN codes and are frustrating and time-consuming," said Gaboogie Co-Founder Daniel Gibbons. "Calls don't start on time and some people miss the call altogether. The experience ranks right up there with standing in line at the airport or waiting on hold to talk to technical support."

Unlike traditional conference calling, Gaboogie's service automatically calls all conference attendees at the scheduled time and creates the call. Gaboogie also offers an intelligent interface for online booking, and a Dashboard for managing every aspect of the call. The conference organizer can record calls and syndicate using RSS, use the Dashboard to mute lines, add additional attendees on-the-fly and create private conversations within the conference.

"I've wanted to update the conference calling experience for a long time," said Gaboogie Co-Founder Erik Lagerway. "Lightweight, standards-based web interfaces have been created for almost every mainstream business application, but conference calling, something many business users do several times a day, has been largely ignored. We're looking forward to making things better."

Gaboogie users can call participants in over 70 countries, including the US, Canada, all EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many other locations in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Gaboogie:

Start On Time www.gaboogie.com

Intelligent Hosted Conferencing

Recently a fellow blogger pointed me to this website, which is a great resource for etiquette and preparedness in teleconferencing.

I have yet to experience a good hosted conference service that is intuitive and also powerful. Most of the money in this industry is still being spent on traditional reservationless audio conference calls. The age-old dial a number, input your PIN and wait for the moderator. Whoop-pee.

Apps like Foonz and Jajah are cute and I suppose some would use this for their conference calls but for those of us who take part in at least 1-2 organized conference calls (with 5 or more participants) per day it is unlikely these services would offer enough oomph to satisfy the moderator/host or the participants.

Making the service grandma-friendly is a great idea but let us not forget what makes up the majority of people using these hosted services. IMHO Professionals, consultants, SOHO, SMB and Enterprise business people need more than just basic functionality in order to increase efficiency and make the best use of their time on the call. I have yet to see a compelling, powerful, easy to use and affordable hosted audio conference call service to date.

If you think you know of something that would fit the bill, PLEASE let’s hear about it.

%d bloggers like this: