Why video-conferencing fails to be adopted

Audio visual consultants using an ipad device | Vidica

Over the years we have helped many customers select video-conferencing solutions. Sadly, not all of them have successfully adopted the technology. Adoption is the greatest challenge to achieving the return on investment and the competitive advantages that video has to offer.

Recently, we have seen great improvements in the ease of use of conferencing solutions but we have not seen proportional improvement in adoption rates.

So, why does video-conferencing fail to be adopted and how can you improve the outcome for your business? To answer this question, we reviewed our experiences with customers over the past decade, many of whom deployed identical solutions in the same way but achieved very different results.

We discovered the key reason why video-conferencing fails to be adopted: lack of ownership, specifically lack of organisational ownership. Ownership is the elephant in the room when it comes to achieving adoption. Ownership of the need, the use and the support of video-conferencing is the critical factor for adoption. Lack of ownership leads to low adoption. Also, it must be ownership across every facet of the business. Individual ownership provides only transient adoption – once individuals leave or change roles, adoption plummets.

Vendors, resellers and professional service organisations can assist your company to acquire video-conferencing technology, but without user buy-in and ownership it won’t be fully adopted. You know your users better than anyone coming in from the outside, so at VIDICA we work with you and your team to ensure we understand your needs.

You can buy the best conferencing solution and the best advice in the world, but you can’t buy ownership; it’s organic, it’s home-grown, and without it there is no adoption. That’s why we advocate working with users throughout the entire process.

Three critical factors in successful adoption of video-conferencing

Many organisations invest in video-conferencing but fail to successfully adopt it, while others, with almost identical deployments, succeed. Why is this so? Successful organisations have a greater understanding of three things:

1)    Why do you need video-conferencing?

2)    How are you going to use video-conferencing?

3)    How do you plan to support video-conferencing?

The answers to these three questions are the key to successful adoption of video-conferencing. We recommend answering them thoroughly before any investment in video-conferencing. If you leave numbers 2 and 3 until you have bought the technology, you will have much lower rates of adoption, as you will lose the confidence of your users in the early days of deployment.

Why do you need video-conferencing?

We have deliberately used the word ‘need’ rather than ‘want’. If a better alternative, such as face-to-face meetings, was available, you would not use video conferencing. So, your circumstances indicate that you need video conferencing, and you also need it to be used.

For instance, telehealth and distance education organisations have high take-up of video-conferencing. Face-to-face exchanges are not an option for them due to the distance involved and/or the limited availability of resources. These organisations have clearly identified their needs and they put significant effort into making video-conferencing the best possible experience for all involved.

We have also highlighted the word you deliberately. No one understands the needs of your organisation better than those who are involved in its operation on a day-to-day basis.

How are you going to use video-conferencing?

It is critical to know how you are going to use video-conferencing, right down to detailed user workflows and the communication of these workflows to users. Failing to involve users in determining the use cases and their associated workflows leads to lower rates of adoption. Involving users in the decision-making process gains their buy-in and also provides you with the opportunity to manage any unrealistic user expectations ahead of deploying video-conferencing.

How are you going to support video-conferencing?

Knowing how you will support video-conferencing is critical. We have observed a direct correlation between adoption levels and the prevalence of in-house support, especially in the non-vocational sectors such as law and finance. However, lack of support is a symptom of, rather than the reason for, low adoption rates.

To uncover the key reason adoption may remain low, see our next blog, “Why video-conferencing fails to be adopted”.