GlobalMeet Web & Video Conferencing Democast

GlobalMeet® is a reliable, easy-to-use and intuitive all-in-one conferencing solution that delivers a superior collaboration experience from anywhere in the world. See for yourself in this no-pressure webinar demo, where we will walk through:

  1. Scheduling, Starting and Connecting: Using your Outlook® toolbar to schedule and launch a GlobalMeet meeting, and connecting with the stunning audio quality of Dolby Voice®.
  2. Virtual Collaboration: Engage with participants with file share, screen share and multipoint video.
  3. Implementation Services and Support: Ensuring the best possible conferencing experience for all users.

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The Risks of Letting Employees Lead the IT Agenda

We live in an era of ever-evolving technology that is changing the way we work and live. Our homes and offices are being flooded with a host of choices that will revolutionize how we work and play. But, with this deluge of technology, how does an IT team stay focused to understand the latest tools and applications while also balancing enterprise needs to drive innovation and technology?

Corporate IT departments face a daunting task: supporting and deploying the right mix of technology while upholding strict security measures and ensuring that said products and vendors remain the right choice for their users and for the enterprise. And while measures may be in place to avoid rogue procurement from various teams in the business, today's market is inundated with cloud-based technologies that make it easier than ever to bypass IT to implement the product a team may need to complete a project.

In this white paper, by PGi's SVP Global Marketing, Leo Tucker, you'll learn how to:

  • Recognize and define the risks associated with shadow IT
  • Maintain control of the IT agenda
  • Create a proactive strategy to ensure success

Download the free white paper now to learn more about the risks of shadow IT and letting employees control the IT agenda.

21 Questions to Ask Before You Implement a New Collaboration Vendor

Customer service is the core of our business. Over the last 25 years, we've learned the importance of providing support before, during and after the implementation of our software, and we've seen the significant impact of providing our customers with the right training and adoption programs to ensure success.

In fact, 97% of our customers cite training and adoption programs as key implementation success factors, and customers who leveraged PGi's success resources saw adoption rates climb to nearly 80% compared to just 14% for typical software companies.

And while the adoption, training and support programs are critical to the success of implementation, there are also other important steps along your implementation journey. To help ensure you're working with the right vendor, check out the 21 questions we think are most important to ask before implementing a collaboration solution. Download PGi's free checklist, 21 Questions to Ask Before You Implement a New Collaboration Vendor.

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PGi’s Web Conferencing Install Checklist

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

To help ensure that you’re a prepared buyer, PGi is proud to provide you with the Web Conferencing Install Checklist. From questions of network throughput to security requirements, the Web Conferencing Install Checklist will guide you through all the questions you should consider before purchasing a web conferencing tool. With this checklist in tow, you will be able to purchase a solution with 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 Web Conferencing Install Checklist.

The IT Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing

It has long been known that web conferencing solutions can be time-saving and have a revenue-lifting impact on productivity, while boosting team relationships of disparate and siloed teams. But with all of the positive impacts a web conferencing solution can have on a business, it can equally become just another pain point for IT teams. To reduce the burden on IT teams (and their budget and resources), it is crucial to find the right solution from the start. To help you and your team find the best web conferencing solution, PGi has created The IT Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing.

In this piece, we’ll cover:

  • Cost-saving benefits
  • The ease of deployment
  • The user experience
  • Security and compliance features
  • Essential web conferencing features

To learn more about how to determine which web conferencing solution fits your company’s needs, check out The IT Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing.

IT Superheroes eBook

Like the hallowed superheroes of your childhood, every IT team is equipped with a number of different heroes who you can depend on to save the day when a tech disaster strikes. Though they might not be seen very often, the IT superheroes in your organization are crucial to the success of your business.

There are a number of different types of IT superheroes who roam the halls of your office, averting IT crises and rescuing your colleagues from total technological destruction. These IT heroes possess an array of different super powers that work in tandem as they come together to create an unstoppable IT team that will always be there in times of need. PGi's IT Superheroes eBook explores the various heroes that save the day, every day, in your IT department.

