Advise clients to invest in Web conferencing rather than travel

When IT consulting clients ask for tips on cost-cutting measures, tell them to skip the airplane and log on to the Internet to attend meetings. Web conferencing also has the potential improve their response time and effectiveness with their own clients.

 This year, your clients will depend on you to help them cut costs, and unified communications and collaboration (UCC) software might help. UCC is an integration of communication tools such as e-mail, VoIP, audio and Web conferencing, and instant messaging. Most users have at least one or two of these toys, but few are truly integrating them to their full advantage. For example, many people still don't think to forward e-mail to their mobile phones (when possible) or use headsets to take conference calls when they're away from the office.

UCC has the potential to replace a lot of business travel. Think about it — most users have been invited to attend a Web conference, but many of them aren't being proactive by managing their own meetings. (Of course, some of us choose not to let technology suck up all of our energy, but that's another discussion.) Web conferencing can definitely be a big help in this area, and there are a number of products that offer lots of flexibility. Here are four products to check out:

All of these products let users conduct meetings over the Internet. Imagine — no travel delays, no business class costs, no lost equipment, no harried, sleep-deprived employees. Just log in and go! Web conferencing has the potential to save your clients money and improve their response time and effectiveness with their own clients. (Don't forget, stay-at-home employees can benefit from Web conferencing as well.)

Most of my experience is with Microsoft Office Life Meeting, which I love. Your clients' systems and needs will dictate the best product for them. If your clients are not already using Web conferencing, be proactive and take the idea to them before they come to you.

If your clients already use Web conferencing software, what product do they use? Share your thoughts about this technology in the discussion.

More on Web conferencing and UCC

Get weekly consulting tips in your inbox TechRepublic's IT Consultant newsletter, delivered each Monday, offers tips on how to attract customers, build your business, and increase your technical skills in order to get the job done. Automatically sign up today!


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox