Lync to Skype for Business Update: FAQs

With the transition from Microsoft® Lync® to Skype® for Business complete, you might still have some lingering questions. To make sure you’re up on the latest from Skype for Business, PGi brings you a Skype for Business FAQ update. Read on to learn all about how to incorporate Skype for Business into your work life.

Q: What is Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync)?

A: Skype for Business is a unified business communications solution that merges the user-friendly Skype interface with enterprise Lync capabilities. The software upholds the enterprise-grade security that Lync users know and love while providing fresh features. Key features include instant messaging, one-click audio and video calling, easier file transferring and more.


Q: Is Skype for Business a rebrand or a new product?

A: It’s both! Lync officially became Skype for Business in March 2015. With this update Microsoft released a new client experience for mobile, tablets, and desktops, a new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365 under the Skype for Business name.


Q: What features have changed in Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business offers a variety of new features for Skype and Lync users to enjoy, including a fresh look, the ability to make calls using your desk phone for audio, integration with the Skype directory, Call Monitor, Rate My Call, quick access to call controls, emoticons.


Q: What are the benefits of using Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business makes it easier to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, customers and/or clients, cut business costs and better tracking your expenses. Users can:

  • Replace unnecessary business travel with a quick and easy video call to cut back on costs.
  • Set up accounts for staff, allocate credit and track everyone’s expenses, which makes it easier to budget calls and identify any areas where you can save.
  • Stay connected with colleagues through instant messaging or affordable audio calls, and keep in touch with customers with one-click audio and video calling.

Q: What is the proper migration procedure from Lync 2010 Standard to Skype for Business?

A: To correctly update from Lync 2010 to Skype for Business, users must first move to Lync 2013.


Q: What will Microsoft rebranding Lync as Skype for Business change besides the name?

A: The Lync to Skype for Business rebranding is more than just a name change. The updated software allows users to connect, share and collaborate easier than ever with an improved experience new features.

The new client experience takes on the popular Skype icons for calling, adding video and hanging up, as well as easy content sharing and telephony. Connecting with coworkers and colleagues is simple with instant messaging, and audio and video calling. Professionals can reach hundreds of millions of other Skype users outside of their organization to help build valuable business relationships.


Q: How is Skype for Business different from Skype?

A: People already using Skype will appreciate the enhanced control and ease of S4B. It’s simple to find and connect with colleagues, and you can use the devices you already have to reach businesses through an enterprise-grade, secure, IT-managed platform.


Q: How is Skype for Business different from Lync?

A: Those coming to Skype for Business from Lync will recognize all of the security and compliance you’ve come to expect. You’ll experience a fresh look and feel with simplified controls and some great new additions like Call Monitor, Rate My Call, emoticons, access to the Skype director and the ability to call from any phone.


Q: Why use Skype for Business instead of Slack?

A: There are many benefits of using Skype for Business instead of other communication platforms like Slack. Users can host free group chats, reference chat history that is automatically saved, instant message, and audio and video message. Make, receive and forward calls whether you’re in the office or on-the-go from any device – phone, laptop or mobile. Place calls on a mobile or office phone using S4B and your phone number will appear as if you were calling from your company’s main phone number. But, what’s the best part about using S4B? The user-friendly interface.


Q: How does PGi support Skype for Business?

A: PGi’s GlobalMeet Audio Hybrid for Skype for Business brings superior voice coverage, quality and service to every conference call. Users can join calls from any mobile or landline phone, host or join meetings with up to 300 participants, access over 100 local and international toll-free access point. Request a trial today to experience the superior audio quality during your next Skype for Business meeting.


Learn more about Skype for Business and how it can benefit your company!

FAQ: Skype for Business Audio Integration with GlobalMeet

Delivering enterprise-class audio for meetings anywhere around the world is one of our many goals at PGi. GlobalMeet® Audio helps ensure that every meeting has the best audio quality possible. That’s why PGi offers an audio integration solution to work with various unified communications solutions like Microsoft® Skype for Business®.  To learn more about GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business, check out our list of frequent asked questions:

Q: What is Skype for Business?

A: Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync) is a unified business communications solution that merges the user-friendly Skype interface with enterprise Lync capabilities. The software upholds the enterprise-grade security that Lync users know and love while providing fresh features. Key features include instant messaging, one-click audio and video calling, easier file transferring and more.


Q: How does PGi support Skype for Business?

A: PGi’s GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business brings superior voice coverage, quality and service to every conference call. Users can join calls from any mobile or landline phone, host or join meetings with up to 300 participants, access over 100 local and international toll-free access point.


Q: What are the benefits of using GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business?

A:  GlobalMeet is an audio conferencing solution that is seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server to bring superior voice quality to every Skype for Business meeting. There are many benefits to integrating an audio conferencing solution like GlobalMeet Audio to your Skype for Business meetings.

Here are just a few benefits:

  • Hybrid audio: Connect to the same meeting using computers (VoIP), smartphones and telephones (PSTN). Better audio quality will improve your meeting experience and productivity.
  • Dial-out: Hosts can quickly add telephone participants to any Skype for Business meeting. Dial-in, dial-out and VoIP will connect participants from both inside and outside of your company
  • Global network: Connect meeting participants from around the world. Expansive geographical coverage with more than 140 local access numbers and a reliable network that hosts more than 60 million meetings each year.
  • Shared minute & single user bundles: Shared minute plans and user bundle packages offer better value and more predictable monthly costs.
  • Better meeting management: Larger meeting capacity on calls with up to 300 participants and a range of audio controls for better meeting management.

Q: Do I need a Skype for Business audio integration?

A: You may be wondering why you would need an additional Skype for Business audio provider. Skype for Business provides VoIP audio, but there are limitations in scale, audio quality and consistency, global availability and accessibility.

If you’re experiencing any or all of the following challenges, it may be time to consider GlobalMeet by PGi:

  • Poor audio quality in Skype for Business meetings
  • Trouble connecting participants that are outside of the company’s firewall
  • Deficiency of global PSTN coverage
  • The need to let participants join meetings from any device
  • Lack of a solution that easily integrates with Skype for Business

Q: How does GlobalMeet Audio complement Skype for Business?

A: GlobalMeet Audio makes every Skype for Business meeting more productive and efficient with capacity for up to 300 VoIP and PSTN participants and the best audio quality available in web conferencing.

When integrated with GlobalMeet, Skype for Business is enhanced with the following features:

  • PSTN-based conferencing services
  • Expansive, global IP infrastructure that is optimized for audio collaboration
  • Ability to dial out to PSTN participants
  • Capability to mix Internet and PSTN callers in the same Skype for Business meeting
  • Ability to include dial in numbers in meeting invitations

Q: How does GlobalMeet compare to other audio integrations?

A: There are certain capabilities that GlobalMeet offers that the competition does not. Some of the key features that set PGi’s audio conferencing solution apart from the competition include the following:

  • Enterprise-grade global service with 24/7 regional support
  • Professional account management teams that put the customer’s needs first
  • Greater flexibility in pricing with shared minute bundles available for enterprise and users.
  • Expansive, global IP infrastructure allowing you to directly serve customers around the globe
  • US-based telecom carriers who support audio conferencing for Skype for Business

Q: What is the difference between Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server?

A: If you’re currently using or considering using Skype for Business for IM and web conferencing, you may be wondering what the difference between Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Sever is. Here’s a brief comparison:

  • Skype for Business Online offers less than 1M minutes per month for audio. This is best for small companies with little to no global presence and less infrastructure or capital investment.
  • Skype for Business Server offers 3M+ minutes per month for audio. It’s best for company with a low number of users and high minutes per user.

Ready to see how GlobalMeet Audio for Skype for Business can help improve your next meeting? Click here to find out more.

PGi’s Collaboration Software Install Checklist

When shopping for a collaboration solution, it’s important to ask the right questions and gather the proper information to guarantee that you are selecting the ideal collaboration tool to help meet your company’s needs and further your success. The perfect collaboration solution should not only have your ideal features and price point; it should also integrate easily into your company and protect your information.

To help ensure that you’re a prepared buyer, PGi is proud to provide you with the Collaboration Software Install Checklist. From questions of network throughput to security requirements, the Collaboration Software Install Checklist will guide you through all the questions you should consider before purchasing a collaboration tool. With this checklist in tow, you will be able to purchase a collaboration solution with easy confidence and integrate it into your company seamlessly.

A special thanks to PGi  Senior Solutions Architect Dave Steier and Director of Technical Engineering Corey Sienko for their invaluable contributions to this Collaboration Software Install Checklist.

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Conferencing App Comparison: Which App Is Right for You?

Regardless of company size, industry or job function, PGi can help you improve collaboration and get better results through our award-winning conferencing solutions. Each of these different conferencing apps are appropriate for different use cases. Check out our overview to help you determine which of these apps would best fit your specific needs based on the features and benefits of each:

iMeet – All-in-One Conferencing Collaboration

iMeet® is a cloud-based service that is designed to provide high-quality web and personal video conferencing. iMeet is as simple as a phone call, but much more enriching, powerful and fun! iMeet combines screen sharing with crystal clear, multi-point video in a virtual meeting room that is perfect for achieving face-to face interaction, without the travel expense. Designed for clarity and instant access to anyone, it combines the best parts of web, video and audio conferencing with social networking.

Features:

  • Host or join a meeting with up to 125 participants
  • Personalized meeting URL makes it easy for guests to join your meeting
  • Easily connect to audio using your 3G/4G wireless network or Wi-Fi
  • Record your meeting
  • Run your presentation, or pass control to someone else, right from your mobile device
  • Cloud-based file storage
  • Share files and chat with others in the meeting
  • Allow guests to share their desktop screen
  • Automatically syncs contacts across all of your devices
  • Free for guests

GlobalMeet Mobile – Simply Better Web Conferencing

GlobalMeet is the fastest and easiest way to start or join a conference call on your mobile device. GlobalMeet for iPhone dials your conference call access numbers and passcodes for you automatically. GlobalMeet is an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art meeting solution that gives you a fast and easy way to start your audio conferences. No access numbers to remember or passcodes to dial. GlobalMeet automatically connects you to the meeting with one touch on your iPhone.  With GlobalMeet for iPhone, you can take command of every meeting, even when you’re on the go, with your favorite GlobalMeet features right at your fingertips.

Features:

  • Easily host or join a meeting
  • Invite guests via email or just dial your to your guests
  • See who’s talking with GlobalMeet Active Talker®
  • Lock, mute or record your call with a single click
  • Adjust participant volumes and mute noisy lines
  • Get one click access to participant profile and contact information
  • Upload and present files (iPad)
  • Schedule a meeting (iPad)
  • Global VoIP Softphone
  • Manage all audio and web conference settings
  • Launch an impromptu meeting

iMeet Agenday Smart Calendar – Mobile Conference Call and One-Touch Dialing Tool

The iMeet® Agenday mobile app is a calendaring and mobile business productivity application that allows you to improve connectivity for the on the go professional.  You can easily join web and audio meetings right from your calendar, with one-touch access. For a mobile workforce that utilizes Apple, Android or Amazon phones, iMeet Agenday brings business productivity to the calendar. With weather, driving conditions, LinkedIn and Facebook integration, your workforce will be better prepared for meetings. Using iMeet Agenday, you can quickly orchestrate meetings on-the-fly with the ‘Meet Now’ functionality.

Features:

  • Consolidated view of all your calendar activities: Outlook®, iCal®, Google Calendar™, Yahoo and more
  • Initiate ad hoc or scheduled team calls in one touch
  • Poll meeting participants for the time and date that fits everyone’s schedule
  • Send email and smart text message notifications in one touch
  • Get turn-by-turn driving directions
  • Update Salesforce.com while on the go
  • Social network integration
  • Customizable alerts
  • Group calling calls multiple participants simultaneously
  • Access your entire schedule via the full Agenday Apple Watch app

Whether you’re having a meeting with 10 people or 10,000 people, we can help your organization communicate and collaborate more effectively. Click here to see PGi’s full suite of conferencing and collaboration solutions.

How Can My Team Benefit from Business Collaboration?

Better collaboration equals better results. Companies are constantly adapting to provide the most efficient and productive work environments for their employees. In today’s business environment, it is no longer the individual, but the whole team that is the vector for business success. Business collaboration empowers organizations to be more competitive in the global market and drive innovation within.

Technology reigns supreme in today’s teamwork-driven workplace, connecting more employees than ever before. Corporate investments in collaboration technologies now include team workspaces, group chat, social intranets and video conferencing . The future of the collaboration landscape is projected to experience some substantial growth and influence in the coming years. According to PGi’s Benefits of Collaboration Infographic:

  • 2 in 3 companies will adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs by 2017
  • The total collaboration market is expected to grow to $33.8 billion by 2018
  • 35% of collaboration services will be cloud delivered by 2018
  • 85% of North American users across organizational levels connect with peers via video – the most of any region

Millennials in particular seek collaborative work cultures. They have been a key driver in changing the modern landscape of both workplace environment and office culture. Recent research has produced some interesting statistics on the millennial workforce as shown in the Benefits of Collaboration infographic:

  • 88% prefer collaboration over competition
  • 50% of the workforce will be Millennials by 2020
  • 25% want a chance to prove their leadership ability on the workplace

Key Benefits

Improved Time to Market
Time to market will always be crucial to business operations as well as organizational success. Interconnected team communication significantly reduces the time it takes to bring an idea to fruition. Better workplace a and fewer approval levels can reduce time to market by 20%.

Greater Innovation and Creativity
Great ideas bubble to the surface when diverse strengths and perspectives work together. Employees collaborate with colleagues outside the team, bringing information and ideas back to the group, resulting in 35% increase in both innovation and creativity.

Improvement in Communication
When individuals connect, the team becomes stronger; bringing into play the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Members will continue collaborating together outside of formal gatherings, such as meetings and debriefings, contributing to a 50% improvement in overall communication. 

Fresh Ideas
Collaboration can be a conduit for new and innovative ideas to flow through the organization. Bringing together individuals from different departments can open up new ways to reach organizational goals. The fresh ideas that result can challenge everyone to consider alternate concepts that would never have been identified and promoted when working in traditional individual roles.

Are you ready to experience the future of video conferencing? Request a free, live demo of iMeet today!

A CMO’s Guide to Virtual Collaboration

Marketing departments are growing in size, skills diversity and location. And today’s CMO is more involved than ever with the entire organization—including services, sales, product, IT, HR and finance. With all these disparate stakeholders engaged, sometimes it can feel like herding cats and corralling chickens!

That’s why for CMOs, virtual and online collaboration are more important than ever. Check out PGi’s new infographic, Herding Cats and Corralling Chickens, which takes a look at the virtual workforce and offers up some tips to help work more effectively together.

Generate Higher Quality Sales Leads With Video Presentations

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to sales leads. When sales professionals focus the majority of their time on pursuing a higher quantity of sales leads, instead of higher quality leads, time and resources are wasted and quotas are still hanging in the air. Focusing on quality is the best way for sales teams to close more deals.

So how can sales best determine which leads are hot and which are not? Video sales presentations are the answer.

Quality vs. Quantity
Most sales and marketing professionals agree that the importance of quality surpasses quantity when it comes to sales leads. Increasing the quality of leads generated by marketing remains a top business goal for 47 percent of companies, according to Aberdeen Group research, compared to just 24 percent focusing on increasing lead quantity.

Not all marketing qualified leads are sales-ready leads. Even sales-ready leads can still get stuck along the buyer’s journey and lengthen the sales process. Roughly half of leads are qualified but still not ready to buy, according to Gleanster Research.

In order to stop wasting time on leads that are not ready to move through the funnel, your sales team needs a better way to assess lead quality and streamline the lead scoring process.

Metrics & Automation
Using sales productivity software, your sales team can use video presentations to whittle out the cold leads and mine for the hot leads. Leverage accompanying data to better score leads and automate the process with sales acceleration technology.

Anytime a prospect views your video presentation, you not only receive an instant notification that they viewed it but also metrics on how long and how much of the presentation they watched. In other words, you now have the ability to track engagement, and thus, better assess who to contact immediately and who to nurture further before pursuing.

In fact, sales productivity software like iMeet® Narrate ensures you really know who actively watched your presentation vs. who simply ran it. When a viewer opens up your presentation in their browser, iMeet Narrate only plays it so long as they keep that tab actively open. As soon as they switch tabs or programs, the video presentation stops, keeping multitasking at bay and attention in order.

Engagement is a crucial way to determine lead quality. Demographics and buying stage alone cannot help you determine lead interest and lead behavior. Even leads that are a perfect fit aren’t ready for the next steps in the buyer’s journey if they simply aren’t opening your content or paying attention to your sales presentations.

Learn More

Featured Image Source: Pexels

Can VoIP Save Your Business Money?

Looking for new ways to save your business money, enhance communication and collaboration and support your distributed workforce? Give your collaborators more ways to connect with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

VoIP Eliminates Costly Phone Lines
Softphones and audio conferencing applications that facilitate VoIP are now so common and familiar at work that businesses can completely eliminate the costs of maintaining traditional phone lines. All-in-one audio, video and web conferencing is now so seamless and user-friendly that workers can not only connect to meetings but also one-on-one calls just as fast as they can dial a phone.

Because voice information is transmitted through the Internet, the costs of making calls via VoIP are rolled into your regular Internet bill, and, SaaS-based conferencing solutions replace unpredictable spikes in minutes with steady, monthly rates. If you rely on VoIP as a complete alternative to desk phones, you don’t even need to invest in phone hardware or additional IT resources to maintain your audio conferencing solution.

For some businesses, desk phones could very well be a thing of the past. Softphones and mobile apps are increasingly important to the mobile workforce, as 79 percent now telework, and 74 percent of remote workers use these tools over traditional phones on a daily basis, according to VoIP comparison research firm Software Advice. Besides better mobility, VoIP audio conferencing also supports the unified communications and collaboration experience increasingly demanded by users.

VoIP Saves Money on International Calls
On the other hand, traditional phone lines still offer audio quality and reliability that VoIP can’t, yet, but even as a supplement to desk phones and mobile devices, VoIP audio options will save your business money. If your business collaborates with freelancers, telecommuters, global branches or clients around the world, VoIP saves you the costs of making unlimited international phone calls. Likewise, when you, your mobile workers or your sales team are on the go, VoIP acts as your professional, cost-effective, mobile desk phone.

To get the best of both worlds, make sure your all-in-one conferencing solution offers both VoIP and traditional phone lines as options to connect. By providing workers with a global, hybrid, IP audio network, you let employees, customers and external collaborators choose the most convenient way to collaborate for them.

Learn more about VoIP and the importance of hybrid audio.

Why do Small Businesses Need Audio Conferencing?

Regardless of the size of your business, you’ll always need the right tools to support your collaboration efforts. The spoken word is the foundation of successful collaboration between the various parts of your business.

Despite all the advances in business technology – features like video conferencing, screen sharing, whiteboarding and more – audio is still the ultimate tool that makes meetings and collaboration possible. Without audio, you simply can’t meet.

Small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to conferencing and collaboration. From tight budgets for things like travel to limited IT infrastructure issues, finding an audio conferencing solution that fits within the realm of what’s plausible (and sensible) for your small business’s unique needs can seem tricky. However, with the proper strategy, you can find an audio conferencing tool that works for your business.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways your small business can benefit from the right audio conferencing solution:

Grow Global Presence: Thanks to advances in technology, the business world has gotten a lot smaller. The ability to reach new business globally is more attainable than ever before. Networks that were once only local and regional are now Internet-based and connected across the globe.

Thanks to modern audio conferencing solutions, you can forget about globalization difficulties by utilizing local dial-in numbers, in-language support and in-region network infrastructure. By harnessing the technology and power of modern audio conferencing software, your company can truly rethink the scale and reach for new business opportunities.

Lower Costs: As a small business, your budget is always top-of-mind, but so is looking for new business opportunities. And when you add up costs for travel or international calls in pursuit of new business, you may be running up a large bill.

By using an audio conferencing solution that integrates with an online meeting tool, like PGi’s iMeet®, you’ll be able to recreate those traditional face-to-face meeting to nurture existing global relationships or forge new ones with video and audio conferencing.

Facilitates Collaboration: Having trouble getting everyone you need on the line when you’re trying to work on new business plans or to discuss monthly sales goals? Using an audio conferencing solution that can host multiple guests can help you reach out to various team members all at once in a simple, straightforward way, allowing everyone to join regardless of location or device.

If you and your business are ready to see how an audio solution can help you expand your business globally while cutting costs, try PGi’s GlobalMeet® Audio.

Learn more about audio conferencing with these articles:

What is Audio Conferencing?

Tips for Choosing an Audio Conferencing Provider

How to Avoid Audio Conferencing Mishaps

How Do I Enhance My Video Conferencing Room?

Business meetings once centered on conference rooms, from in-person introductions to video conferencing with branch offices around the world. Because business collaboration has evolved beyond the limits of space, video conferencing technology that is dedicated to conference rooms no longer fully supports the demands of the modern workforce. Collaboration now happens right from workers’ desks, on tablets and smartphones and on the go.

But those expensive business investments don’t have to go to waste. With a video room connector, businesses can seamlessly integrate more mobile, user-friendly and robust video conferencing solutions into their existing video room investments. Easy setup and seamless integration with popular video room systems and endpoints minimizes any additional investments of time and resources getting started.

Why Do I Need a Video Room Connector?
If your video conferencing room rarely gets used or is a constant source of bad meetings, it’s time to connect your technology to a better solution for better meetings. Here’s how a video room connector can solve your video conferencing room woes:

  • More Mobility: A video room that inhibits mobile workers from joining your meetings isn’t going to cut it anymore. Teleworkers are now the norm, and your remote and on-the-road employees need video conferencing to stay connected and engaged with the rest of the company. Integrating a video conferencing solution accessible from any device ensures your meetings never miss an important source of knowledge and creativity outside the office.
  • A Better User Experience: The latest video conferencing solutions make it easier than ever to join online meetings and navigate the technology, maximizing meeting time. If you want to reduce late starts and eliminate awkward pauses during meetings, connect your video room to a better way to meet.
  • Robust Functionality: Video conferencing solutions no longer limit your options to collaborate via video only. All-in-one audio, web and video conferencing features allow you to collaborate on a conference call, share content on a web conference or schedule a virtual meeting outside the conference room.
  • Crystal-Clear Audio: Not every video conferencing provider specializes in both technology and telephony, but with a video room connector, you can upgrade the quality and reliability of your audio using a conferencing provider that’s known for their industry-leading, global, hybrid audio network.

