CONTI Evolution in the Media

BLOG - Planning for Audio Video Success

Colby Harder - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've been working with the world's leading companies for more than a decade now.  Our firm is a group of  Audio Video Advisors.  At our core, we help customers use audio video technologies to build strong connections (with clients, staff and others), and ultimately drive commerce.  Over this time I've seen a number of great successes and some stunning project failures.  The following is a short list of the lessons I've learned along the way that can help you make a more informed and focused investment in your audio video technology.

1. Define your Business Case - All to often, we are engaged on projects with a poorly defined business case.  If you have not clearly defined your business case, then it's hard to design a systems solution that will meet those objectives.  Unfortunately, most audio video providers are equipment salespeople rather than business advisors.  Without a business case as the foundation, you will likely spend more than you need and enjoy a diminished business return on your investment.

2. Focusing on "Latest Technology" - we often have customers tell us that they want to have "the latest technology" in their meeting spaces.  In most cases where this plan is executed, the results are disappointing.  We live in a fast-changing world where manufacturers develop new technologies on a monthly basis.  The harsh reality is that many of these products don't deliver  as promised and often require several revision reworks to work out the bugs.  When you focus on proven and standardized technologies that are well aligned with your Business Case, you almost always deliver on a value promise. 

3. Not Understanding Your User - it is critical that you align your business case with the planned users of the systems.  Without contribution from and buy in from the users, you can build the best audio video systems in the world and they'll sit idle because they don't align with user expectations. If you're meeting spaces is intended as a creative huddle space for your art department, it will likely need to function very differently than if that same room were to be used by your tax auditors.  If we work together to develop solutions to the user's preferences then the results are always better. Ask your users what they want, and they'll likely tell you.

4. Delegation to your IT Department- in many organizations, the first reaction when developing audio video solutions for your workspaces is to delegate the work to your IT department.  Unfortunately, my experience has been that most IT Departments don't understand the business usage case, are rarely connected with the needs of the user, and are often focused on product rather than business case, or the planning services required to ensure project success.  In instances where the IT department is well engaged with the business case, and where the user is driving the functionality requirements then success normally follows.

5.Project Planning-  Many of our clients invest between $100,000 and $1M in audio video technology for their workplace.  Most customers underestimate the integrated planning, scheduling, product lead times, and site coordination requirement to deliver project success.  Audio video systems have impacts on electrical, HVAC, fire suppressions, security, millwork, furnishings, and even finishes.  These factors require a high level or coordination to ensure project success.   Our advisory services practice places this project management and planning as a foundation of our projects.  The results are projects that are executed more quickly, and more cost effectively.  On a new construction project, our advisors are typically engaged 3-6 months in advance of final delivery requirements, and often much earlier in order to coordinate other trades. Effective planning is good for your business.