Unified Communications projects generate a better return on investment when a video component is included in the scope of the analysis. Mainstay recently mined our database from hundreds of UC business cases. We looked at various technology elements and determined that those with a significant video component had the highest ROI. Specifically, the average ROI for all UC business cases was about 140%, but for those with video elements, the average ROI was 512%! The payback period was about two months shorter with video.
What is it about video collaboration that drives a high ROI? Any answer is a bit speculative, but here are two possible reasons:
1. Video collaboration affects costs outside of traditional IT to a greater extent than other technologies.
A business case study that looks at video collaboration will often include costs such as corporate travel that are not usually included in IT infrastructure costs. These costs are large in bigger companies, and video collaboration can greatly reduce them.
Video collaboration can also affect business unit processes. For example, perhaps video collaboration can be used in the interviewing process and therefore lower the cost-per-hire to the HR department. This savings accrues to the technology that drives it – video collaboration – even if the actual monies are in a different budget.
2. Video collaboration is interesting to progressive organizations, and less so to technology laggards.
Another possible explanation has more to do with the nature of the client than the actual technology. A company that is generally a technology laggard is going to have higher costs for a UC implementation. For example, they are less likely to have a QoS-capable WAN, or consistent Cat-5 cabling, or PoE LAN switches. Since their costs are higher, their ROI is lower. These same organizations are less likely to use video collaboration, or consider using it, since they avoid technology investments in general.
On the flip side, a company that uses technology aggressively is more likely to be interested in video, and also more likely to have the infrastructure in place to support it. Hence, lower implementation costs and therefore higher ROI.
It is quite possible that both factors are at work here. Regardless of the reason, it is clear that including video collaboration in business cases increases the average ROI substantially.