Drive higher adoption of your technology by giving employees universal access to a single video conferencing solution for all of your company’s collaborative needs. Experience real-time collaboration with iMeet® VRC (Video Room Connector).

Request a live demo today to see how connecting your video room to iMeet will better connect your company.

Why Do I Need to Collaborate with My Team?

Regardless of the size of your business or industry, working efficiently with internal and external parties is key to keeping a business functioning successfully. Whether those parties are local or global, finding an effective collaboration solution is inherent to keeping everyone connected and engaged.

Each business practices different methods of collaborating based on trial and error of what works for their team and environment, but for those who are working with both in-person and virtual teams, collaboration software may be the best choice.

Check out the benefits of collaboration software and how it helps various teams within one company work together to produce better results for the business:

Project Management
If you and your team are constantly dealing with projects that have tight deadlines, then you know that having a workflow system in place for all your projects is crucial. With collaboration software, you can break down and automate each part of your workflow to manage projects easier.

Collaboration software centralizes all of your projects in one simple interface, and creates transparency with task lists assigned to team members to keep them accountable for their responsibilities. You’ll also be able to see the progress of projects through calendars with due dates and through discussion threads.

Organization
Managing projects that end up with tons of revised documents can get really tricky when multiple people are involved. If you’ve tried using email with a large or remote team, then you have suffered the annoyance of tracking down the correct version of your project documents. Collaboration software solves that frustration.

By hosting documents in one place, like a discussion thread or group hub, you and your team will stop wasting time looking for the correct documents. As you upload documents, the software will keep track of how many versions have been uploaded and if they’ve been changed. This way, you’ll spend more time seamlessly collaborating instead of tracking down documents to meet project deadlines.

Communication
Whether you’re working with internal employees or external stakeholders, you know how important communication can be when it comes to collaborating. And you also know how important it is to keep everyone on the same page, especially with how quickly modern business moves.

With collaboration software, you and your team will be able to communicate within one single interface, allowing you to collaborate quickly and efficiently as you share and revise documents. And because collaborative software is accessible from the cloud, you’ll have access anywhere and at any time without having to worry about corporate firewalls.

Collaboration software allows businesses to stay organized and communicate collaboratively to produce better results. Ready to collaborate smarter? Try a powerful collaboration solution, Central Desktop by PGi, free for 15 days.

Collaboration Software vs. Email

We’ve all been there – you have a project with a quick turnaround that needs your team’s input and feedback. How do you collaborate? Traditionally businesses have used email, the default communication medium. But without truly collaborative components like project management and real-time document collaboration, email is quickly being replaced by collaboration software as the tool of choice for the modern team.

Struggles with Email
While essential to the workplace, email lacks vital collaborative features and can become cumbersome and inefficient. Take a look at some of the disadvantages of using email as your main communication tool instead of more advanced collaboration software.

  • Overflow: One of the biggest issues with collaboration through email is the inevitable overflow of email into your inbox. Sifting through email chains with identical subject lines and different attachments can become a huge waste of time.
  • Restrictive: Email often becomes restrictive – and frustrating – when it comes to sending attachments. Documents exceeding a certain size are often left pending in your outbox or may never be sent at all, a situation that isn’t ideal when you’re trying to quickly work on a project.
  • Version Control: When a team of people works together on a document, collaboration can get messy. More often than not, various editions of the document will be overlooked, leading the next set of edits to be on the incorrect version – just when you thought the document was finalized.
  • Safety: It happens – you’ve sent an email to the wrong person. But what if that information was confidential? With email, it becomes far too easy to put sensitive information in the wrong hands.

How Collaboration Software Helps
Collaboration software is a great alternative to the clunky, archaic collaboration tool that is email. Here are some ways that collaboration software can help your team establish a more effective and collaborative environment.

  • Cloud Collaboration: Most collaboration software is centralized into a single cloud-based application. This way, you and your team can access your projects, files and tasks anywhere on any device.
  • Streamlined Communication: Instead of sifting through dozens of emails, team members can easily and efficiently communicate through discussion threads.
  • Document Editing: Thanks to cloud sharing, everyone will have access to the latest version of the document you are working on. Even better, most collaboration software will lock the document if a team member is editing it, putting a stop to numerous members creating different editions of a document.
  • Workflow and Project Management: Speed up your routine business processes by assigning tasks, sending alerts and more. You’ll know exactly where your projects stand and be able to manage resources to keep things moving forward.
  • Reduce Risk: A great perk of collaborative software is the security it offers. You’ll be able to control what individual users can do and prevent unauthorized access. Some collaborative software will also perform daily system-wide backups to ensure no data is lost, keeping your confidential information safe and protected.

Collaboration software is a powerful tool that enables teams to collaborate around files, ideate, manage projects and combine knowledge from anywhere at any time. Stop struggling with email and start streamlining your communication by trying iMeet®, a smarter way to collaborate.

Why Does Your Small Business Need Web Conferencing?

Audio, video and web conferencing are quickly changing the way everyone does business, and every company is quickly adopting this collaboration technology to stay competitive.

But hold on – isn’t web conferencing just for global enterprises and virtual teams? Actually, even though you may not have offices in every corner of the world, and your team may live within minutes of the office, there are still plenty of benefits to adding small business conferencing to your strategy.

