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Virtual meetings – they make business sense

The number of devices connected to the Internet worldwide is increasing exponentially. Eighty percent of these are mobile devices. In South Africa, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that 77.8% of local consumers will have Internet access in the next four years. 90% of this access will be via mobile devices.

The mass digital migration to mobile technologies is transforming the way businesses communicate and do business internally and externally. Embracing mobile technologies that support mobile and digital enabled business processes are, therefore, crucial to the strategic, operational and financial success of businesses.

One of these digital technologies that is transforming business process is electronic or virtual meetings. These meetings take place over a digital platform such as, allowing individuals and groups anywhere in the world to meet, interact and transact. The platform delivers so many clear-cut business benefits that it is no surprise that e-meetings are fast gaining traction in the world of commerce.

Digital meetings are forecast to make up more than 50% of engagement with clients and predicted to become a key strategy for advisors and SMMEs. This uptake has grown so much that local legislation has been forced to keep pace. Changes now allow companies to enter into contracts electronically with additional applications ranging from in-built electronic signatures capability to digitally enabled board meetings.

The challenges

Given the business benefits of e-meetings and the general familiarity of staff and clients with options such as Skype, Hangouts and Facetime, why aren’t more companies harnessing this technology?

Common challenges include a lack of information, the fear of technology, the cost of mobile data, limited broadband access and corporate infrastructure and firewalls. However, potential users can overcome these challenges with a few action steps:

Making the right choice about e-meetings

Be proactive rather than reactive when harnessing the benefits of e-meetings.
 – Speak to technology experts to understand the different e-meeting options available – don’t be afraid to conduct your own research if need be.
Confirm what works for your specific business and your clients.
Understand the costs, the savings and the productivity enhancements that can be achieved.
Look for the right software application that can add further functionality, such as digital signing capacity, on-screen document authentication, real-time document amendments, and meeting recordings.
Ensure that you understand how using a platform such as Suitebox can have a positive business impact from compliance and risk management perspectives.

Embracing internet based technologies such as e-meetings will allow you to reap the benefits of reduced costs, increased productivity and the ability to meet rapidly changing client engagement demands.

Benefits of virtual meetings (summary)

Allow for ‘face-to-face’ client interactions via Internet-based video, anywhere, anytime
 Provide a more personal interaction than emails or telephone calls
Enhance service for today’s fast-paced, mobile and digitally-enabled clients
Offer a ‘greener’ alternative by minimising carbon emissions generated by travelling
Generate significant cost savings – in some cases more than 50% of travel costs
Boost staff productivity – e-meetings take up less time with efficient agendas and outcomes

Access our Suitebox online calculator here to analyse real savings generated by digital meetings.


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