Thursday, September 17, 2009

Leading Document and Training Solutions Company Uses Web Conferencing for Strategic Advantage

Michaels and Associates, a high impact custom training and documentation solution company, is thriving during a time when the industry as a whole is retrenching. As an organization, they are raising the bar for quality, while maintaining industry leading turn-around times and pricing. This level of service and deep customer focus is both appreciated and sought after by their US and International clients.

President Sherry Michaels says the firm’s success lies in making each and every customer successful, even in the toughest of environments. “We put in 100 hours of research before we even meet with a client, to know their business better than anyone. That intense business focus continues throughout our client relationship lifecycle, so we are always experts on the various topics, and delivering extremely effective, synchronized and seamless solutions.”

A client once asked Michaels what the “secret sauce” was, after being impressed by the best solution delivery they had ever seen - even though the project was hampered by extremely tough deadlines. Michaels attributes the company “secret sauce” to three main business pillars; hire the very best, fully empower each and every one of them, and make sure they produce the best solutions in the industry.

One of the main tools that empower Michaels and Associates to produce the best solutions in the industry is a feature rich web conferencing solution. Michaels and Associates use VIA3 from VIACK for their corporate communication and collaboration needs to gain a competitive advantage.

VIA3 is one of the few web conferencing solutions which include a secure corporate IM tool, which Michaels uses to connect her dispersed virtual teams. “I’m a big believer in management by walking around, which normally would be hard in an organization that has any level of virtual members. With VIA3 I can touch base on an informal basis, say hello, and have that human interaction.”

The company also enjoys rich audio and video meetings on both an ad-hoc and scheduled basis. The Media Team, for example, collaborates on VIA3 at least six hours a day, and would be “hamstrung” without it. They meet and present using the VIA3 presentation mode, where both the presentation and presenter video can be seen. They share their desktops live with the VIA3 “Shared Desktop” feature. They also brainstorm conceptual ideas together on the virtual whiteboard, as if they were all in the same physical conference room.

VIA3 also expedites the process of creating and finalizing SOW’s, or “Statements of Work”. The SOW process is complex, cuts across several service offerings, must be delivered in perfect form, and must be delivered quickly. The entire executive team is able to come together and “virtually” collaborate in real-time to write and deliver these complex SOW’s in a timeframe that would otherwise be difficult.

Because VIA3 meetings can scale to at least 2,000 attendees, Michaels and Associates will be using it for company meetings, where anyone can present or attend without having to travel. They will also be using VIA3 to meet, present, and collaborate with clients on individual projects as needed.

Michaels likens her company to an Olympic champion swimmer in an event. “In a swim match, everyone swims. What we do is get the gold medals.”