8 Reasons Your Small Business Needs Web Conferencing Now

  1. Improve client interactions: Just because you’re not regional or global, doesn’t mean your clients aren’t. And with small business conferencing, you can provide more personalized customer support with impressive, cutting-edge technology. Turn on your webcam to meet clients face to face, or share your screen for demonstrations.
  2. Build better relationships with partners: Stop relying on in-person meetings and drive down your costs on business travel by nurturing your external partnerships on video. Sure, being there in person may be ideal for first meetings, but afterwards, you’ll save money and time—and be able to collaborate more often—by continuing to meet with your small business conferencing software.
  3. Speed up collaboration with vendors: Need that website redesign or advertisement sooner than later? Share and receive feedback on projects in real time with external vendors using small business conferencing features like file sharing, screen sharing and chat.
  4. Empower your sales team: Give them the tools they need to evolve beyond cold-calling and sales meetings. With all-in-one web conferencing, they can reach more prospects faster to give sales presentations and usher buyers down the funnel.
  5. Keep productivity up: Even the most reliable workers encounter car problems, weather emergencies and just plain burnout. By enabling them to work remotely as a contingency plan, you’ll keep the company running no matter what. And when you’re out of the office on vacation or business trips, web conferencing acts as your virtual office so you can stay connected to your team on the go, even from mobile apps on your smartphone or tablet.
  6. Find better talent: With small business conferencing, it’s easier to work with remote freelancers or even hire full-timers from a bigger pool of talent abroad. You can even conduct job interviews over video without expensing travel.
  7. Get more mileage from events: Wish you could just press play when you need to train a new hire or find a key point from a past meeting? Web conferencing makes it much easier to record and archive trainings and webinar events.
  8. Help your business grow: You probably won’t be a small business forever. Scalable, flexible web conferencing plans better prepare your business for expansion, as well as the future of work where digital workspaces and remote work are the majority. Choose what you need now for small meetings, and be able to upgrade plans for your bigger meetings in the future.

Find a professional, reliable, all-in-one small business conferencing solution that fulfills all your needs, fits your budget, is easy-to-use and gets you better results now at PGi, the world’s largest dedicated provider of collaboration software and services for business of all sizes.

When Should Businesses Use Virtual Meeting Solutions?

The workplace is rapidly evolving and more organizations are expanding globally. Because of this, modern businesses are always looking for ways to improve collaboration and productivity between teams.  From marketing and sales to human resources and executive leadership, all functions of an enterprise can utilize a virtual meeting solution to create and sustain a competitive advantage.

The obvious benefits of virtual meetings are keeping your teams engaged, helping them stay motivated and ultimately, increasing productivity. But a virtual meeting solution not only benefits communications; it can also cut costs and save time.

So, when should your business consider using a virtual meeting solution? 

When travel costs are high: In today’s globalized economy, travel is often unavoidable. Traveling across the country or internationally to meet face-to-face with clients or prospects is a business ritual that will always be honored.

But if your budget is tight, it may be time to consider an alternative to your next face-to-face meeting.

Using a virtual meeting solution in the place of travel is one of the easiest ways to cut costs.

With new technology, including high definition video, crystal clear audio and file sharing, today’s virtual meeting closely imitates the traditional in-person interaction. 

If you have a dispersed workforce: A dispersed workforce is becoming an increasingly popular phenomenon in the modern workplace. These teams often face unique communication challenges, like slow, lost or nonexistent communication.

Most of these teams rely on email, phone and instant message to communicate and collaborate, but because the majority of communication is relayed through non-verbal visual cues, these methods aren’t the most effective.

A virtual meeting solution is a simple way to increase collaboration through features like HD video and audio. A tool like PGi’s iMeet®, which has video, audio and web conferencing capabilities can help your teams stay focused, collaborate efficiently and never miss another visual cue.

You’re looking to improve the hiring process: It’s no secret that the hiring process can be expensive, especially if the candidates are located in other cities or you have various dispersed team members involved in the interviewing process.

Organizations that use virtual meeting solutions with video and audio capabilities can cut down on travel costs, and still enable both the interviewer and candidate to see those ever-important visual cues. Video interviews can also be recorded, allowing those who couldn’t make the meeting the opportunity to see how the candidate interacted with the interviewer.

A virtual meeting solution is a great way to not only save you time and money, but it’s a great way to enhance online collaboration. If your business is ready to see the benefits of a virtual meeting solution, try PGi’s iMeet free for 30 days.

What Are the Benefits of an All-in-One Collaboration Tool?

Managing multiple vendors for your web conferencing needs can be complicated and costly. To keep online meetings simple for your organization, consider using an all-in-one collaboration tool.

All-in-one collaboration tools, like PGi’s iMeet®, combine the power of audio, video and web into one interface. This triad of features is a powerhouse when it comes to collaboration, but with an all-in-one collaboration tool you also have the advantage of using one, two or all three features at any time—giving you ability to meet when and where you want.

By combining these features, an all-in-one collaborative tool aims at becoming the smart choice for your online meetings needs through a few key benefits:

Versatile: A dominant benefit of the all-in-one collaboration tool is the freedom to meet when and how you want. This type of tool does not dictate how you meet; it allows you the freedom to meet as you please. One day you could be meeting with a client through crystal clear audio, and the next you could be using with full-blown video and web.

Cost-Saving: Because this tool is so versatile, it lowers your overall cost of collaboration. The tool saves you both time and money when it comes to online meetings.

Because these features are combined in one interface, there are no additional downloads to wait for, saving you and your participants valuable meeting time. It also saves your IT department the time it would normally dedicate toward managing multiple vendors. This also means IT maintenance is easier, as the department will only have to reach out to one point of contact for support.

