With the recent shift to remote work for many Americans in response to COVID-19, companies are relying on Enterprise Conferencing Software to stay connected. Whether with internal teams or with clients, having a reliable product is important. This eases the lost connection and potential hit to productivity that can come from the separation inherent in remote work.

Home Office Desk With Computer On Remote Conference CallMany software options are available to get the job done while we are dealing with the Corona Virus pandemic. There are household names like GoToMeeting and Zoom, and less known but effective options like CyberLink and Bluejeans.

So how do you know which to choose for your company, and even more importantly, how do you get competitive pricing? Although the common sourcing strategies still apply, there are some additional things to consider.

The first consideration is to make sure the software can handle HOW your corporation will use it. 

If you commonly have meetings with 50 or more participants, you need to be sure the software is built to handle that volume. Most options will offer different tiers to accommodate more users. GoToMeeting, for example, offers a plan with a maximum of 250 users and an Enterprise plan with 3,000 users max. However, for a small company, free options could be available. Google Hangouts, for example, could get the job done.

The second consideration is to make sure the software meets your company’s mobile or online expectations. 

Not all conferencing solutions offer an app. If your employees are on the move, this could be an issue. GoToMeeting offers the highest rated app, but CyberLink U Meeting is strictly web-based. However, you pay for what you get. If web-based is all that you require, do not pay for unused features.

The last recommended consideration is to make sure that the product support meets your company’s requirements

A larger software company will typically provide a larger support staff. For example, Cisco’s WebEx has incredible service, but some smaller players will offer much higher limitations on what comes free with their product on the support end. Deciding what works for you is an important analysis to be done prior to rolling out your decision company-wide.

Once these other considerations are decided upon, typical strategic sourcing strategies will come into play. This is the bread and butter of what those in the Strategic Sourcing Industry offers. The process ensures that you do your due diligence and can sleep at night knowing your decision was well thought out. The following steps should be completed to actually make your final decision: Data Collection, Baseline and Benchmarking, Go to Market, Negotiate, and Implement.

Data collection is the process of gathering a rolling 12 months of real General Ledger spend data. Also, gather data from each of your current suppliers to confirm that the totals align. Baselining and Benchmarking are the processes of creating an actual current state in a digestible format. Next comes the RFP (Request for Proposal) or RFQ (Request for Quote) process to allow each supplier to put their best foot forward. This will include qualitative and quantitative analysis. Finally, negotiating and implementing the best solution tie up the effort, and will distribute the product to your organization for use.

Perhaps the most important of these is the Baselining and Benchmarking step. 

This step allows you to be dynamic and tailor the process to the category you are sourcing. Indirect Sourcing includes a wide range of spend, and it is important to make sure you are considering the most valuable features of the product you are sourcing. With Enterprise Conferencing Software, for example, a Supplier Presentation would be paramount to build an accurate Baseline. This would provide the opportunity for the supplier to show off their product and allow you to see if the product fits your needs. Baselining will also provide a current state that can then be compared apples to apples to the other products being considered.

This process proves effective with most categories we have applied it to. The strategy will certainly apply to your companies conferencing software. For further reading, read the book written by our own Senior Management team Managing Indirect Spend. It can be purchased here.

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Joseph Plank

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