With the transition to “remote”, the convenience and status of the office receded into the background – but the quality of communication at online meetings began to worry. Here’s an example – SolbegSoft recently switched to complete solutions from Logitech. Oksana Mogulenko, COO of SolbegSoft, and Yevgeny Babenkov, head of the IT department, share why this is better than the standard set of “webcam + laptop”.
– How did your company switch to hybrid operation at the beginning of the pandemic?
ОМ: In March 2020, we started a project to move to our own building. Probably the only plus that was in the pandemic was that it gave more time to the services that were preparing the new office.
The main task facing the company was to establish effective communication with remote workers.
Now from 80 to 90% of the team work remotely (this is about 400 people, of which about 380 are in Minsk). For those who chose this option, the company helped to transport equipment home. The remaining personal belongings are waiting for our guys in the offices.
– How did you collect feedback from employees on the new working conditions?
ОМ: The HR service, regardless of the pandemic, conducts surveys to determine the level of satisfaction and loyalty of teams. Plus we have people partners – employees, one of the main tasks of which is communication with employees and collecting feedback.
According to researchYu Microsoft, the time spent on meetings has more than doubled worldwide. 73% of the surveyed employees are in favor of maintaining a flexible work format.
– Has the productivity of employees changed with the transition to hybrid work?
ОМ: What we have made sure of for sure is that if the leader in a separate team organizes managerial work with high quality, there is no difference between office and remote work. If there are subsidences as a result, delays, problems – the solution of these problems does not depend on the operating mode. The financial performance of our company is growing – I think this is the most important indicator of success.
– What goals did the company set when purchasing Logitech video conferencing equipment?
ОМ: We had clear goals, but not related to the pandemic.
1. Get away from the “zoo” of technology. Earlier we had meeting rooms equipped with different equipment from different manufacturers. It was difficult for employees to navigate in a variety of equipment when organizing negotiations. In each separate meeting room, you had to perform your actions, connect in a certain way, etc.
2. Choose the most versatile solution (which would work not only with solutions from Microsoft, such as Teams, Skype, but also with other platforms).
3. Improve the quality of sound and picture. Practice shows that the level of communication quality has a positive effect on relationships with customers and partners. Our investment in infrastructure is a manifestation of our concern for them. Almost all communications with customers take place remotely, and it is important to make a good impression, including the quality of sound and picture. Previously, we encountered problems: some of the meeting participants could not connect, the connection could be lost, etc. It was important for us to get rid of these weak points.
Why opted for the Logitech Meetup ConferenceCam + Logitech Tap Touch Controller? What competitive advantages of these solutions were important when choosing solutions?
E.B .: The main criteria for choosing steel:
1. Reliability and quality. We took into account both the reputation of the manufacturer and our experience of interaction with the technology of its production.
2. Technical support. At Logitech, it was better than the competition. For example, in the event of a breakdown, we are ready to change the equipment within one working day. Plus, we were assisted in testing and installing video conferencing systems.
3. Opportunities for customization (customization settings). In this case, they turned out to be quite wide and suited us.
ОМ: A big plus for us was the opportunity to test the equipment for free for a month. We connected employees who at that time worked in the office to test use of equipment for calls to the team or customers.
– How did you integrate Logitech solutions into the work of the company, did you encounter any problems during installation and configuration?
E.B .: We installed and configured everything pretty quickly. First, we had to deal with the operation of the equipment ourselves, then we conducted training for those who were interested and needed at work.
ОМ: Getting used to the new equipment was not without a funny moment. Before the New Year, my colleagues and I held a final conference. But before it started, the interlocutors “on the other side of the screen” complained that they saw only me! My colleagues just turned out to be “invisible”. We first assumed that the problem was with the camera.
And then we figured it out: Teams has a filter setting function, it automatically “picks up” the connected equipment. I did not pay attention to the fact that at the start of the broadcast the filters turned on, and the background was forcibly blurred. Fortunately, we figured it out quickly, turned off the filter, and the broadcast was successful.