By bundling audio, video and web together, this tool also resolves the IT and procurement pain point of high audio conferencing expenses. Instead of paying for each feature separately, you’ll cut costs and save time by using a single vendor for all of your collaboration needs.

Convenient Collaboration: Collaboration at your fingertips is an invaluable asset. With these features available in one place, your team will be able to collaborate faster and easier, from any location.

As you’ll be working with a single interface, participants won’t have to worry about switching between applications to keep the meeting going. And because your team members will only be working with one learning tool, they’ll ultimately be more likely to adopt the tool.

With a collaboration tool like iMeet, you and your team will have access to convenient collaboration through both desktop and mobile devices.

These features and benefits combined into one interface create the ultimate tool for collaborating both on-site and remote. If you’re ready to take your collaboration to the next level, try PGi’s iMeet free for 30 days.

Collaboration Software Connects In-Person and Virtual Teams

Online collaboration solutions often make the top lists of tools for telecommuters, but collaboration software isn’t just for virtual teams. Its project management capabilities benefit anyone handling high-volume collaboration and swapping document revisions with more than a handful of stakeholders.

In fact, your team sitting right beside you probably needs a better way to collaborate. Here’s why you should toss your old tools for a slick, shiny, new solution.

Your In-Office Team Needs Collaboration Software, Too
Your team’s always tasked to churn faster results, despite the complicated web of deadlines, documents, revisions and approvals behind teamwork. This is true for all teams, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in the office or remote.

However, you probably rely on what’s cheap or what’s always been used to get it all done. Although it may suffice, the technology you’re using makes your teamwork and project management a slower, choppier process than it should be.

On the other hand, collaboration software:

  • Centralizes and archives documents, updates and revisions within a simple interface, saving you time searching.
  • Accelerates teamwork by allowing you to turn your routines and project roles into automated workflows, so you’ll rarely have to hound your co-worker about their piece of the pie.
  • Turns workspace activity into reports and real-time overviews to quickly oversee your project’s status.

Because all of these functions and more—file sharing, messaging, scheduling meetings, project management—exist in one place, you no longer need to switch applications to locate different assets and updates for the same project. Plus, it’s all easy to set up and access from anywhere to connect and collaborate on the fly.

Get Better Control of all the Cooks in Your Kitchen
Collaboration software’s also becoming a necessity to efficient cross-functional and external collaboration. Like most companies, yours is likely becoming more internally integrated, forming partnerships across departments and roles, as well as increasing contact and collaboration with clients.

CD_Workspace12

To better control your content and communication, team workspaces within collaboration software separate your partner and client projects into separate spaces (or communities). This way, you control what each user views while providing unfettered, real-time access to the content they have a stake in.

Beyond better project management, this type of software provides a plethora of ways for teams to communicate better than ever. Learn more about how collaboration software connects teams now at PGi, or request a demo now of PGi’s powerful collaboration solution.

Finding the Right Webinar Software for Your Marketing Team

Webcasts and webinars have become an increasingly popular way for marketing teams to drive leads and business growth externally, broadcast thought leadership events and present product launches to large audiences.

Implementing a collaborative and interactive tool like this for engaging customers and prospects should be obvious for a modern-day marketing team, but understanding what features to look for in the best software requires thorough evaluation of product features.

If you’re ready to start the hunt for the best webinar software, take a look at some of the features that will help you make the best choice for your marketing team:

Ease of use: Setting up your webinar shouldn’t feel like rocket science. Truly DIY webcasting software, like PGi’s iMeetLive®, has easy-to-use features that let you schedule, manage and present audio and video webcasts within minutes.

Cloud hosting: Traditional webinar systems have been complicated with additional components to manage, purchase or install to get an event started. Consider webcasting software that integrates with your existing hardware, making it easy for you to host and participate in a webinar event from their computer or mobile device.

Engaging experience: A critical aspect of webinars is the ability to engage with your audience. Your webinar software should include interactive features like Q&A, streaming video, polling, surveys and social media.

Brand yourself:  Make sure you’re able to create and customize branded emails, registration landing pages, graphics and webcasting players to put the spotlight on your brand before, during and after your event.

Data driven: When considering a webinar tool, look for a robust data collection feature that will give you instant online access to track attendance, survey and Q&A results All of these real-time ROI metrics should be available through any web browser.

Versatile recording: A final feature to consider is on-demand recording and replay. Your new webcasting software should allow you to utilize versatile recording and editing features to create and post on-demand videos that can be accessed through a single URL, an especially helpful tool when following up with your audience post-event.

If you’re ready to take your webinars to the next level with features like these, sign up for a free trial of PGi’s iMeetLive now.

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Identifying Your Enterprise Web Conferencing Needs

Your enterprise organization contains a bevy of experts and resources that, without collaboration, remain largely untapped. Like most enterprises today, you must have collaboration solutions like web conferencing to expand collective knowledge, speed up business processes and give your business a competitive edge.

To achieve these new goals, though, your enterprise needs to connect with internal and external collaborators on a global scale. You need to meet across time zones and build relationships across departments as well as with business partners and clients, all while providing the utmost reliability and speedy service.

When identifying your enterprise web conferencing needs, you also need to consider these business and technology trends that no enterprise can ignore:

  • Users want choice: If you want to get the most out of your investments, you need better user adoption, and today, users want more choices. So what does this trend mean for your enterprise web conferencing needs? Your web conferencing solution must have mobile support for users choosing to telecommute or partake in BYOD, bundles that fit the needs of every line of business and browser-based web conferencing to control what users download.
  • Complex infrastructures demand simplicity: When identifying your enterprise web conferencing needs, you need to identify the features and qualities that will yield the most seamless solution for your complex enterprise infrastructure. You need cloud solutions that lighten bandwidth usage and seamless integrations with other enterprise communications applications.
  • IT now operates bimodal: Your enterprise IT team must balance two initiatives now: progressing the enterprise towards innovation and maintaining operational excellence. Your web conferencing solution must constantly evolve to keep up with the changing pace of collaboration, as well as offer enterprise-class security, redundancy and dependent audio. And what the success of this trend really depends on most is your web conferencing provider.

