One of the most talked about benefits of unified communications, especially video conferencing, is reduced travel expenses. These savings can be achieved through a variety of means; for example, a remote workforce can avoid long morning commutes by posting up in the home office.
Instead of taking a road trip or flying to collaborate with other company branches, workers can hop on an audio conference or a video conference. Even clients and business partners can be dealt with remotely, and all with the personal touch of face-to-face communication thanks to video conferencing.
Perhaps a less commonly discussed benefit – and ultimately a more important one – is that video conferencing enhances both the quantity and the quality of national and international business opportunities.
Business without borders
The goal of any company at the end of the day is to do better business. In some cases, this may involve cutting costs from the budget, such as frequent airfare, wherever possible. However, it does not make sense to abandon business travel simply because there are virtual alternatives. Situations in which it is in the company's best interest to physically dispatch an employee to meet with a client, investor, what have you, will still arise. So, when assessing the value of UC, pinpointing gains from video conferencing is just as important as identifying what is salvaged.
"Pinpointing gains from video conferencing is just as important as identifying what is salvaged."
And what a business gains from video conferencing is an incredible way to increase national and international company outreach. Think of video conferencing and even audio conferencing as a way to create a reliable, face-to-face avenue of communication between your business and the rest of the country, or even the rest of the world.
Because this line of communication is affordable and easily deployed – especially with the rise of pay-per-person cloud UC models – companies have a way to connect with anyone from any corner of the globe with a level of efficiency that air travel and long-distance calling never could.
As a result, the need for business travel may actually increase due to an increased quantity of scattered clients and business partners, as suggested by a blog post from travel technology company Amadeus. That said, this travel is a direct result of having a better window to the world thanks to video conferencing. Plus, much of the travel that used to occur can still be largely replaced by a video conference.
This means that SMBs and growing companies can affordably expand their presence beyond state lines and national borders from within the office. Should the benefits of these new long-distance relationships warrant travel, then so be it. At the end of the, the company has accelerated its growth and has found a way to conduct more and better business across the map.
Nurturing long-distance business relationships
Beyond casting a large geographical net without the initial travel expenses, video conferencing helps nurture and maintain these relationships once they have been established. The ability to have a face-to-face meeting on any given day – or in the event of a crisis – is reassuring for clients or investors, and builds confidence for all parties involved.
This confidence and trust, more than anything, can ensure long-term flow of business, and reduce the need for in-person meetings that require airfare and accommodation. This alone makes videoconferencing and UC indispensable for growing firms. As business expands beyond one location, it's good to know that geographic distances will not in any way affect the bottom line.
Video conferencing giveth and taketh: It gives new business opportunities, and it takes away the need for frequent travel. National and international business collaboration has never been so easy, and it's all thanks to UC.