Go mobile to collaborate with far-flung channel partners

Richard Lane, global programmes manager at Engage Global Solutions, says that effective collaboration channel partners is key to growth

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: MicroScope: MicroScope: August 2015

Effective collaboration with channel partners spread across the world has always been an issue for companies wishing to grow. So much so that many just work closely with a handful of partners and rely on traditional methods of marketing to communicate with the rest. Some don’t even bother going that far.

Yet collaborating with all your channel partners can bring about huge benefits. These include: Greater consistency and predictability of interactions; increased productivity; increased loyalty and engagement; greater profitability.

Therefore to tap into such advantages you need tools that enable effective collaboration wherever your partner is in the world. In this day and age of a seemingly ubiquitous internet, many would think this is straightforward. There are some really good desktop collaboration tools available that allow the user to video conference with others, enabling them to present slides and share documents.

Great! But these tools are often focused on the desktop and require a strong and consistent broadband connection. This makes them ideal for users who happen to be based in well-connected cities, but what about those who do not have broadband access or even a decent landline? If you are operating globally, that is likely to be a lot. Google estimates that around two-thirds of the world’s population do not have access to the internet and those that are lucky enough to have a wired connection are likely to find it slow and unpredictable.

Collaboration with those who have poor bandwidths and landline connections has until fairly recently been next to impossible. If they have managed to secure a decent connection then the costs can be prohibitively high. Regions where this is particularly the case are South America, Africa and the Indian sub-continent, which anyone would tell you are key growth areas for global business. This means that those who are able to effectively collaborate with partners in these parts of the world stand to make big gains.

That is the position Engage Global was in. We support more than 2,000 Autodesk training partners around the world, training over 360,000 users per year. But our collaboration tools were found to be lacking, which was severely limiting our expansion ambitions.

For instance, these tools required a large amount of bandwidth to run effectively, meaning collaborating with those who had limited connectivity was plagued by delays, interruptions or even was not able to happen. There was also the issue that the tool did not provide local access numbers, making calls costly.

To improve our collaborative capabilities we turned to LogMeIn’s join.me solution. This easy-to-use collaboration package uses bandwidth effectively to provide a great feature set that doesn’t heavily consume Mbps. As such, those in low connectivity areas can access features normally reserved for those with fast broadband, such as smooth screen and file sharing, unlimited audio and recording. The fact that it also uses VoIP means that those with poor landline connections can now experience clear, uninterrupted audio.

Finally, thanks to the mobile app, users can now jump on to meetings from wherever they can get a cell signal.

The ability for our channel partners to join and take part in a meeting from wherever they are based in the world has been a game changer for our business. We are able to deliver high-impact training and presentations where technology doesn't get in the way, whether our attendees are in Battersea or Bangladesh.

Our meetings are more efficient, productive and around 20% shorter as there are no technical issues, such as attendees not being able to see slides or hear what’s being said. We are also using all of join.me’s interactive features to provide virtual training and workshops to all our regional distributors.

Feedback has been extremely positive, especially from regions that used to have bad landline connections, such as Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, who can now connect to virtual meetings using the local mobile network.

Mobile collaboration tools are the way forward for those that want a truly global network of channel partners.

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