Calculating the ROI of Video Conferencing and Why It’s Not Exactly What You’d Expect

Whether you read this blog regularly or you’ve stumbled upon it while researching video conferencing solutions, you’re almost certainly familiar with video conferencing’s most pervasive sales pitch: that adopting a solution at your company will drastically reduce the need for travel, saving you big bucks in the process.  That’s certainly true – in fact, a video conferencing system at a company which requires even occasional travel will likely pay for itself in a year to 18 months – but there’s a whole lot more to consider when determining a solution’s true return on investment (ROI) potential.  Today, we’ll take a look at some of the factors that make calculating the ROI of video conferencing more than a dollars-and-cents computation.

(Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Time is more important than money. Productivity isn’t tied to how hard you work – it’s tied to how efficiently you work.  Since 1947, productivity in the United States has grown by about 1.8 percent per year, and it’s certainly not because the 24-hour day has increased at the same rate.  It’s because more and better technology has allowed us to work, research and communicate faster than ever.  Pam Ware, chief operations and information technology officer of Metropolitan Bank, hinted at this when she said of her company’s LifeSize video conferencing suite, “We’ve saved hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in travel expenses, [but] I can’t even begin to quantify the… great efficiencies we’ve acquired.”

Employee satisfaction is difficult to quantify, but incredibly important. Everyone automatically grasps the value of money – after all, we use it to peg the value of everything else.  But something that can’t be easily boiled down to a bottom line is employee satisfaction, and that’s something which can ultimately make or break your business.  Companies that can offer workers a healthy work-life balance are at an advantage when attracting the best job candidates on the market, and they’re also able to minimize the wear and tear of their human resources.

For example, the amount of time the American worker spends in traffic has grown by more than 200 percent since 1982, a trend that’s unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.  By allowing employees to teleconference just one day a week, a company can save their workers time and frustration, building loyalty while maximizing efficiency.

Lyle McDermid, President and CFO of UniPac, had this to say about the human resources benefits his company had experienced thanks to their video conferencing system: “We have saved an exorbitant amount of time and money using LifeSize, and I think the real benefit comes from the relationships that video helps us build between offices and the flexibility it affords our employees. No longer are company executives traveling late nights and weekends to make a long-distance meeting; they are able to be at home with their family instead. And that’s one benefit you can’t put a price tag on.”

Most importantly, video conferencing expedites the decision-making process. The biggest reason that video conferencing’s ROI is more complicated than simply adding up the savings on travel expenses is that the value of a streamlined decision-making process is impossible to quantify.  Imagine the myriad ways your company would benefit financially by beating your competitors to market by a month or more.  That’s something video conferencing’s reduced turn-around on decision making and implementation can do.

Peter Ruig, Manager of Information Systems at Dutch firm Rembrandt F&O, noted that not only are videoconference-enabled meetings financially advantageous, but their efficiency is second to none.  “Meetings have become more effective,” he noted.  “More of the items in the agenda can be handled in the same amount of time.”

Harness the power of video conferencing. These are just a few of the real-world benefits that make video conferencing’s value so much more than its impact on your company’s daily operating costs.  By improving the value of your company’s human resources, streamlining its communication process and upgrading the efficiency of its decision-making abilities, video conferencing provides an ROI both concrete and incalculable – and that really adds up.

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