It was not very long ago, when email was seen as a corporate perk. Today, most employees expect the connectivity of email as part of their daily working environment. Rich media remedies for collaboration and conferencing, facilitated through the technologies of web and video conferencing, are making great transition.
Irrespective of what business you are undertaking, your business’s success is determined largely by the excellence of your decision making and expertise at which your players can perform on those decisions. Both decision implementation and decision-making depend greatly on the excellence of communications. Excellent communication helps in making better decisions and better results after those decisions are implemented. Media conferencing and teamwork are the next tools for improving the business communication capabilities proceeding from where emails and telephone communication left off.
The tools that can really help your company quickly respond to the demands of your customers, solve the customer support concerns, react to all upcoming opportunities in the market and also be able to battle all threats from competitors are only collaboration and conferencing tools. These particular tools will link all the ranks as tools to aid your company to compete in the global economy regardless of whether you were using it as a way to cut short all the costs being incurred in the company or whether your main objective was to use it in order to increase productivity. It is therefore very important to know which types of application are to be used and which are the most sensible for your firm.
Conferencing and collaborations have gotten to the levels of ease of use, reliability and utility after many years of promises that have never been fulfilled. All technologies have been combined into one core of the enterprise and are helping in reinventing the procedures in various businesses. Some of the essentials that are helping the investments of collaboration to be more useful are software that is invented now and then, new services and more powerful hardware. The elements are helping collaboration investments to be more cost effective and much easier. These tools create work teams that are most effective by serving organizations with ways of creating good integrations with suppliers and customers and help in global resources management.
Any business’s success falls and rises on the speed and quality of its decision making process. Businesses that do not use current technologies in communications, and hinder collaboration’s capability, run the peril of falling after their competitors. This fact need to be used by large enterprise like the Coca-Cola Company. The company needs to understand that time to make investment in collaboration and conferencing is now.
The social media is another factor that has empowered businesses in their recruitment process. Social media sites like the Twitter, Linkedln and Facebook has connected many employers to the right candidates to fill the positions advertised. The advantage of using social media to recruit is that there is minimized cost since there is no fees for creating an account with any of the above mentioned social media sites. Another advantage is that, there are many people within the above mentioned social site and they have different experiences and expertise. Therefore, the company needs to start realizing the benefits of investing in social media recruitments.
There are other risks as well that are related to recruitment via social media. First, there is the privacy concern that relates to a candidate’s social media profile. Secondly, the recruitment might have some kind of discrimination whereby some candidates may feel that they have not been treated equally. Lastly, there might be the risk of benefit of focusing on one pool of candidates.
Social media is a marketing tool for different companies in their business operations. It enhances companies to have a wider relationship with their clients and acts as a means of information. However, because it may not be regulated, the user has the freedom to post what they are pleased about the company, whether, bad, good or ugly. Social media are rapidly developing and there are fresh platforms every day, making it essential for companies to not be exclusively familiar with those platforms, but be able to know how they can reach their consumers through them
Social media is an imperative public relations and marketing tool for companies to utilize in their business practices. It allows companies to have more of a relationship with their customers and acts as another means of information.
Marketing through social media helps a company to form a good relationship and be able to connect with their audience. Tools like the Facebook, Twitter and other blog sites are used to create a good connection. After a tool is established, it is the role of the business to ascertain that the relationship grows. Social media is extensive and it is vital to stay ahead of their contestant.
The Coca Cola Kenya Case Study
We contacted the Coca Cola Company in Kenya to review their operations and use of current information systems. Coca Cola Company in Kenya has got many bottling plants across the country. The main headquarter is in Nairobi, which is the main city of the Kenya. This company holds meeting most of the time with various management staffs from different bottling plants. These meetings are conducted at the headquarters and every member who is concerned needs to travel to Nairobi. Members of the management are noticed via the phone of the meeting’s date, venue and the time to meet. Others who come from far regions need to travel some days before to reach in due time. Alternatively, they hold their meeting through group phone calls.
In addition, during recruitments, they invite the participants to the headquarters where they are evaluated. Recruits incur a lot of cost through this travelling bearing in mind that others come from far regions and need to travel some days before the interview date. This will mean that, they will need to board in hotels and guest houses.
If the company adopts the use of collaborations and conferencing in their operations, they would increase their productivity in many different ways. This business communication tool will convey the improvements of productivity as soft benefits and hard benefits.
Again, the company uses job boards and newspaper to advertise for a position. The company presents the advert to the newspaper printers and this takes two to three days before the advert is placed on the paper. When it comes to interviewing the candidates who respond to an advert, the staff has to travel from their plant station to the headquarters where they meet face to face with the interviewee. The method of archiving the interview process is through writing whereby some important details regarding the interviewee go unrecorded.
The company incurs a lot of expenses any time they are conducting an interview. These expenses vary from staff travel cost, hotel, food, taxis and so on. Again, the company wastes a lot of time through the interviewers who have to conduct the interview and process the results.
By using social media like Twitter, Linkedln and Facebook, the company can save much time and more money. The company will be able to increase the productivity by having less time wasted and getting the right candidate for any position advertised.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, the corporation uses promotion and road shows. This is a traditional way of marketing and needs to be integrated with the new era technology of marketing. The current marketing strategy uses this type of platform to connect and share information with the audiences of the company. The main competitor of the Coca Cola Kenya Company is Pepsi Co., and has a presence on the social media sites and it is engaged in marketing through the social media.
Benefits of Collaboration and Video-Conferencing
If the company adopts conferencing and collaboration, it will achieve soft benefits, which are mostly under-appreciated because they are not possible to quantify with accuracy and they are also difficult. Some soft benefits that the company will enjoy if they adopt collaboration and conferencing include:
- Shorter Time to Market and Faster Decision Making – Modern organizations like Coca Cola Kenya with a team-oriented structure imply that various decisions need insight and approval by various sources. Electronic tools that facilitate meeting will enable teams that are dispersed to collaborate with ease, solve problems and speed coordination. This will help the company deliver faster to any consensus and have a shorter time to market new services and products. Nowadays, in this competitive business world, shorter time-to-market yields the highest payoffs. Again, through the tools of visual collaboration workers will be able to locate each other immediately and communicate partners irrespective of the distance and be able to solve customer issues without wasted time like in voicemails and email exchange. The end result will be faster problem solutions, reduced worker frustrations and improved customer loyalty and satisfaction.
- Efficiency / Productivity – visual collaboration and video-conferencing tools are moving from a scheduled environment with unscheduled work-style of the desktop. Conferencing on demand will yield immediate productivity advance and saves time to all workers of Coca Cola Kenya by enhancing them to combine desktop-based collaborations and visual communications tools in their normal working process. The result will have immediate effect.
- Video-conferencing and higher impacts will facilitate the organization to inject higher impacts into their conference calls and meetings, particularly when contrasted with an audio-only meeting like using the phone. Higher impacts when conducting a meeting refers to more effective meeting that is shorter and has less workflow disruption. Studies have revealed that video-conferencing meetings are taking less time than in-person meetings, resulting in less wasted time.
- The company will gain competitive advantage via using video-conferencing to recruit. If the company, embark on recruiting by video-conferencing instead of flying recruiters and candidates around the country, the company will be able to interview more recruits, from various locations, in less time, and with minimized disruption to the schedules of the executives and cost, hence making enhanced hiring decisions. Using these enhanced tools of collaboration will enable the company to create strong teams that are stretched in terms of distance and be able to support distant workforce.
- Decreased Stress / Improved Quality of Life – Nowadays, business executives are greeted by piles of email, faxes and voicemails when they return from their business trips. A recent survey showed that more than seventy percent of business travelers are stressed by those travels. Most of them stated that these business travels negatively affect their sleep, life, and their general welfare. Video-conferencing can be a feasible option to business transit by reducing employee strain and improving their life.
- Better Reach – Coca Cola requires a personal connection between the client and the company. Video-conferencing will enable the company to expand their global reach without overburdening their employees with too much business travels.
- Dispersed Teams and Improved Management – Coca Cola being an international company has got qualified resources and subject matter specialists located around the world. Video-conferencing will enhance the company to supervise and position those worldwide scattered resources by facilitating face-to-face meetings between the workforce and their executives.
As we discovered from this company, soft benefits that grows from using electronic meeting tools are very important, although they are usually difficult and unclear to measure or prove with absolute accuracy.
The hard benefits are the ones whereby both the profits and the expenses are easily quantifiable and plainly understood. Because hard benefits might be given the dollar value, they are the target for most of the monetary executives and manager. The key hard benefit from collaboration and video-conferencing solution in Coca Cola Kenya will be elimination of airfare, travel cutback, cost associated with meals, car services, hotels, etc.
Beyond the noticeable elimination of direct costs, minimizing travel will eliminate many hours and days away from the office. Even with the presence of communication tools like the PDAs, BlackBerry ad cell phones, people who are transiting may not be able to carry out their business as efficiently as they could have done from their offices. When the executives comprehend the real costs related to a one and a half day trip to attend a one and a half hour meeting, they will definitely appreciate how video-conferencing solutions can assist them to save money, reduce stress in their personal and business lives and alleviate individual productivity as well. If this benefit is multiplied by the size of personnel transiting, the entire soft-savings and hard-savings may be important.
