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Intuit simplifies video meetings, consolidates providers

Intuit's complex video environment frustrated IT and end users. The company consolidated to a single video conferencing provider to enhance video meetings across the organization.

Intuit Inc. needed to simplify its video conferencing for employees. The financial software company's video conferencing infrastructure had spiraled out of control. Different teams used different conferencing tools, creating a complex environment that vexed its 7,900 global employees, who had up to 6,000 video meetings per month.

Intuit, based in Mountain View, Calif., decided to standardize on a single video conferencing provider to simplify its environment and address end-user pain points. The company selected Blue Jeans Network Inc. in 2015 and completed the video service's rollout in the summer of 2016. According to Intuit, nearly 63% of employees have attended Blue Jeans video meetings. The company averaged 17 million video meeting minutes every month and has reduced its travel budget by 40%.

Olga Braylovskiy, vice president of workforce technology at Intuit, discussed how Intuit approached consolidating to a single video conferencing provider and trained users to support adoption efforts.

What did your original video conferencing environment look like? What were the pain points for users during video meetings?

Olga Braylovskiy: Prior to Blue Jeans, we had a mixed environment primarily based in Cisco infrastructure. Cisco was not a pure-play in video; we had to patch together different components -- audio, video and content. WebEx was used inconsistently. The video capability was used, but some people used it without realizing it. We had audio through WebEx, but the partner behind the scenes was InterCall -- it was an expensive partnership. We also had Jabber.

The experience, as a result, was very choppy and frustrating for end users. To join a meeting, it depended on how the meeting was scheduled. Some people used the join button on their conferencing endpoint. In other cases, they dialed in WebEx first, then their Jabber number. It would take up to 10 minutes to start a meeting.

What were your selection criteria when evaluating video conferencing providers to standardize on?

Braylovskiy: First, what was important to us was whoever we chose focused primarily on video. The No. 1 reason we selected Blue Jeans was for the experience focused on video.

Blue Jeans demonstrated an ability to partner with everyone, including competitors. That's the way to go nowadays.
Olga Braylovskiyvice president of workforce technology at Intuit

Partnerships and an open ecosystem are important. We are a best-of-breed shop; we don't bet on one technology. We don't want to find ourselves in a place where we're overdepending on a particular vendor or partner. Blue Jeans demonstrated an ability to partner with everyone, including competitors. That's the way to go nowadays.

Another important factor is we don't just look for a supplier or vendor. We look for partners who invest their time and energy into understanding our businesses and understanding from a video standpoint of what are those critical meetings. Tax season is important for us. We would like flexibility around major updates during tax season. They are critical for us; nothing can go wrong.

What does your video conferencing look like now? Are video meetings room-based, on the desktop or both?

Braylovskiy: We're transitioning most endpoints to Polycom, but still have a mixture with Cisco. Because the transition requires a considerable investment, it was important that we didn't marry ourselves to a particular endpoint. We knew we would have hybrid Cisco and Polycom for some time; the openness of a video platform is important to us.

The deployment is a mix of room and desktop. We're expanding some buildings, and a year ago completed our big building in headquarters with state-of-the-art technology. Every single room, except for tiny huddle rooms, is a video room. It was extremely important to our CTO; he advocated for additional investment to make every room a video room.

Mobile usage is significant, as well. We have a large campus in Mountain View, and a lot of the time people are in back-to-back meetings. There are use cases where people start in their office on desktop, then they would have to transition to another meeting. They transition to Blue Jeans on mobile, then they walk to the meeting room.

How did you approach user training for Blue Jeans video meetings?

Braylovskiy: When we roll out tools like Blue Jeans, even though they are easy to use, we do a high-touch change management. Beyond training, we had a strategy to understand who may be detractors. Some people are attached to certain forms of communication; we had some WebEx diehards.

We had a combination of high-quality guides that were easy to use and focused on how to start a meeting. Every room still has materials. We used other collaboration tools to leverage Blue Jeans. We had a community on Jive and now have a whole channel on Slack dedicated to Blue Jeans.

When rolling out any collaboration tool, we have collaboration champions who are senior business leaders who we engage with, proactively giving them info early about what we're doing with different tools.

How did you measure the success of the rollout?

Braylovskiy: For us, it started with adoption. It was particularly important when going through the soft launch in the first few months. There was an organic adoption; we reached 70% very quickly.

After every Blue Jeans meeting, there is an NPS [net promoter score] mechanism. We're in the high 80s, low 90s. Within Intuit, we have a stricter NPS metric with more explicit questions. Blue Jeans just asks, 'How was your experience?' But our NPS includes, 'Would you recommend this tool to a co-worker or friend?' We did a survey recently, and Blue Jeans ranked highly in our top 10 workforce tools.

It's a little counterintuitive, but travel expenses was a secondary metric. Like any public company, we have to balance costs. But, for us, user experience was most important. The next step is to look at the heaviest Blue Jeans users in locations that are not headquarters.

Next Steps

Making the case for video conferencing technology

How to choose the right video conferencing equipment

Exploring the varieties of video conferencing systems

This was last published in September 2017

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