After shuttering UbiMeet, ReadyTalk aims further with DART

Just under a year ago, we launched a standalone meeting productivity tool called UbiMeet. UbiMeet was designed to help individuals prepare for and follow-up after meetings.

Following lean startup principles, the team was able to identify customer problems, and design and launch a product quickly. While UbiMeet ultimately didn’t reach product-market fit, the speed with which the team was able to launch and learn was applauded.

DARTSo we’re going to be doing it a lot more.

I’m thrilled to announce we’re rolling out two separate innovation / new product development programs in 2016.

The first is an all-employee engagement program we’re currently calling “Innovation Everyday.” At ReadyTalk, we love catchy names, so that’ll probably get re-branded in not too long. 🙂 In this program, all employees will be given the tools, time and support to explore ideas through three stages of Ideation, Validation and Presentation. Heard of the Adobe Kickbox project? It’s something like that.

The second is a brand new dedicated innovation team, DART. With a focus on cloud communications and human-computer interaction, the team uses innovation roadmaps, emerging technology assessments and rapid test-and-learn techniques to identify new opportunities for the business. DART and an associated Engineering R&D team will work to mitigate both market and technical risk so we can bring more great products and services to market faster!

The open positions for this team (based in Denver, CO) are: Business Analyst, Consumer Insights Analyst, and two Business Intern positions. Want to join us?

From its inception, ReadyTalk has been committed to delivering WOW through service and technology, and these new programs will help us serve you better beyond your existing audio and web conferencing needs. We can’t wait!

Why I’d Rather Meet Than Slack – And You Should Too

“My boss goes to meetings. I slack all day”
-Sara McWhorter, UX Design Lead @ Kapost

Slack is the new team collaboration darling. If you’re a designer, you love it because it proves that design is king; Slack is not functionally very different than HipChat or IRC. If you’re a developer, you love it because you get to go to fewer meetings. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you love it because it offers the promise that you too could create an explosive product.

But if you actually want to ensure work gets done? Maybe you don’t love it all that much.

Sure, Slack makes communication easier. No booking conference rooms, no reserving audio lines, no checking schedules. Whenever and wherever you are, just spit your thoughts (and emojis) into a channel and hope it reaches the right person at the right time. todayunproductive

But maybe MORE communication doesn’t mean BETTER communication. Maybe MORE communication means MORE noise, MORE distractions, MORE “yeah, *someone* should do that”s, and LESS accountability.

LESS clarity around roles and responsibilities and deadlines.

FEWER official decisions and agreements.

If you just want to blast directives to people and hope they’re on board, Slack lets you do that. But if you want to make group decisions, get agreement and clarify responsibilities, you need to gather your team and work together. You need to meet.

Meetings don’t have to be face-to-face. But there has to be be some shared time and place for a team to gather to be sure they jointly understand team goals and their role in achieving them. Otherwise, there’s a lack of action as people wait for others to chime in. Maybe a better solution will be proposed. I’m sure someone else will step up.

Scheduling a meeting sets a time frame in which decisions and next steps need to be decided. It demands closure. A persistent team slack channel is designed to keep conversation going on.

So do you just want to communicate, or do you want to get work done? If it’s the latter, schedule a meeting, run it effectively, and move on.

Get the Support You Want, When You Want it

My wife and I recently moved into a new home closer to amenities and work. Overall, it was a positive experience, with one downside…having to update all of our contact information for utility services and personal accounts.

With all of the hustle and bustle that moving into a new home brought, I thought I would try to save some time and change my information online for all of our accounts. In some cases, it was a simple process. In other cases, it was quite challenging.

In one particular instance, I was unable to update my information online. Instead, I had the pleasure of visiting the local DMV office to update my information. During my visit, I was rewarded by waiting in line for three hours with over one hundred other individuals.

“It was one of the most pleasant and enjoyable experiences I have had in a long time,”said No One ever.

Waiting in line or on hold for help is never a pleasant experience, especially when you need help immediately. To help prevent this type of scenario, ReadyTalk recently released a new support tool, dubbed the Support Center, to help those who need answers quickly. The Support Center includes a multitude of resources in all types of formats, including short video clips on popular features, PDF user guides with screenshots, a self-paced comprehensive guide, a chat tool to contact support quickly, and a link to live training (for those who wouldrather have the personal touch of a live person). Also included in the Support Center is a quick search option to help find answers quickly without having to search through a video or user guide list. Simply type your search words into the search box, click the search button, and a list of results will be displayed immediately.

Want to open a support ticket without having to call in and speak with someone? No problem. You can do that using the Support Center as well. You can now access these new resources by navigating to https://support.readytalk.com/sp, or by clicking on the “Support & Training” link within your ReadyTalk account, or by clicking on the “Help” button during your live webinar.


SupportCenter
* ReadyTalk’s customer care team had an average hold time of only 8 seconds in 2015.

Get Your ReadyTalk Meetings Started Even Faster

What if every online meeting you joined took five minutes to launch and get into? Doh! I attend at least 10 online meetings a week. If I was struggling to get into every meeting I attended I’d be wasting an hour a week – or the equivalent of a week each year, simply (or not so simply), getting into meetings.