Electronic meeting tools nowadays and video-conferencing in particular, provides people with the alternative to not be present and still stay productive and connected while corresponding lifestyle and job equation. In the near future, video-conferencing is expected to be the base for new means of reaching customers, enhancing the capacity to unite and sell at anytime, anywhere.
Real-time to Market
The use of collaborations and video-conferencing will yield major improvements in business efficiency, particularly in project management perspective where these tools might assist in speeding the development and the launching process of the product. By speeding the time to market, marketing and engineering teams may introduce more products to the same market in a given span of time. Various factors are worth consideration in this situation. Development cycles that are shorter will minimize salary expenses for development.
Additionally, cycles that are short means that the sale process may start earlier thereby reducing the “time-to-cash”. On the same note, the first few months of a product’s existence may be the key determinant of that product’s general profitability because competition will be less and the prices might be higher.
Video-conferencing has been a common tool in most of the small and large corporations. What is making this application much easier to put into practice are the many of video-conferencing rooms that are available throughout the world for rental. For a lesser charges per hour, a company like Coca Cola Kenya Company may use these video-conferencing suites that are fully equipped to improve their efforts for internal recruiting. Video-conferencing is specifically efficient for primary screening interviews. By translating these primary-interviews to “virtual interviews”, the Coca Cola Kenya Company might limit travel expenses to the candidates who are worth of consideration and gain various significant soft benefits.
Let us focus on the hard benefits that accumulate through travel reduction. A rational estimate of the cost to transport a candidate to the company’s headquarters for an interview might be $ 1,300. This figure is inclusive of the airfare, hotel –one night, cost of taxis, food, airport parking fees and other travel costs. A rental-room for a public video-conferencing system usually runs approximately $280 for an hour.
By using our model for the cost of network and equipment, and taking into account hard costs and benefits, the break even on this venture happens in the 12th month, supposing the system host one interview per month while the breakeven point falls to the 4th month if two interviews are hosted in a month.
Figure 1: Break-even charts for recruitment
A more reasonable approach to this situation would also consider the soft benefits and soft costs that basically dwarf the hard benefits of cost savings. For instance, transporting a candidate to the corporate headquarters office always means bringing together the different schedules of various executives who may desire to interview that individual. Getting a common day in multiple schedules means delaying the candidate’s interview. The big question is: How much time is worth? If the typical company’s employee generates $700K annually in revenues, leading to a contribution of $15K per month, every month of hiring delay results in the company losing $15K. How much does the company need to spend in order to achieve $15K per month in contribution?
Another benefit for video-conferencing if used by the Coca Cola Kenya Company is that it would help in recording and storing an interview, hence allowing the interviewers to review the interview at their chosen time. The availability of ready video-conferencing rooms means that the managers can interview many candidates from various places in less time. Additionally, interviewing through video-conferencing will eliminate the need to entertain and host those candidates being interviewed, saving additional executive’s time and additional costs. Lastly, making recruitment through video will position the company as both cost-efficient and high-tech.
If this company invests in using video-conferencing it is clear that it will enjoy cost savings. For this calculation of hard cost saving, we shall consider only the potential savings that the company might realize through converting a percentage of the company’s travel meetings into video meetings. As a part of this computation, we shall factor in the cost of employee time and direct travel costs.
For this company’s example, we shall compute the cost savings that a 250 person company with 10 different offices like the Coca Cola Company might realize by converting forty percent of their travel meetings to video-conferencing. For ease, we used the Polycom ROI Calculation tool to produce the results for this information.
The basic expense assumption in this example, according to the management staff of the Coca Cola Kenya Company is that a round trip flight goes for $455, the hotel goes for $100 per night and an average meeting has got 4 traveling participants of whom each earns $80K annually and goes for three domestic trips every month. To be able to run these video meetings, the company needs to procure $100K of video-conferencing equipment and pay $40k annually for management fees.
Putting this information into the Polycom ROI Calculator shows that the total expenses of video-conferencing equipment for ten offices, inclusive of maintenance, management cost and depreciation cost is $88,300 per year. According to this assumption, it is clear that this company will be able to save almost about of $1,400 for every executive transiting if they shift to video-conferencing. As a result, if ten participants convert forty percent of their travel-meeting to video-conferencing, the company will be able to save a total of about $111,000 in the first year as shown below.
Figure 2: Company’s Annual Hard Cost Savings
From the perspective of ROI, this company will enjoy a 227% ROI on their approximated annual total cost of ownership of $ 88,300 as shown below. Actually, the break-even point takes place at less than nine months.