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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IT Buyer’s Guide to Video Conferencing

Regardless of your company's size, if its like most businesses, your workforce has become more geographically disparate than ever. And while your team may not all share the same office, or is comprised of road warriors or remote workers, you all still have to meet on occasion. But how can your company avoid eating travel costs to get members together for something as large as an annual strategy meeting or as simple as a weekly check in?

In the not so distant past, video conferencing was something on most companies' wish lists, but not anymore. "Video conferencing has finally taken its rightful place as a core business tool", reports Wainhouse. "Companies around the world are depending on video enabled meetings to empower their people, serve their clients better and compete on a global basis."

And as previous problems surrounding video have faded, new opportunities have opened and the high barrier to entry has been removed. There's no doubt that video conferencing has become an essential key to collaboration for modern workplaces, but of course, there are dramatically different strategies and approaches on which solutions meet the needs of the workforce.

To better understand these strategies, PGi has created a Video Conferencing Buyer's Guide. Download the guide now to learn more about what to look for when purchasing a video conferencing solution for your company.

IT Insight Series: Empowering the User

It’s no secret that new technology drives cultural transformation, slays status quos and propels team productivity and collaboration, but what tech providers don’t want to admit is that these new applications don’t really accomplish any of those things unless the implementation and adoption process is seamless.

From enterprise deployment to mobile positioning, there are million things that can go wrong, and a number of recurring oversights can prevent a well-intentioned purchase from providing significant ROI. And unfortunately, many IT teams don’t have dedicated personnel to roll out new software and applications.

A successful implementation begins well before the day you roll out a solution. A best-in-class customer success team provides a partnership from the earliest stages of planning and determining processes. But too often, these first steps are overlooked or oversimplified.Angelina Beitia, SVP of Customer Success

From alignment strategies and personalized training to benchmarking reports and user adoption campaigns, it is important to map out the implementation process to ensure end-user success.

To learn more about how having a team of dedicated professionals help with the implementation process can catapult your application’s success and ROI, check out our latest IT Insight Series white paper, Empowering the User – Adoption Programs Drive Technology Success.

IT Insight Series: When IT is Agile

In this edition of our IT Insight Series, we’ll dig into the critical challenges and the substantial opportunities that IT are facing as their organizations re-think the way they work together. From understanding the challenge of organizations’ frenzied pursuit of innovation and the challenges of keeping far-flung team members firmly entrenched in your inner circle to how technology can change the face of meetings when team members are dispersed around the globe, we’ll help IT members tackle these challenges head-on. And as an added bonus, we’ve pulled back the curtain on how PGi’s own IT culture has shifted and evolved in a more agile team.

Read more about the challenges today’s IT teams face, and how they are turning those challenges into opportunities with our latest edition of the IT Insights Series, When IT is Agile.

IT Insights Series: Establishing Credibility Across an Organization

The combination of BYOD and shadow IT have been a growing trend in the modern workplace. And unfortunately for IT teams, these trends can pose some serious problems. In the latest edition of our IT Insights Series, we’ll provide a point of view to help IT professionals address the topics and trends – like shadow IT and BYOD – that are directly impacting their teams.

Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • Why IT and LOB buyers need to be BFFs
  • Understanding what LOB teams need
  • Why IT must build strong LOB relationships

IT’s Evolving Role: A Frost & Sullivan Perspective on UC&C

Hear Frost & Sullivan’s perspective on IT’s role in shaping business.

Hear from Frost & Sullivan Associate Fellow and VP of Research for Connected Work, Melanie Turek on:

  • Trends in the workplace that are driving change for IT, such as the rise of virtual workplace, BYOT, increased need for knowledge sharing and collaboration.
  • Redefining IT’s role within an organization, with an increased understanding of the collaboration use cases.
  • A need for IT’s strategic focus on emphasizing and enabling collaboration to deliver measurable value – and mold these highly customizable solutions to the business’s unique needs.