Now, imagine you are the one who is scheduling all these meetings. What if you had to go into yet another platform besides your current email client or CRM to schedule and start all the meetings you host? You probably do that now. That time could easily add up to another week per year.

At ReadyTalk, we believe meetings should be easy to schedule and start, ultimately making you more efficient and productive. That’s why we recently launched our Connectivity Tools – to help you get that time back.

With plug-ins available for all the major communication platforms like Outlook, Lync, Google, as well as Salesforce, you no longer have to break your current workflow to schedule your meetings. It’s as simple as downloading the plug-in for your specific platform and setting up your default meeting details. Then send the invites out of your current email, instant message or CRM tool.

RTD-banner-launch

And, your participants can now access and enter a meeting so much faster. As you know, not all conferencing platforms are created equal. Sometimes you need to press numerous audio buttons, others require specific downloads to get online. At ReadyTalk, we started asked ourselves questions like, “What if you could join a meeting in one click?” or “What if the meeting called you?” From that came our latest features for accessing a meeting: ReadyTalk’s Desktop app, Call Me, the ReadyTalk Scheduler for Microsoft Outlook and the Web Meeting plug-in.

We invite our customers to visit our Connectivity Tools page to learn more about our plug-ins that will give you back some time. If you’re not a customer, but would like to learn more about how you can meet faster and more efficiently, join us for a live demo.

And feel free to let me know what you’re doing with your extra week a year (Bahamas anyone?).

Is UCaaS Inevitable for your Company? Twitter Chat Highlights

On Feb 10th, a few members of our team participated in a Twitter chat about the Future of UCaaS (Unified-Communications-as-a-Service).

_njchat_-_Twitter_Search

The chat, organized by Enterprise Connect and No Jitter magazine, included analysts, vendors and other IT professionals weighing in on the industry shift to cloud communications.

The chat was hosted by Michelle Burbick (@MBurbick), the Associate Editor and blogger for No Jitter, who led the participants in a lively discussion of the following:

Q1: How do we define UCaaS?
Q2: What are the benefits of UCaaS?
Q3: What is driving the adoption of UCaaS today?
Q4: Is UCaaS more or less expensive than onsite premises-based UC?
Q5: What’s next? How is UCaaS evolving?
Q6: Is UCaaS something primarily for small businesses or is it something large enterprises should look at?
Q7: How can IT leaders be sure that UCaas services are secure?
Q8: What are some key differences among major providers?
Q9: What are some things to consider when choosing a UCaaS provider?
Q10: What are the benefits of hybrid?

A few of our favorite comments:

What is driving the adoption of UCaaS today?

  • UCaaS and Cloud are a revised form of outsourcing – @DaveMichels

DaveMichels

  • UCaaS is just 1 application, the cloud is generally preferred across other IT applications – lower cost + higher flexibility –@DaveMichels
  • The complexity of premises based solutions is starting to overwhelm IT, cloud lets u offload complexity but enjoy benefits – @Zkerravala
  • In a simple sense: time & monetary savings, easily scalable solutions, enhanced productivity and enterprise mobility – @switchco

What’s next? How is UCaaS evolving?

  • Another break out area is Workstream Communications and Collaboration (#WCC) which is effectively UC + async commsn/mesaging –@DaveMichels
  • Developing APIs to completely customize the systems you want to integrate. Less steps to increase productivity and collaboration – @IamMikeLinn

Our own Danny Ramos (@rtdannyramos) started a great conversation thread about video as part of communications story.

Dannytweets2

  • [Video] will soon be tablestakes for UCaaS –@GradyWorld

 

What are some things to consider when choosing a UCaaS provider?

  • First is customer service, definitely talk to some customers if you’re considering them –@Zkerravala
  • Strength of integration with other channels/platforms, reasonable pricing structure, strong reporting –@OneReach
  • Customers (big, med, & small), pedigree, & account management, to name a few –@IamMikeLinn
  • Customization options – should be able to adjust features to needs on a per user basis –@DaveMichels

What are the benefits of hybrid?

  • Hybrid deployments will be the norm. ZK research shows 80% of orgs want hybrid;
    Hybrid enables businesses to use premises based solutions for large locations and cloud for branches and smaller locations;
    Lastly, hybrid can be a good migratory step to full UCaaS deployment –@Zkerravala
  • If there is concern of moving off prem, hybrid offers a way to pilot UCaaS without fully committing to the cloud –@IamMikeLinn

The Big Takeaways

UCaaS has matured, and organizations are increasingly adopting it for reasons of cost effectiveness and ease of management. UCaaS will evolve from real-time presence and messaging to include richer engagement through video and asynchronous communication.
Customer service, interoperability and customization options are critical in selecting a UCaaS vendor. And lastly, a hybrid solution is a great way to introduce UCaaS into your organization.

Thanks so much to all the participants, and to No Jitter and Enterprise Connect for hosting. Are you attending Enterprise Connect next month? We are too! Senior Product Manager Victoria Zak and Product Manager Stephen Deckrow will be in attendance – hope to see you there!