As with all industries at the moment, Enterprise 2.0 is trying to reposition itself as the one essential thing that you need in a recession. Michael Sampson wrote recently on how to manage your business in a recession, and one of his key points was to reduce costs using on-line meetings:
“Meetings that are more about co-creation of content than discussion and decision making can be supported through online meeting tools like Citrix GoToMeeting, LotusLive Meetings, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, and many more (my personal favorite is Citrix GoToMeeting — it just always works!). Co-writing of documents, looking over an upcoming presentation, brainstorming about market opportunities, and more … all can be supported just as well through online meeting tools, for about $40 per month.”
I have used a variety of these sorts of systems, and in general they work well within an enterprise, until you want to involve people outside your firewall. Webinars are an excellent way to get your message out to key customers at very low cost if done correctly. If done incorrectly, they are a nightmare for both parties.
I’ve just come off a failed webinar powered by WebEx, which I understand is the market leader for these kind of things. In all fairness, I think virtually any webinar broadcast over the internet that I have attended has had huge problems (with the exception of Adobe Acrobat Connect – Jive Software use this and it rocks, haven’t seen much uptake elsewhere though).
Two areas that are absolutely essential for successful marketing webinars (which didn’t happen today) are:
- The presentations must scale to the resolution of the webinar attendee. Many organisations with several people attending the webinar may want to meet together and project (800 x 600) the content
- The audio must work. In all the webinars I’ve attended this fails so often. I know that Lotus Sametime and Microsoft OCS suffer as they use ports that most corporate firewalls don’t open. If you’re offering a webinar to keep costs low then making me dial-in doesn’t work.
Interestingly, more lightweight, SaaS solutions such as Lotus Live, and Dimdim (who get bonus points for reaching out to me via Twitter minutes after posting my frustration with WebEx) seem to be coming out on the market, and as mentioned previously I was very impressed with Adobe Connect.
Dimdim’s tagline is “Web conferencing that just works” – that’s what we need! I’d be interested if anyone has used them, and may give them a try next time I host a webinar, so that my customers don’t go and blog about not being able to listen!