Comparing the costs of a face-to-face meeting with and without video could be the solution to the challenging problem of quantifying video conferencing benefits. In this way it is possible to have a criterion to make all those calculations like ROI that every responsible organization has to do in order to take rational decisions.
How much does a business benefit from video conferencing? The quick and dirty answer is: “a lot”. But how much is it a lot? Making an exact quantification of video conferencing benefits is a bit of a challenge, as there are too many factors that affect the result. For example, how to quantify the benefits of working from home? Or the ones of meeting distant people that you would have never met in the reality as the travel costs outweigh the profits?
A solution that has been recently proposed is to introduce a common denominator of video conferencing benefits, the ‘face time’ clients get when they utilize video conferencing. It is anything else than the amount of time that they spend in a face-to-face conversation.
Once that the total amount of face time has been reckoned, it is possible to calculate and then compare the costs to get an X amount of face time through travelling and video conferencing. Not surprisingly, video outmatches travels.
The assumption on the ground of this approach is that the real value of video is strictly linked to the ability to meet people face-to-fac; you could not have met in person, while the savings in fuel, fares and hotels are secondary. In one word, it is necessary to change perspective: the big step is to shift attention from the saves on travel costs to the gains that a business gets from video and the cost it has to pay in order to reach the same goals without video.
However, there are still some problems left aside. For example, no solution has been proposed for the calculation of the intangible benefits of video conferencing. While it is possible to reckon how many new customers that become reachable through video are worth, it is really difficult to give a monetary value to items like the comfort of working from home.
On the other hand, this criterion is undoubtedly useful, as it allows businesses to know what potential return on investment they can expect before making the big step to video conferencing. In fact, this is a crucial datum that every responsible organization must get before taking any decision.
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