In a company, who are the easy adopters, and who are the tough sells, when it comes to shifting to face to face video calling?
You might think that the IT department would always be the early adopters. But it’s not always the case, reports Joe Mann, BlueJeans Technical Manager for Sales Engineering: “We at BlueJeans—and the company the IT people are employed by—of course want IT to be the champion for implementing BlueJeans as the company’s new solution for group video calls. But sometimes they are reluctant because they built the old system, and formed an attachment to it.”
Other times, he notes, IT folks can feel attached to having a piece of hardware they can touch, and feel nervous about making the transition to a cloud-based solution for their company’s face to face video calling. “The cloud” isn’t new anymore, and, in Silicon Valley, it’s a word you hear everywhere, but the rest of the world has yet to shift their thinking.
Another deciding factor in who adopts and who resists is generational. “Culturally,” notes Mann, “from an end-user perspective, you can see a gap there. Some people are simply used to the telephone. Even if it doesn’t work as well as audio and video together, it’s a known entity and they’re reluctant to put down the receiver and be on camera.”
Younger IT folks tend to be more progressive regarding technology, and are somewhat more accustomed to technological change. If they see some cool new thing has come out, whether it relates to group video calls or whatever else, they are willing to give it a try.
“Also smaller companies are more willing to try new things,” notes Mann. “Rather understandably, large enterprise clients find change more difficult because the scale is larger.”
Mann knows these things because he spends his days working with potential new customers, mutually looking into whether BlueJeans is a good fit for their particular audio and video calling app needs.
“After a qualified new sales lead comes in, we work with them to address a few different questions. First, the technical questions: Is our technology a good fit for what they’re trying to do? For instance, is their network ready for face to face video calling? Do they have a bunch of wired-up conference rooms for group video calls that use particular hardware? Then: How many employees do they have, and where are they all located? Perhaps global all-hands meetings are a big need, or town hall meeting scenarios?”
“I get in pretty deep, gather ideas and feedback, and then go to the BlueJeans product team and see if we can provide what they are asking for and require,” Mann explains.
What are the demands that come up again and again, and make embracers and resisters alike love the idea of using BlueJeans for face to face video calling, online meetings, webcasts, and so on?
One, he says, is integrations. BlueJeans developers have worked very hard to make BlueJeans integrate easily with all sorts of applications that businesses already know and use all the time: Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Google Calendar, Microsoft Office 365.
“It’s a scenario that anyone, at any company, can relate to, no matter how large or small the organization, and no matter your age group,” says Mann. “You’re having an involved email exchange or an IM conversation, and things are getting snarled up or lost in translation. If you could press a readily visible button or send a link to start a face to face video call that solves the question in a minute of live talking, what’s not to like?”
People are more likely to appreciate a new feature that integrates with their already-existing workflow—a technology they can use without making drastic changes in how they go about their day.
Also a winner-over is the idea of face-to-face video calling as a relationship builder. If your teammate is in Australia and you’re in Turkey, what’s not to like about an opportunity for face time outside that once-per-year conference you attend in Munich? “Even if I didn’t work at BlueJeans, I’d still love and use that part of what group video calls do for work relationships,” concludes Mann. “I enjoy the fact that I can connect ‘in person’.”