Work with an Independent AV Consultant before an Installer

Written by: David Allara

A customer that we had worked with a number of years ago called me last week and asked if I might be able to help his friend who ran a small financial business based out of Sydney, Australia. He mentioned that the business had recently expanded into a few new locations and all of a sudden had a need for video conferencing. They were confused by the myriad of options in this space and needed the advice of an expert. I told him that I was more than happy to assist and by that same afternoon had made contact with John from the small financial business.

John and I spoke for a few minutes and he told me about his business and the excitement of expanding into new territories, which included Singapore and the UK. Being a business owner myself I could relate to this excitement and the enjoyment of taking positive steps forward. We spoke for a little longer and he explained some of the reasons why video conferencing was now a key communication tool that he felt he needed to implement into the business. Daily communication with London was critical and, given the distance barrier, he wanted to enable face to face and content sharing communication between the teams in the two offices. He felt that this was important not from just a pure communication perspective, but also to build the culture throughout the business. Bringing in other offices and external clients and partners was also now a key requirement. John wanted to impress these external parties by ensuring the quality of connection and experience on the video calls was as high as possible.

Prior to speaking with me, John and his team had done some research on video conferencing by themselves and even invited three different AV installation companies in to discuss their situation and requirements. Each of these companies missed the mark completely in a number of ways, which is what prompted John to call our mutual friend for help. Firstly, the installation companies were not focusing on the business as a whole. Their focus was only on the Sydney office and quoting up AV systems to install there. Secondly, the installation companies were each providing slightly different information that was skewed towards the products and solutions they sell. Finally, the products and solutions quoted were all significantly over and above what this customer actually needed.

Clearly there was a mismatch between John’s true required outcomes, and the solutions that the AV installation companies were trying to sell.

My team and I were able to add value to John in a number of different ways. We began by simply documenting the key points of our conversations with him and highlighting the outcomes desired with an order of priority. This helped John and his team clearly see what was important and why. We then took the time to educate John and his team on a short list of different hardware and software options that were a potential fit for the business’s video conferencing needs. In a final session we work-shopped ideas and came up with a final end to end solution of hardware and software that met all of John’s core desired outcomes. This solution was then priced by suitable AV installation companies and the savings were in the tens of thousands of dollars compared to the original quotes.

This example, although simple, clearly illustrates the distinct advantages John gained by working with an independent expert AV consultant prior to signing off on quotes from AV installation companies. He gained clarity on what he really needed, was educated on all the options available, and was finally able to make an informed choice on the best customised video conferencing solution for his business.

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