Measuring the Value of Technology-enabled Meeting Rooms
In a previous post, we talked about the questions and considerations to help effectively plan meeting rooms that enable collaboration. Goals and expectations for room and technology utilization should be considered before planning begins. Knowing what success will look like is imperative. Establishing how you will monitor and measure that success is equally as important, especially as investment may be required to configure new rooms for back to work and hybrid scenarios. Progress reporting on metrics allows for any necessary alterations or improvements after implementation.
Establish Metrics When Planning
Metrics should be established based on what is meaningful to the organization, along with knowing how the organization assesses return on investment. A few examples include:
Some tangible measures that can be tracked to determine whether or not collaboration spaces are adding value include:
The number and frequency of meetings
For real-time statistics, room scheduling systems can track activity and frequency based on user IDs. If you don’t have scheduling technology, setting up an online booking system or a simple survey may reveal new meeting patterns. Space utilization is an important metric because empty rooms don’t add value.
Reduction in development time can be measured in part by the salaries of those involved and the time spent on the project.
Reduction in the number of iterations and tests
This metric focuses on the hard costs of these activities. If better collaboration can speed development through less iteration, there are real savings to be realized on prototypes or other testing. This is hopefully a straightforward calculation of savings.
Many consider satisfaction to be an intangible measure. However, there are many ways to administer regular surveys that can include satisfaction scales and comment boxes.
Technology and spaces that are easy to use, designed to the task, and are comfortable will generate positive results. Consider surveys that ask about and grade user acceptance ease of use and overall satisfaction. Ask for recommendations for improvement and accomplishments resulting from collaborative discussions.
Measure Then Improve
Monitor results regularly, especially user feedback, so improvements can be made. It’s also good to map data trends over time to demonstrate the impact meeting spaces have. Even if you started with uncertain benchmarks, looking at the results on a rolling basis will establish firmer ground over time. Consider space utilization as an example. If your rooms were in use 50% of their available time, you might want to set 75% as a goal. If after three months the average utilization only grows to 60%, questions can be asked. You may discover there wasn’t enough training to make users confident, or there are missing features/capabilities that caused users not to return as frequently, or at all.
At the end, when meeting rooms facilitate collaboration sessions that become part of an organization’s culture, there should be noticeable and measurable productivity gains. The important thing is the up-front work to consider what metrics will be measured and gathered. If you are planning new meeting spaces, establishing success factors should be done first to inform how those spaces should be designed to help achieve desired goals. To some, this may sound a bit circular, or “chicken-and-egg.” If skepticism exists, try the approach on some pilot rooms before making a major investment. Realizing positive results fuels future improvements.
Planning Technology-Enabled Collaboration Rooms
Collaboration is, essentially, a group of people coming together to get the most from their combined analytical and creative energies. Time and again collaboration proves to be one of the most significant ways to solve business challenges. Today, the meetings themselves can be a challenge given the increase in remote workers and changes necessary for others returning to offices. The balance of live and remote engagement must be considered even more.
Often collaboration occurs in teams within individual departments during design reviews, production analysis, and planning, or presentation planning. When collaboration involves two or more departments, the value realized can increase exponentially. Diverse teams can bring very diverse types of content that need to be effectively shared. For example, sharing CAD design concepts between engineering and manufacturing teams can optimize a product for smooth production and after-sale service. Reviewing end-to-end workflows in large spreadsheets or visual diagrams provides insight on the impact one group’s work has on another’s. Cross-functional collaboration such as this not only improves workflow and time and cost savings, it also boosts satisfaction of engaged participants.
Designing Collaborative Spaces for Users’ Workflow
Enabling effective collaboration requires an investment in meeting spaces and technology appropriate to the tasks. Given the shift to remote workforces, more meetings require technology to facilitate discussion. Most organizations are overwhelmed with digital communications, data, and images. The use of printed handouts or huddling around one computer never was ideal for a collaborative environment, and they are definitely not effective tools now that so many people are working remotely or even separated in meeting spaces. Connecting remote teammates is especially difficult without thoughtfully designed distance collaboration tools, including both hardware and software.
As many people do return to work, there needs to be an effective balance with in-office and remote meetings. Ultimately, the displays and collaboration tools in the room should suit the user content and objectives. The type or number of large-screen displays in a meeting room is only one of many technology decisions to be made. Audio, connectivity, software, and other tools are key to enabling productive sessions and remote connections. A review of sample use cases, workflows, and user profiles could lead to the standardization of room designs based on recurring work, teams, and their data requirements.
Define Success Up Front
Start your planning with the end in mind to guide design. How will you know the investment in collaboration technology was successful? Will you be measuring space utilization rates? Are you trying to increase the number of cross-functional meetings? Do you need to support a growing, globally dispersed workforce? Do you want more engaged users who are building a culture of collaboration? How to measure success is a topic unto itself, but knowing what success looks like will guide space design and technology choices.