Remember, when you’re pinpointing the best solution, you’re assessing the provider as well as the product. The web conferencing provider you choose should have the proven experience and expertise you need to integrate web conferencing into complicated infrastructures, deploy solutions on a global scale and offer custom solutions to your unique challenges.

PGi’s GlobalMeet® offers a secure, IP-based, global web conferencing platform and over 25 years of experience working with large enterprises to back it up. Download The Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing today to learn more about how PGi provides the best in the industry for your enterprise’s web conferencing needs.

Benefits of Collaboration Software

Among virtual teams’ biggest challenges is ongoing communication and collaboration. Without it, these teams cannot ensure each dispersed worker is on track, and virtual teammates fail to build authentic, trusting relationships.

Often, the culprit of communication challenges is technology, but virtual collaboration software offers teams the ability to turn it all around and connect in ways they never thought possible.

1. Software Built for Collaborative Team Cultures

Companies can leverage collaboration software to manage content and share large files, but this technology offers so much more in terms of connection and communication for virtual teams. These tools enable teams to develop a culture of knowledge sharing and build better business relationships with features like:

Activity streams and status updates.

Each task or activity a virtual teammate completes instantly appears so everyone has access to team updates but can retrieve them in their own time.

Comments.

Places to comments are everywhere—files, tasks, status updates—promoting constant group feedback.

Online discussions and forums.

Virtual teams have the ability to share project ideas and links to thought leadership, ask questions and learn from each other. Plus, teammates receive email notifications and digests for every task or content piece they subscribe to so knowledge sharing continues even when virtual team members don’t log into the collaboration tool.
Central Desktop Collaboration Software

2. Where Email Fails, Collaboration Software Succeeds

Currently, virtual teams more often than not use tools like email to share information and develop rapport, but these are actually not the most efficient options for asynchronous communication.

Email threads vs. central workspaces.

First of all, sorting through an inbox for comments, files and discussions takes more time. Alternatively, collaboration software centralizes everything. No one’s left out of the loop, and everything’s easily searchable.

Multiple tools vs. one solution.

Collaboration technology offers so much more functionality than email in a single collaboration solution, replacing multiple tools that virtual teams may pair with email. This streamlines communication for efficiency, saves costs and requires less IT support. And since some collaboration software options offer unified collaboration functionality, teams don’t have to miss out on that seamless communications experience that their email may offer.

Email forwards vs. content control.

Online collaboration tools create better transparency than email and chat, so everyone knows who’s working and on what—but with better security and scalability. For instance, virtual teams have more control over whose hands internal discussions and collateral end up in over emails that can be forwarded.

Because virtual teams can accomplish everything with the tools they’ve always used, many don’t realize they don’t have to limit teamwork to old technology. Just like innovations of the past, people don’t often realize the productivity benefits of a new gadget or software until they actually put it to the test in their workday.

Sound like you? Request a demo today of PGi’s iMeetCentral to experience a smarter way to connect your team with virtual collaboration software.

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How Virtual Meetings Can Save Your Business Money

There’s no denying that the business communications landscape has changed drastically over the last few years. New and progressive technologies are empowering companies to become more productive and efficient. While any innovative technology can be an investment that moves new business forward, virtual meetings are one of the most cost-effective and lucrative tools your company should be taking advantage of.

You’ve probably heard of virtual meetings before, and thought, “My business doesn’t really need a complex and advanced tool like that! I’m only meeting with clients and employees a few times a week, and phone calls or face-to-face meetings are sufficient enough.” But with virtual meetings, you can enhance those meetings and cut some of your largest business costs.

Travel: Let’s be honest – travel costs for a business can be prohibitive, but with the click of a virtual meeting link, you can gain access to a digital tool that helps maintain quality relationships both internally and externally without requiring people to be in the same room.

Hotels, plane tickets, car rentals and food expenses can really start adding up when your employees are traveling for events, meetings or trainings. Utilizing a virtual meetings tool can help you control and decrease your meeting costs by bringing everyone together online.

Overhead: Daily operational costs like utilities, materials, and office supplies are a reality for all business owners. A solution to high overheads could be as simple as allowing employees to telecommute. Research shows that if a typical business allowed its employees to work from home just half the time, it could save on average $11,000 per year. Those employees would personally save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year on work-related and transportation costs. What employee wouldn’t be happy to save money?

Speaking of happy employees, those who telecommute report greater productivity while working from home, and according to research done by Connect Solutions, 23 percent of those telecommuting are willing to work longer hours, with 52 percent less likely to take time off when working remotely.

The benefits of telecommuting end up being a pretty simple equation: allowing flexibility with telecommuting means employees will be more productive and more likely to stay with their employer, increasing retention rates and saving you money.

Time: A final invaluable cost that you can save by using virtual meetings is your time. Without the hassle of planning travel, finding meeting spaces and making sure there’s enough coffee to fuel your meeting, you’ll save hours of work that can be used more productively.

Telecommuting and the use of virtual meetings may not be right for every business. But if you’re a business owner looking to cut costs, you owe it to yourself – and your business’s finances – to give it a test drive.

If you’re ready to try cost-effective and collaborative virtual meetings, sign up for a free 30-day trial of PGi’s iMeet®. Looking to learn more about the pros and cons of telecommuting? Check out PGi’s free eBook, “The Yin and Yang of Telecommuting”.