This on-demand webinar presented by:

Melanie Turek, VP of Research for Connected Work at Frost & Sullivan

As an Associate Fellow and VP of Research for Connected Work at Frost & Sullivan, Melanie Turek covers a broad range of markets, leveraging long-standing relationships with leading industry participants’ senior executives and customer organizations. Melanie has more than 25 years’ experience covering video and web conferencing, social networking, unified communications, voice, IP communications, and instant messaging and presence, as well as a wide range of business software and services. Melanie brings deep technical expertise and in-depth understanding of the ways in which technology can positively impact business processes and performance. She studied social anthropology at Harvard, and she views technology transformation through that lens.

Barbara Bacigalupi, Director, SaaS Engineering at PGi

Barbara has over 30 years of experience selling and implementing emerging technology solutions that enhance business outcomes, by making business process owners more efficient, responsive, and competitive. With PGi since 2010, Barbara directs a team of Sales Engineers, which spans the customer spectrum from identifying opportunities for collaboration enhancement to ensuring successful implementation and ROI. Prior to joining PGi, Barbara developed expertise in Customer Interaction solutions: inbound and outbound voice and data messaging, IVR and speech-enabled self-service, contact center, CRM and web conferencing. Barbara holds a Bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University, and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

What Keeps IT Up at Night Part 1: The Human Element

What’s keeping CIOs and CTOs up at night these days? We presented this question to a variety of IT leaders. While there were a scattering of other answers, the vast majority all revolved around the same concern: security.

Whether it’s educating and equipping your internal users with the knowledge and tools to protect company data, protecting against external attacks and ransomware or better controlling the flow of information in and out of your networks, security is far and away the biggest culprit for CIOs and CTOs losing sleep.

In this first of two articles, let’s take a look at the human element, the challenges facing IT when it comes to educating and securing their own employees. Here are the answers we received from some of IT’s brightest (and most sleep-deprived) minds:

Joshua Crumbaugh, director of penetration testing at Tangible Security, tackles the problem of human error, stating that “Approximately three quarters of all breaches are due to human error such as clicking on a phish or opening malicious files. This is generally the biggest and most difficult issue to remediate.” He goes on to flag password weakness as a concern, adding that, “Weak and guessable passwords have become an almost guaranteed way to gain access to most corporate networks.”

The dangers of human error showed up several times as a major concern. Salo Fajer, CTO of Digital Guardian, said that, “Whether sending an email to the wrong cached email address or misplacing a USB stick, internal employees, third party contactors and customers/prospects are all humans at the end of the day. Human errors can and will happen within any organization, whether careless or spiteful in nature. The Online Trust Alliance found that almost one-third (29%) of data losses are caused by staff – whether done maliciously or accidentally, so looking within your organization for potential threats is imperative to get a sound sleep.”

Ryan Armstrong, director of IT support of Miles Technologies turned his worried eyes towards social engineering, asking, “Do we have processes to ensure that people are who they say they are? Have we educated the users enough on the dangers that are out there?”

Interestingly, two of our respondents framed their concerns through the lens of marrying the flexibility and freedom demanded by today’s workforce with IT’s charge of maintaining security.

Beth Hendriks, CTO of SciQuest said that, “The explosion of mobile devices and cloud-based technology has introduced a whole new set of IT-related questions that keep me up at night. First and foremost is how we as a company effectively develop secure and private systems and databases that are also flexible enough to accommodate employees’ needs to access assets outside of the office so they can complete their jobs.”

And Shaun Murphy, founder of PrivateGiant, also tackled the problem of productivity and accessibility of information versus security, stating that, “Having all of your company data always available and accessible is great for productivity, not so great when a piece of malware rips through your network or a hacker gets in and transfers all of your data to somewhere in China. All data, all systems should be encrypted per user/group that need access and have strict access controls and auditing in place for computer use, file access, directory listing, etc.. All modern computers and operating systems have the structure in place to do this.”

Do these experts’ internal concerns align with your own, or is something else giving you sleepless nights? Let us know in the comments below.