Questions and Considerations in Design:
With so many component options and platforms available, ensuring seamless integration of all equipment is critical. Involve an AV design specialist as early in the process as possible. This is especially important with new construction to ensure the interplay of space, sound, visuals, and structure is considered up front to avoid costly rework later. An experienced designer should be asking questions such as:
Regardless of how long collaboration technology needs to last, understanding workflow and expected use cases is a critical first step. Effectively designed spaces and appropriate, simplified tools will be highly utilized and generate measurable return. Establishing metrics to gauge success also needs to be done at the beginning, though measures and benchmarks can be updated as experience increases. Regular monitoring of use and performance data will provide timely insight into needed system modifications or user training. When the time comes to plan the next set of technology upgrades, justification for investment is much easier with data that proves the payoff.
Read the follow up post Measuring the ROI of Technology-Enabled Meeting Rooms
Whether you have complex audio visual systems with multiple screens and projectors, or a more simple set up, you’ve decided to invest in creating functional meeting spaces that meet your needs. Supporting your investment over time is an important consideration. Proactive system maintenance can discover issues before they become serious problems. This reduces IT burden, system downtime, and user frustration because users experience reliable and well-performing audiovisual (AV) systems.
1. Prevent an outage
A small issue that goes unchecked can become a big problem that may shut down your system. With regular maintenance, a professional team performs a full check of your system – even the elements that are not used regularly, to ensure everything is working together as it should. This allows your team to focus on your business without concerns about your AV technology slowing them down.
2. Extend the life of your equipment
When a professional services team monitors all components of your system, issues can be identified and resolved immediately to ensure the maximum life expectancy of the system. This is similar to the regular maintenance recommended for an automobile because it extends the life and performance of the vehicle. An AV system works much the same way and will benefit from regular proactive maintenance.
3. Create a technology road map
Every piece of technology has a scheduled end of life. Regular maintenance will identify the pieces that need to be replaced, before they fail at the wrong time. This allows you to plan and budget for new components well in advance.
4. Get more from your service agreement
Proactive maintenance is a great way to get the most out of your contract because it includes regular checks or often an on-site team member. Regular interaction creates a more engaged process and expands the team member’s knowledge of your systems. The regular checks ensure that the system is always working at peak performance rather than responding reactively to service tickets.
If the agreement includes an on-site team member, this makes support for end-users more accessible and convenient.
5. Maintain your inventory
Part of proactive maintenance includes monitoring an inventory of supplies and spare parts. Ordering can take place when supplies are low – avoiding shortages that may cause system downtime.
Through regimented proactive maintenance, Pentegra’s technicians will reduce incidents from the start. As a result, you experience more efficient and effective working sessions. We schedule maintenance activities around your meetings, staying non-obtrusive. Talk to us today about how proactive maintenance can save you time and money.
While some organizations are starting a returning to work program, all employees may not be returning at the same time so some remain remote. Even those returning to work may not be returning to prior meeting routines. Regardless of location status, many people have become very familiar with video conferencing platforms over the last few months. It’s likely that this form of collaboration will be required for the foreseeable future. However, not every organization has the same tools available in all locations. How do you keep large teams collaborating locally and remotely upon return to work?
If you are planning to deploy collaboration rooms in the near future, there may be some critical factors to consider before you get back to business as usual. Keeping staff safe is always going to be top priority. A phased approach when coming back to work ensures social distancing measures are followed. In addition, travel may be restricted, making video conferencing even more essential. These new working conditions may come with pressure to implement solutions quickly to maintain high levels of productivity.
Integrating AV with video conferencing platforms in your meeting rooms can improve collaboration activities. When choosing a solution for a collaborative meeting room, the main focus should be on audio. Having clear, intelligible audio allows teams to communicate most effectively. There are a few options to consider especially if you have budget constraints.
Another important factor to consider with collaboration solutions is the ability to share presentations and data effectively. The main sharing enablers are displays and the user interface. The display doesn’t need to be fancy. Almost any monitor or TV will allow teammates to share their content. But if your data is highly detailed, the size and resolution of the display become factors to consider.
User experience needs to be intuitive enough for any user to boot up and begin a presentation. Most people working from home have been using remote collaboration services. Choose a user experience which operates similar to those products to help meetings get started on-time and reduce calls for support.
Selecting the right camera is the next technology consideration. Although face-to-face interaction is important, budgets may dictate tough investment choices. In these cases, video cameras can be categorized as “nice to have”. Depending upon the intent, successful meetings can result from sharing verbal and written information, not necessarily seeing each other.
Prioritizing your conference room needs can be difficult, especially in a time of uncertainty. Remember, audio should be the main focus. Finding a solution that fits your organization’s specific needs will be key. Getting a head start on planning now will increase your collaborative success upon return to work.
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