By the way, during our remote work, our designers have created branded splash backgrounds that we use when communicating with customers. Remote work stimulates employee creativity. For example, a colleague took a picture of his workplace and set that image as the background. Now, when he calls, he is in the office all the time, at any time of the day or night 🙂
– Is it easy to use Logitech video conferencing solutions in your daily work?
ОМ: I think even a person without experience can figure it out in 10-15 minutes. A 5-minute explanation from our system administrator turned out to be enough for me.
In total, we have 7 Logitech MeetUp and Tap systems installed in our meeting rooms. After installing the systems, we prepared a simple instruction and hung it on the QR code, which is physically present in every meeting room. An employee can scan it with a smartphone and figure out the settings.
– Are you and your employees satisfied with the picture and sound quality of the system?
O.M: Yes, it does. A positive experience is holding an info session for 300+ people using this equipment. Events, during which the company’s management shares news and plans, and employees can ask them questions, we hold on a regular basis. When online meetings of this level take place, it is always a test of strength.
Employees think: “We are an IT company, our picture and sound must be at the highest level!”
We collected feedback right during the info session, and there were no negative reviews.
With the advent of the pandemic, the functions of the traditional office have changed: now it is increasingly a communication hub that unites employees who work from where it is convenient for them (including those using platforms of other vendors).
Therefore, Microsoft opened the program Teams Meeting Rooms – A comprehensive platform that brings together flexible scenarios and experienced OEM partners to quickly and easily deploy a video conferencing system for any room.
Ease of connection is complemented by the effect of presence, regardless of the location of the participants and the type of devices used, enterprise-grade security and support for all possible Teams scenarios, as well as interactive screens and whiteboards. Artificial intelligence techniques ensure maximum performance for all meeting participants.
– You are using Logitech systems with Microsoft Teams. Why exactly with her, what are the advantages of it in comparison with analogues?
E.B .: First, we are a Microsoft partner company. Our employees work mainly with software solutions from this vendor, we build our products and offer services based on Microsoft solutions.
Secondly, we strive for the versatility of the software used. Microsoft Teams, as an out-of-the-box solution, can be easily integrated with other systems of this vendor: SharePoint, Exchange, Office 365, virtualization systems and other products.
Third, there are many nice features that just make Teams feel good. For example:
If a customer writes to me at night from America, and I have Teams turned off, this message is duplicated in the mail
You can capture agreements from Sharepoint and enter them into Teams
It is possible to organize various thematic meetings / events, interest groups
You can not only fumble your screen, but also transfer control to someone to be able to play certain actions.
Well, let’s not forget about cross-platform: Teams works on Windows and MacOs, and even on some versions of Linux and on mobile platforms.
– How do you work with clients who don’t have Teams installed?
E.B .: Typically, we still create a discussion in Teams and send the client an invitation to chat there. If he prefers a different platform, then we connect to it, but still use Logitech hardware.
The only caveat: with Teams and Skype, the system starts by default, automatically, but to connect to other platforms, you will have to do a few manual manipulations to set up a conference. But, most likely, these products will be added in the future, along with updates.
– Do new systems require additional maintenance from administrators or technicians?
E.B .: Not. But for people who have never worked with such systems and who do not want to read the manual, the help of our specialists may be required for the first time. However, this is rather an exception. But earlier, when we had systems from different manufacturers in every meeting room, help was often required. Sometimes there was no sound or HDMI “didn’t see” the equipment. With the move to Logitech systems, tech support is no longer needed to prepare for teleconferencing.
– Are there things that you would like to improve in the operation of the system?
E.B .: Logitech hardware works great on Windows and MacOs desktops and laptops, but mobile support is lacking. On the part of our customers, we often have such requests – many people find it convenient to connect to the discussion of work issues from a smartphone. We will wait for such support to be included in the next updates.
ОМ: In general, the systems work well. But let’s say the Logitech Tap has an expansion microphone with a specific range. For large meeting rooms, it is not always enough: if the speaker is at a distance of several meters, it can already be hard to hear.