For more insights on the changing tech and trends shaping enterprise collaboration, download our free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration: 2015 Edition” today.

This post originally appeared on CIO.com‘s Collaboration Nation blog, sponsored by PGi.

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Battle Royale: CIO and CMO Relationship

43% of CMOs don’t see their IT department as moving fast enough, and 48% of CIOs feel marketing makes promises to the business without agreement from IT.*

It’s no secret that CIOs and CMOs sometimes struggle to work together. The sometimes-difficult working relationship often results from a lack of a unified digital vision.

However, one of the defining executive relationships in the 21st century will be between the CMO and the CIO. The marketing technology stack is getting more complex, and marketing is more reliant than ever on data. A solid partnership between the CIO and CMO is the “great facilitator” that will help advance an organization from good to great.

Join this panel discussion to hear valuable insight and best practices from leading IT and Marketing executives.  The discussion includes:

  • Differences between IT and Marketing styles, processes and procedures
  • Challenges and successes of working together
  • Best practices and insights for better collaboration

The CIO’s experience in managing these complex systems, combined with the CMO’s expertise in buyer behavior, will be a key relationship that will define success.

*Source: 2014 Deloitte Digital Research

This on-demand webinar presented by:

Warren Neuburger, CIO at PGi

Warren Neuburger has served as Chief Information Officer for PGi since 2014. Warren has a proven record of leading organizations to double-digit growth and profitability, and he’s applied his results-driven approach and leadership abilities to helping PGi maintain a leading position among global collaboration software providers. With the global IT team, Warren is optimizing PGi’s IT systems for agile software development and SaaS delivery. Prior to joining PGi, Warren worked as a Consulting Engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation. After relocating to Atlanta to join VoiceCom Systems as Vice President of Technology, Operations and Development, he held various leadership positions at software, computer and network organizations. Warren holds a Bachelor of Arts in Math and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, as well as a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Georgia CIO Leadership Association and spends his spare time volunteering to construct homes with Habitat for Humanity International.

Ralf VonSosen, VP of Marketing at Nitro

Ralf leads Nitro’s global marketing portfolio with a focus on: Demand Generation, Product Marketing, and Corporate Communications. Bringing over 15 years of marketing leadership to Nitro, Ralf was most recently LinkedIn’s Head of Marketing for the Sales Solutions division. He is passionate about creating new markets, scaling high-growth companies, and growing customer communities. A native of Austria, Ralf is an avid triathlete and outdoorsman who resides in the San Francisco area with his wife and four children.

Armin Roesele, CIO at DirectBuy, Inc

Armin Roeseler is the CIO of DirectBuy, Inc., where he is transforming the IT organization and technology infrastructure. He has consolidated multiple Data Centers into a Cloud environment, is replacing an ERP system, has rolled-out a Corporate-wide Business Intelligence platform and is deploying a new Point-of-Sales (POS) system. Prior to his current role, Armin held executive positions with international financial services firms and research institutions. He has held C-Level technology leadership positions with Bank One Corp., ABN AMRO/LaSalle Bank, and subsidiaries of Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital and Bank of New York. Armin holds a M.S. in Computer and Information Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology where he was a Fulbright Scholar from his native Germany. His Ph.D. is in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a U.S. Patent holder, has published numerous articles on IT performance analysis methods, best practices and management aspects, and has lectured at international conferences in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

Karen Leavitt, Former Chief Marketing Officer at  FleetMatics

Karen is the former Chief Marketing Officer at FleetMatics. Prior to FleetMatics, Karen served as Chief Marketing Officer at Landslide Technologies Inc. from August 2008 to December 2011, Chief Marketing Officer of Contactual, Inc. from August 2008 to May 2009, and Chief  Marketing Officer at Mzinga from June 2007 to July 2008. Before Mzinga, she served as Vice President of Marketing at WebEx Communications, Inc. from 2005 to 2007. Prior to WebEx, she created customer and partner value at NewsEdge Corporation, first as Director of Business Development and was responsible for strategic partnerships and Director of Engineering, where she led a team of 25 software engineers. Karen has held leadership roles in marketing, customer service, and development at NewsEdge Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, Phoenix Technologies, and Lotus Development Corporation. She is an active Speaker and Participant in various industry events. She attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Mario Martinez, Jr.

