Webtrends targets creative uses for GoToMeeting with HDFaces across the company.
Webtrends is a leader in digital intelligence and digital marketing optimization. The company enables its more than 3,500 customers globally to deliver the most relevant brand messages and experiences that drive marketing results across mobile, social and web channels. Building on its origins in web analytics, Webtrends now offers software platforms for engaging audiences, targeting and converting them to customers and analyzing results. The company also offers consulting services. Webtrends is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and has offices in Seattle, San Francisco, London, Melbourne and Hong Kong. The company employs approximately 400 people.
The challenge: finding an affordable video conferencing solution
In 2011, Webtrends adopted Citrix GoToMeeting for web conferencing to achieve three important goals: cross-platform support for Windows and Mac devices, exceptional reliability and cost-effectiveness. According to Jim Goings, director of IT, GoToMeeting was better-suited to the company’s needs than previous solutions it had used. Employees across the organization, from sales to engineering, use GoToMeeting in a variety of scenarios, including conducting software demos for customers and holding internal meetings across offices. On any given day, about 150 employees are actively using the tool.
As a technology company that prides itself on being at the cutting edge, Webtrends wanted video conferencing capability to enhance the screen-sharing and audio capabilities of web collaboration. The problem was the high cost of outfitting conference rooms, an expense estimated at $10,000 per room. “Basically, we suffered without video conferencing,” said Goings. “We had a longstanding need for it but couldn’t justify the investment. GoToMeeting with HDFaces solved that problem for us.”
Implementing GoToMeeting with HDFaces video conferencing
GoToMeeting with HDFaces provides high-definition video conferencing for small group meetings without the need for expensive hardware or video systems. Anyone with an Internet connection and a webcam can use GoToMeeting and get video conferencing at no additional cost.
Webtrends served as a beta user of HDFaces. “We had high hopes for this new feature but were afraid it wouldn’t live up to our expectations,” Goings recalled. “We did a trial with our Mac users and realized immediately that it was really compelling. It’s super efficient, very simple to use and cost-effective. We rolled HDFaces out to all users within a week after it launched and during the training, people were immediately hooked. They could see right away how it would enhance web conferencing.” Goings noted that GoToMeeting with HDFaces offers more functionality and accommodates more participants than consumer tools. “It’s made for more than just a conversation with your mom – it’s designed for business.”
Webtrends makes GoToMeeting with HDFaces available to anyone who needs it, including remote staff worldwide, and will soon have webcams in all conference rooms. The setup features two flat panels, one for sharing presentations and the other for viewing up to six video feeds.
Video conferencing makes a huge difference
HDFaces video conferencing makes a “huge difference” in the engagement and attention of meeting participants, according to Goings. “I’ve been in countless meetings, and it’s clear that seeing people’s faces changes everyone’s perspective. You can observe body language and expressions, which represent a large part of understanding what someone is saying, and you can also see whether people are paying attention.”
One scenario where non-verbal communication plays a vital role is the recruitment process. Webtrends is actively hiring new staff, many of whom are not located near its offices. HDFaces video conferencing enables hiring managers to make faster and more accurate evaluations of candidates than with phone screenings alone. “You can have a more natural conversation when you can see the person,” he said. “Plus, there’s no travel involved.” In addition to interviewing a remote candidate from a Webtrends office, the reverse setup could be used: A local candidate could come to the office and be interviewed by a remote team member using HDFaces.
Similarly, GoToMeeting with HDFaces provides a powerful solution for collaborating with and managing these remote employees once they come on board. “Sometimes to get the best talent, we have to hire from outside the local area,” Goings said. “But there are challenges associated with working remotely, and HDFaces is helping us solve them. For example, we have a remote software engineer that works from his home office in Colorado, and he uses the Citrix solution to collaborate with his team and the rest of the company.” HDFaces is used to show the remote software engineer what is being written on the whiteboard during a brainstorm session. Goings joked, “I’m so used to communicating with him via HDFaces that when he came to headquarters, I didn’t recognize him without his headset.”
Goings is also considering taking video conferencing to a level beyond occasional meetings, mimicking the office environment for remote employees with an all-day video feed. “We are discussing ways to run the system continuously, with the camera focused on a remote employee eight hours a day. We wouldn’t necessarily be talking or collaborating, but we could see the person working – just as if he were in the next cube.” This type of highly informal video presence is planned for Goings’ standing “non-meeting” held every Thursday, which is dedicated to tackling chores that have been put on the back burner. “We all bring food and get to work, while our new remote colleague in Seattle will be doing the same at his location.” This approach promises to strengthen employee management, teamwork and morale.
Interaction with executives is still another scenario that benefits from video conferencing. The company holds “fireside chats” that allow employees to ask questions of senior leaders while watching them via HDFaces. The tool has also been used for important meetings with executives at other companies. In one situation, a key individual was unable to fly to Webtrends headquarters; instead, Goings set up HDFaces with a television monitor on the fly and the executive was able to participate remotely. She reported feeling “as if she were right there in the room,” he said.
Bandwidth is a non-issue
Although increased bandwidth demand has been raised as a possible impediment to video conferencing, at Webtrends it is a non-issue. “The bandwidth requirements of HDFaces are a drop in the bucket for us,” said Goings. “We would have to conduct a large number of simultaneous meetings to experience an impact on our LAN. We haven’t observed any significant effects, so we haven’t increased the size of our circuits.” According to Goings, while bandwidth is an understandable concern among companies considering enterprise-wide video conferencing, “it’s not a valid excuse.”
He concluded, “Full video conferencing with HDFaces provides so many benefits that I can’t imagine life without it. Many of my co-workers feel the same. People who use HDFaces won’t ever go back.”