Figure 3: Hard Cost Savings
These results change considerably as the level of usage and meeting conversion rates change. For instance, if instead of ten users converting forty percent of their meetings, the company might opt to motivate fifteen users to convert 60% of their meetings, their annual savings will elevate from $144,000 to $394,000 and their ROI will increase from 226 percent to more than 500 percent. This indicates the significant role the user adoption plays in delivering the benefits of video-conferencing. Although saving time is not focused here, the firm would save many working days and many business trips per employee every year.
Using Social Media in Recruitment Process
Social networking sites and social media tools involve website usage and online platforms that allows individuals to converse, mostly for social reason. In terms of job-seeking through this media, more job seekers are nowadays using social media sites to hunt for jobs. Facebook and Linkedln are the ranking social sites.
We recommend that this company may as well opt to employ the use of this social media in their recruitment process to get the best candidate and using minimum cost. Although using the social media as a tool of recruitment poses some challenges and opportunities for the employers, it offers efficiency, speed and the ability to attract and target specific candidates in the process.
As a company that deals with recruitment on various occasions per year, this company wants to get the most talented and qualified applicants. Facebook, Linkedln and Twitter have got over 1.5 billion users collectively. This shows that there is a lot of potential talents for the Coca Cola Kenya Company. As a large number continues to join these social networks and most of them are in search of jobs, social recruiting is also becoming very crucial for this company. Here are some of the benefits the company will enjoy if it considers using social recruitment.
Accounts on Linkedln, Facebook and Twitter are free to set up, hence, it is one of the social media advantages that the company will enjoy if it embarks on social media recruiting. Posting a job vacancy of Linked, Facebook or Linked will be more likely to deliver concrete results than a mere description on a job board since social media posting can be shared with friends and relatives. Again, the company will be able to save huge amounts of money by using the social media, which will help them to cutback travel expenses for the candidates and interviewers and expensive job boards.
Social media provides a means for delivering the company’s tradition to employees who have the talent and attract new workforce. The Coca Cola Kenya Company can brand its social media channels, host videos and post photos. It is easy to encourage the job seekers to be engaged in discussions. This social media will facilitate recruits who have the potential to get a feel of the company even before applying.
Reach Passive Applicants
There are several individuals who are on the social media, but are not seeking for a job at present. However, some of these experts may be the right match for the position you are advertising, and might be encouraged to apply if they get to know that the company has a vacancy. Even though these passive participants do not have an interest currently, the company may be able to start building strong relationships before they decide to hunt for new job positions. Through using social media, the company will be able to expand the pool of talent by getting the jobs available to these passive participants.
Explore Candidates Background
The company will be able to learn more about an individual recruit by evaluating their Facebook, Twitter or Linked profile. For instance, a member of the Linkedln might include curriculum vitae of the current and past jobs. The recruiter might be able to view the approvals from former managers, colleagues and peers, and the groups that the recruit has ever joined. The recruiter will be able to establish whether there are any second or third degree connections.
Risks of Using Social Media to Recruit
There are some risks that are associated with recruitment via social media. First, there is the privacy concern that relates to a candidate’s social media profile. Secondly, the recruitment might have some kind of discrimination whereby some candidates may feel that they have not been treated equally. Lastly, there might be the risk of benefit of focusing on one pool of candidates.
Using Social Media for Marketing
If the company embarks on integrating their current marketing strategy with marketing through social media, they will be able to reach an extensive number of audiences. Through Facebook, and Twitter accounts, the company will be able understand their consumers’ feelings through comments and platforms. The amount of information that can be collected through these social sites are extensive and can be used to make fast, and clear decisions pertaining a product.
While the company is using the road shows and promotions, it will not be able to get clear views from the audiences. However, through these social sites, the audiences will not shy off while raising their opinion towards a product. This approach will as well help the company to stay on top of its key competitor (Pepsi Co.).
The application of collaborations and video-conferencing will be able to provide the company with both soft and hard benefits. Vibrant managers will identify that soft benefits are of greater importance than the hard benefits.
Other collaborations and video-conferencing are in the midst of an essential paradigm change as new technologies, partnerships and vendors bring integrated web, voice and video solutions to the desktop. These tools will facilitate knowledge workers to be able to communicate anytime and anywhere with remote and local colleagues, without leaving the efficiency and comfort of their workplace. This will boost productivity, speed up the decision making process and add up directly to the bottom line.
Marketing through social media will help the company to stay above its competitors, who are already engaged in marketing through the social media. Again, recruitment through these sites will help the company in getting the desired candidates and within a shorter period.
The company will gain competitive advantage via using video-conferencing to recruit. If the company embarks on recruiting by video-conferencing instead of flying recruiters and candidates around the country, the company will be able to interview more recruits from various locations, in less time, and with minimized disruption to the schedules of the executives and cost, hence, making informed hiring decisions.