Formerly, a RVP of ECS Sales for PGi, Martinez was responsible for managing all acquisition sales activities & customer satisfaction within the Enterprise, Public Sector and SMB segments in the West.  He has managed small and large sales teams and revenues of up to $300M.  In addition, he is a Speaker and Social Selling expert teaching, training & motivating sales leaders and teams how to take their skills to the next level.

Collaboration Trends & Challenges: The Enterprise IT Perspective

On-Demand Webinar

This webcast is designed for IT executives, IT directors, IT managers and anyone in an IT organization who is interested in how their peers approach virtual collaboration.

To represent the breadth of organization size, our panel includes CIOs, CTOs and VPs from companies ranging in size from 40,000-plus employees to 300 employees. The discussion will be focused on enterprise collaboration trends and challenges, from the viewpoint of the CIO or CTO. Other topics include:

  • How/when it’s time to course-correct IT’s strategy to support the virtual workplace
  • Video collaboration and its growing role in business communications
  • Actual applications of collaboration tools

Register now for the PGi iMeetLive webcast to hear valuable insights from the nation’s leading IT executives.

This on-demand webinar presented by:

Randall N. Spratt, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer (Retired) at McKesson Corporation

As CTO, Spratt guides the overall technology direction for the company’s healthcare technology products, and provide support and guidance for application development processes companywide. As CIO, Spratt is responsible for all technology initiatives within the Corporation. Spratt has been with McKesson for more than 18 years, most recently as chief process officer for McKesson Provider Technologies (MPT), the company’s medical software and services division based in Alpharetta, Georgia. He also managed MPT’s Business Development, Information Technology, and Strategic Planning offices, as well as MPT’s Technology Services business.

Jill Von Berg, CIO and VP of IT at Calix, Inc.

Von Berg has been Vice President, CIO at Calix, Inc for the past four years and is responsible for all enterprise IT initiatives.

Prior leadership roles: Technology leadership positions in global high-tech corporations across the US and in Europe, including McKesson, Hewlett Packard, the ABB Group and General Electric.

Gina Tomlinson, Chief of Technology at Sphere 3D Corporation

Tomlinson leads the IT business systems strategy and execution for the Technology Solutions segment within the corporate U.S., and international locations. Tomlinson defines the IT vision and strategy to enable business growth that allow for rapid business acquisition integration and innovative product development.

Prior leadership roles: Chief Technology Officer for the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) and Chief Information Officer for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

John Perkins, Vice President Global IT at PGi

As VP of Global IT PMO, Perkins has spearheaded an adaptive leadership philosophy for the IT organization. Perkins drives business transformation throughout his organization by applying agile project management processes, with the ultimate goal of helping the business grow, compete and mature around best practices.

Prior leadership roles: Senior Project Manager for Macy’s, Senior Manager, Information Systems for Intercall

Mario Martinez, Jr.

Formerly, a RVP of ECS Sales for PGi, Martinez was responsible for managing all acquisition sales activities & customer satisfaction within the Enterprise, Public Sector and SMB segments in the West.  He has managed small and large sales teams and revenues of up to $300M.  In addition, he is a Speaker and Social Selling expert teaching, training & motivating sales leaders and teams how to take their skills to the next level.

Entering Into the Mind of the Executive IT Buyer

Executive IT buyers respond to certain sales techniques better than others.

This webcast is designed for sales leaders, sales directors, sales managers and salespeople who are looking for the “inside scoop” on how to penetrate the executive office of an IT leader. You will hear from our panel of IT executives on what techniques work and which do not when trying to sell to the C-suite. Other topics include:

  • Emails, voicemails and social media…oh my! What’s working, what’s not working.
  • Penetrating their office to get that first appointment.
  • Characteristics of a good salesperson versus a not-so-effective salesperson.
  • Use of virtual meetings compared to other types of meetings.

