7 questions to answer before buying Web demo or conference services (part 1 of 2)
Posted by contentgrrl on November 4, 2007
I wanted to share what I’ve learned while shopping for online demonstrations or Web teleconference services. Here are seven questions you need to answer before you begin shopping.
- How many? Gather the information about the number of users you want to meet, and how many sessions.
- How long? Do you want a small, short-term solution to train a customer who has remote sites? Do you want a hosted solution, rather than install the software on your own server? How long each session is going to be?
- How will your audience connect? Can you assume your customer’s users all have broadband Web access, Windows, Internet Explorer 5.5+, and enough administrative privileges to install a requisite browser plug-in? Some corporations previously standardized on a specific older version of Netscape. Make sure you understand the end-user minimum requirements for the conferencing system you choose, and maybe check with your client’s IT department to be sure they can comply.
- Is Audio separate or integrated? Some conferencing systems rely on a separate teleconferencing line, and some integrate audio with the web. But your customers’ PCs may not have the sound cards or speakers that will deliver the audio to your audience. You’d hate for them to miss out on your trainers’ words. If audio is integrated, look for an alternative phone number to be made available and easy for participants to find.
- How easy is it to use? Your should be able to schedule and host a session with ease, and it should be crystal clear for your clients to connect and get support if necessary. The fewer steps the better. Ask for a pre-sale demo from cradle to grave that includes scheduling, hosting, user connecting, and any post-conference reports, which can help you determine whether the initial sessions had technical difficulties that you need to address with the provider.
- What’s the cost basis? Pay-per-use can be 20-40 cents (US) per minute per user, or you may be limited to a 5-10 seats for $300-750/month. With pay-per-use, look to be charged for actual minutes used. If you’re charged for all the minutes you reserve, it can certainly cost more.
- Can you customize with your branding? If it’s important, consider a hosting provider that lets you show your logo on the registration page and/or web conference interface.
In part 2, 7 Web Conferencing Technology Providers Compared (Part 2 of 2), we’ll take a look at the pricing and particulars of 7 Web conferencing technology providers.