Register now for the iMeetLive for Sales webcast to hear valuable insights from the nation’s leading IT executives.

This on-demand webinar presented by:

Randall N. Spratt, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer (Retired) at McKesson Corporation

As CTO, Spratt guides the overall technology direction for the company’s healthcare technology products, and provide support and guidance for application development processes companywide. As CIO, Spratt is responsible for all technology initiatives within the Corporation. Spratt has been with McKesson for more than 18 years, most recently as chief process officer for McKesson Provider Technologies (MPT), the company’s medical software and services division based in Alpharetta, Georgia. He also managed MPT’s Business Development, Information Technology, and Strategic Planning offices, as well as MPT’s Technology Services business.

Jill Von Berg, CIO and VP of IT at Calix, Inc.

Von Berg has been Vice President, CIO at Calix, Inc for the past four years and is responsible for all enterprise IT initiatives.

Prior leadership roles: Technology leadership positions in global high-tech corporations across the US and in Europe, including McKesson, Hewlett Packard, the ABB Group and General Electric.

Gina Tomlinson, Chief of Technology at Sphere 3D Corporation

Tomlinson leads the IT business systems strategy and execution for the Technology Solutions segment within the corporate U.S., and international locations. Tomlinson defines the IT vision and strategy to enable business growth that allow for rapid business acquisition integration and innovative product development.

Prior leadership roles: Chief Technology Officer for the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) and Chief Information Officer for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

John Perkins, Vice President Global IT at PGi

As VP of Global IT PMO, Perkins has spearheaded an adaptive leadership philosophy for the IT organization. Perkins drives business transformation throughout his organization by applying agile project management processes, with the ultimate goal of helping the business grow, compete and mature around best practices.

Prior leadership roles: Senior Project Manager for Macy’s, Senior Manager, Information Systems for Intercall

Mario Martinez, Jr.

Formerly, a RVP of ECS Sales for PGi, Martinez was responsible for managing all acquisition sales activities & customer satisfaction within the Enterprise, Public Sector and SMB segments in the West.  He has managed small and large sales teams and revenues of up to $300M.  In addition, he is a Speaker and Social Selling expert teaching, training & motivating sales leaders and teams how to take their skills to the next level.

What is Big Data?

There are three defining qualities of Big Data, according to IT research and advisory company Gartner: Big Data is “high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety.”

It’s one of the biggest technology trends that impacts every business because, as echoed throughout headlines, every business is now digital. And it has a direct effect on the future of business collaboration.

Why Big Data’s Exploding
Big Data isn’t completely brand new. We’ve always transmitted and analyzed large amounts of data from customer surveys, social media pages, online shopping behaviors and more.

However, now we’re capturing data at a faster rate. The IoT sparked a surge in connectivity, and that variety of connected points — wearables, cars, apps, sensors — reveal more about human behaviors than ever.

The other defining difference is a large amount of today’s data is raw and unstructured, which means to gain anything from it we need to assign it meaning. The technology to not only produce and collect data but also manage and analyze it (like the scalability and security of the cloud) is widespread and continuing to get easier to use.

Big Data’s Business Value
By moving from harvesting to dissecting Big Data, now businesses can gain real value. Data mining (identifying trends and patterns) yields insights into a business’s pain points that may have never been exposed before.

Analyzing worker behaviors, output and operations, businesses make better decisions to improve productivity and efficiency. Business intelligence from Big Data even helps propel companies toward innovation and helps predict consumer behaviors and industry trends.

Whoever mines the most value from Big Data will have the biggest competitive edge, but the challenge of turning data into knowledge requires a complete culture change.

A Collaborative Culture Shift
Everyone in the business is realizing the value of Big Data for customer insights and demonstrating their ROI. The accessibility of self-service data mining and the customer-centric transformation of all roles within a company is giving rise to data-driven organizations.

In order for a business to be successful with data, however, a collaborative culture change is required.

Managing Big Data can overwhelm a single department, which is why data mining requires greater teamwork and sharing. Plus, cross-functional collaboration better bridges gaps in information and helps everyone construct more meaningful connections out of data.

This culture shift depends upon the creation of new workflows and tools that expand across departments, closer collaboration with leadership and company-wide alignment on goals and priorities. No single line of business can fully extract the value of Big Data alone, and not a single company can afford to ignore these technology trends and changes as businesses soon compete with information.

Learn More
Big Data is complex and still evolving in terms of strategies and applications. Learn more about this topic with the following resources:

  1. Learn what the biggest barriers are to unlocking value from Big Data in PGi’s free eBook. Download “The Future of Business Collaboration 2015 Edition” now for Big Data commentary from Edelman’s Global Managing Director of Strategic Growth.
  2. See how PGi’s leading collaboration solutions help build collaborative cultures for data-driven organizations.
  3. Not all collaboration is productive. Read this blog post from PGi Founder Boland Jones on the difference between constant connectivity and productive collaboration.

Featured Image Source: freeimages

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What is SaaS? (Software as a Service)

SaaS (pronounced “sass”) stands for Software as a Service. SaaS is an increasingly popular licensing and delivery model for business and consumer applications. Sometimes called “on-demand software,” the basic idea behind SaaS applications is that instead of installing or hosting software locally, vendors host and maintain the servers running the application which is then accessed simply through a web browser.

SaaS applications are generally priced with a subscription model, either a monthly or annual fee, as opposed to a larger, up-front cost with ongoing support payments. Businesses can pay for the number of licenses they need with the flexibility to add users as their needs change.

SaaS is an important part of cloud computing; when vendors refer to their solution being “in the cloud,” they’re typically referring to the Software as a Service model. Examples of common SaaS business applications include email, customer relationship management, accounting, social business solutions and collaboration.

Benefits of SaaS

Software as a Service solutions cause considerably less support burdens on IT by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance to the SaaS provider. It’s also easier and quicker to deploy SaaS solutions to an organization, since often it’s simply a matter of provisioning accounts rather than purchasing and installing hardware.

Other SaaS benefits include:

* Centralized administration
* Global accessibility
* Mobile accessibility
* Automatic updates
* No compatibility or versioning issues
* End user customization and configuration options

Learn More

* Dispel some common myths about cloud computing and SaaS in our free cloud eBook.
Contact a PGi expert today to learn more about PGi’s SaaS collaboration tools, including iMeet, iMeetLive and GlobalMeet.

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Common Presentation Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, presentations are a necessary evil in the business world. And regardless of whether you’re a public speaking pro or there’s nothing you hate more, we’ve all been gripped by the fear of presenting at one point or another.

Quite frankly, that fear is often justified; there are any number of pitfalls that can derail even the most carefully planned presentation. There’s the danger of technical difficulties, a disinterested audience contentious Q&A—the list goes on and on.

Luckily, with a little forethought, it’s easy to sidestep even the most dangerous of presentation pitfalls, turning your recurring presentation nightmares into sweet dreams of success.

Presentation Pitfall 1: Technical Terrors

The goal of any presentation is to convey information to your audience in an engaging, memorable way. However, if your presentation starts off with apologies over technical difficulties (“Uh, bear with me guys…”), suddenly you’re fighting an uphill battle. You’ve already lost the audience, and now you have to spend the rest of your preso making up ground.

Sidestep this pitfall by testing your technology.

“Testing your technology” sounds like such a simple concept, but everyone gets so busy that often you aren’t even aware your next meeting is coming up until that meeting reminder pops up. However, you should always try to get into the conference room or virtual meeting room 5-10 minutes early to test the projector, screen share, etc., so that you’re not taking it on faith that your technology will work when you need it most.

Bonus tip: For virtual presentations, technology problems are one of the leading causes of delayed meeting starts. Choose an online meeting tool that doesn’t require guest downloads to streamline attendee entry.

Presentation Pitfall 2: Q&A Quandaries

For many people, the thought of intense Q&A is the most intimidating part of any presentation—that feeling of dread in your stomach that someone’s going to catch you off-guard with a question. It reminds me of those days in class when you knew you weren’t prepared and you were hoping against hope that the teacher wouldn’t call on you.

Sidestep this pitfall by both preparing for the worst and admitting if you don’t have the answer.

If you’re worried that a presentation might stir up a particularly contentious Q&A, take the time before your meeting to practice the presentation with a coworker or group of coworkers, then let them ask any questions they may have. The problem with any well-prepared project is that it’s easy to get too close to it and not be able to see the forest for the trees. By getting additional perspectives, you can jot down questions or ideas you might not have thought of on your own and thus be better prepared for your presentation.

And secondly, don’t be to say “I don’t know!” Trying to dance around a question only comes off as evasive. If you truly don’t know, admit it and make a point to find out and follow-up with whoever asked.

Presentation Pitfall 3: Audience Apathy

Lastly, what do you do if you encounter the opposite of an overly engaged and curious audience? What if the people you’re presenting to just don’t care?

Few things lower your professional morale like a well-prepared, informative presentation that falls on deaf, disinterested ears. As the presenter and meeting host, it’s up to you to ensure that your information is delivered in an engaging way that simultaneously conveys the point of your presentation while being memorable.

Sidestep this pitfall by mixing it up.

Have you ever heard the term “Death by PowerPoint?” It’s easy to get stuck in a presentation rut and fall back on the same tired slides and meeting formats. If you really want to kick your presentations into high gear and ensure an attentive audience, don’t be afraid to mix it up! Start your presentation with a hilarious gif or video. Ditch your traditional slide deck for something with a little more pizzazz, like HaikuDeck or Prezi. Or even take it to the extreme and shake up the entire meeting by having everyone stand up! Whatever you do, don’t settle for presentation mediocrity; explore your creativity to bring your information to life.

 

 

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Overcoming Presentation Fears Through Technology

For many employees, giving presentations at work is almost as horrifying as walking into Michael Myers in the break room.

What workers often fear most about presentations is a lack of audience engagement. Crickets, hecklers and zombie eyes can be terrifying when nothing matters more than persuading, convincing or inspiring your audience.

In fact, the ability to tell a story and engage the audience ranks higher among presentation fears than stage fright, according to a recent survey by BoldPoint Now, a presentation training firm.

Since you can’t transform into a brilliant Steve Jobs or a hilarious Louis C.K. when you’re in the spotlight, what can you do to keep them interested? You can overcome one of your biggest presentation fears through technology.

Maximize Engagement With Technology

The right technology, used the right way, revolutionizes your presentations from boring to breathtaking, stale to stirring.

• Can’t think of a good opening line? Grab their attention with a whopping photo of something unusual, striking or hilarious.
• Smart uses of fonts, colors and themes help you convey a mood without having to put on your best Jerry Maguire impersonation.
• Infographics are your best friend for presentations since 65 percent of people are visual learners, according to a Forbes article. Visualizing your data also offers the audience evidence and gives you cred on what you’re discussing.
• Who said presentations should live in PowerPoint? Dazzle your audience with something different using simple technology like Haiku Deck or Animoto.
• When you want to really engage your audience, use technology to invite audience participation. Incorporate social media with a webinar hashtag, or use virtual idea boards as interactive elements during online meetings.

Stop Fearing Technology Blunders

The right tools prevent technical glitches, as well, and act as a lifesaver for those that fear using technology in front of an audience.

Reliable, quality web conferencing and webinar tools eliminate the “what ifs,” and user-friendly, intuitive features help even the self-proclaimed tech illiterate feel confident while presenting.

When you’ve got better audio quality, you don’t have to worry about static or dropped calls interfering with your flow, and no one needs messy pass codes, slow downloads or complicated buttons to mess with their presentation vibe.

But to truly harness the power of technology for killer presentations, you need a set of best practices to prevent tech toys from turning presentations into digital disasters.

 

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